UAE Schengen visa delay: How to secure entry permit to Europe; your stress-free guide

Some chargeable services can help you secure appointments if you're struggling with the system or lack time to check for openings regularly

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Ajanta Paul

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Published: Mon 17 Jun 2024, 9:34 AM

Last updated: Mon 15 Jul 2024, 1:51 PM

The cooler climates, fairytale castles, and an insatiable thirst to explore its exotic snow-capped mountains make Europe a highly sought-after destination. However, before savouring Western delicacies, a vital first step is to acquire a Schengen visa/appointment. This guide will help you master the visa journey, ensuring your passage to Europe is as seamless and stress-free as possible.

Schengen countries

The border-free Schengen area, encompassing 29 European countries, guarantees free movement to millions of EU citizens and non-EU nationals living in the EU or visiting the EU as tourists, exchange students or for business purposes (legally present in the EU).


Due to the UAE's proximity to Europe and its status as a tourism hotspot, there is a strong demand for visas. In 2023, visa applications from the UAE increased by 25% compared to 2022 and 18% compared to 2019, underscoring sustained high interest in European travel. The region's popularity makes it near-impossible to get a visa or appointment slot to apply for one. So, how do you crack the puzzle?

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Tailor your visa

Schengen tourist visa (Uniform Schengen Visa — USV): This is your go-to option for sightseeing, visiting loved ones, or attending short-term events. May be issued for single, double, or multiple entries - it allows a stay of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.

Schengen Multiple Entry Visa (MEV): Those planning to enter, leave, and re-enter the Schengen Area will need a double-entry visa. If you obtain this visa, it is important to remember that it expires when you leave the Schengen Area for the second time, even if you have not used all the travel days it specifies. Those who want to make multiple trips in and out of the Schengen Area will require a multiple-entry Schengen Visa. The basic version allows you to spend 90 days at a time within the area over 180 days, up to as many trips in and out as you require. Multiple-entry Schengen Visas are also available, lasting one, three, and five years - covering you for any trips within that period.

Ace the application process

According to VFS Global, available visa appointments are reflected in real-time on their website, and they urge travellers to plan their travels and book their appointments well in advance to avoid delays.

Monaz Billimoria, Regional Head, VFS Global, said, "We always urge travellers to apply for their visas well in advance to avoid any delays. Schengen countries accept documents up to six months prior to the date of travel."

If you know which visa to apply for, let's now deconstruct the application process:

  • Target country: Choose the country in you want to spend the most number of days; this will also be your entry point
  • Manage your documents: Gather the required documents, typically including a completed application form, your passport, a detailed itinerary, proof of accommodation, evidence of financial stability (bank statements), and travel insurance. Remember, specific requirements may vary, so check the embassy/consulate website for the latest information.

VFS requested applicants to check the government websites for the latest visa processing timelines and visit VFS Global's website for the document checklists to ensure they have all the necessary paperwork for a seamless visa application process.

Visa processing timelines vary depending on the applicant’s nationality, visa category, and the documents submitted. Indicative timelines are available on the respective Consulate/Embassy’s website and on the relevant government page at www.vfsglobal.com.

Pro tips for appointment and application

Khaleej Times spoke to several travel enthusiasts in the UAE and compiled a list of visa hacks to simplify life for fellow residents.

Plan well: Prepare a well-defined itinerary outlining your journey throughout Europe.

Financial proof: Applicants must prove they possess sufficient funds to cover their expenses throughout their intended stay in the Schengen area. Financial subsistence refers to the ability of an individual to support themselves financially during their stay in a foreign country. It is an important factor to consider in the Schengen visa application process.

Employment documents: This refers to official paperwork and records that provide information about an individual’s employment status and income.

Be proactive: Keep checking the VFS website for available visa application slots. Try to check in the late hours or between 9-10am daily; getting an appointment may take 1-2 months or more, depending on the season.

Check for cancelled appointments: People often cancel or reschedule their appointments, which can open up slots unexpectedly.

Check visa requirements for multiple entries: If you have a valid visa from another Schengen country, check if you can enter your desired destination under the multiple-entry provision.

Go to Abu Dhabi: Shhh! Don't tell this to anyone; if you are struggling to get an appointment in VFS Dubai, try the Abu Dhabi office.

Change countries: If you're having difficulty scheduling a visa appointment for your preferred country, consider applying through a less frequented Schengen country. You can enter the Schengen Area via any member state, so opting for a country with lower demand or faster visa processing times may be helpful. However, this country must be your point of entry, and you must spend the maximum number of days there.

Harpreet Singh, Consultant and Partner at EzVisas, cautioned, "Regardless of where you apply, you must provide proof that your main destination (the country where you will spend the majority of your time) aligns with your visa application. It should be your point of entry as well. Ensure your travel itinerary, accommodation bookings, and other supporting documents are consistent with the visa you are applying for."

Visa at your doorstep

Some services can assist you in finding and securing appointments for a fee. These services can be handy if you’re having difficulty navigating the system or don’t have the time to check for openings regularly.

"Focused on providing convenient and seamless experiences, VFS Global offers a range of optional services, including 'Visa At Your Doorstep', wherein our trained professionals visit your home or office to collect documents and enrol biometrics, said Monaz Billimoria.

This service is particularly useful for large groups, including corporate teams, universities, schools, and senior citizens. The Visa At Your Doorstep service is for application submission only. Visa applications will continue to be evaluated and judged by the concerned diplomatic mission.

Premium services

Travellers can also opt for 'premium lounge services' for the anxiety-free visa application process. The premium service assures personal assistance with all visa-related queries, quicker completion of the application submission process, and immediate biometric enrolment.

The service also includes free photocopying and photo-booth services that meet the Embassy and High Commission specifications.

Once a decision is made on the visa application, the passport and documents will be delivered to your doorstep by courier. You will also receive automatic updates at each application stage via voice calls and SMS.

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