Plan in Advance: Booking Schengen Visa Appointments a Challenge for UAE Residents

Keep a close eye on the VFS Global website for sudden slot openings

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on June 12, 2024, 09:41:24


schengen visa for uae residents

UAE residents planning trips to Europe for Eid Al Adha or the summer vacation may encounter difficulties securing Schengen visa appointments.

Industry insiders report that appointment slots are fully booked until the end of August, though sporadic openings may occur due to various factors. Mid-June brings up to five days off for Eid Al Adha celebrations, with schools closing for summer holidays in July-August, prompting many to plan travels during this period.

When asked about appointment availability before the summer break, a representative from VFS Global, responsible for handling administrative visa applications for European countries from the UAE, emphasised that visa appointments are shown in real time on their website.

Highlighting the significance of early planning, industry experts stress the need to book well in advance for a smooth journey. "Europe remains a highly sought-after destination for UAE travellers, especially during summer getaways. Just like tickets and hotels, visas should be prioritised when planning holidays," said a VFS spokesperson.

According to a renowned online travel agency, travel demand to Europe this summer has surged by 40 per cent compared to last year, with Schengen countries being particularly popular.

However, residents who are just starting to plan their European trip may struggle to secure a visa appointment. Travel agencies advise residents to check the VFS website regularly for newly available slots, as embassies occasionally release limited appointments.

Getting an appointment before the summer break is described as "very challenging" by immigration experts. Meanwhile, VFS Global cautioned residents against fraudulent entities charging money for scheduling appointments. The company clarified that it does not charge any fees for booking appointments on its official website.

However, some governments may require pre-payment of service fees, which will be reimbursed or deducted during the application process. This measure aims to ensure genuine travellers use appointment booking services and protect the system from misuse by fraudulent entities.

TLR Tips for Travellers

Securing a Schengen visa appointment from the UAE is quite difficult. Here are some tips to help you with this process:

Early Bird Gets the Slot: Plan and book your appointment well in advance. Keep in mind that slots fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons.
Tap into Expertise: Consider partnering with trusted travel agencies. They can offer valuable insights and assistance in securing appointments, optimising your travel itinerary, and navigating visa processes effectively.
Explore Alternative Destinations: While popular European hotspots may have limited availability, consider exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations. Not only do these locales offer unique cultural experiences, but they also present fewer visa appointment challenges.
Stay Flexible: Keep a close eye on the VFS Global website for sudden slot openings. Being flexible with your travel dates can increase your chances of securing an appointment.
Beware of Fraudsters: Verify the legitimacy of appointment booking channels to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes. Protect your travel plans and personal information by staying vigilant against scams.

Follow these tips to get the Schengen visa appointment process with confidence and increase your chances of getting the slot you want. Here's to smooth sailing and happy travels!

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