Are you a citizen of the United Arab Emirates planning a trip to Europe?
Given the high number of Schengen Visa applications from the UAE, it’s understandable that many of our readers have questions about the application process.
However, it’s important to know that Emirati citizens can currently travel to the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days without a Schengen Visa.
Since May 2015, UAE passport holders are allowed to enter Europe Visa-free because the United Arab Emirates and the European Union have signed an agreement that exempts Emirati citizens from the Schengen Visa requirement.
This reciprocal bilateral agreement has made the UAE the first Arab country whose nationals are exempted from getting a Visa prior to travelling to the Schengen Area.
On the other hand, some of the people residing in the UAE who do not hold a UAE passport may need to apply for a Schengen Visa in order to enter Europe.
If you want to learn more about how to get a Schengen Visa from the UAE, read on.
In this post, we break down the application process for UAE residents to help you understand the requirements and increase your chances of approval.
Table of contents:
1. Who Needs to Apply for a Schengen Visa from UAE?
As we mentioned before, Emirati citizens do not need a Schengen Visa to travel to Europe.
However, if you are a UAE passport holder, you could potentially be required to justify your travel purpose and provide documentation to the Immigration Officers that pertains to your journey, such as evidence of lodging and means of subsistence.
Additionally, it’s important to be aware that Emirati citizens will be eligible to apply for an ETIAS visa in 2023 once the system is fully operational.
ETIAS, which stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System, is an electronic travel authorisation or Visa waiver that can be easily obtained by filling out an online form.
But what if you’re a third-country national residing in the United Arab Emirates?
In that case, you may or may not need a Schengen Visa for Europe depending on your country of citizenship.
Some people do not need a Visa to visit Europe because they hold a passport from a country that the Schengen Area has a Visa exemption agreement with.
On the other hand, citizens of some countries must hold a short-stay Schengen Visa to enter Europe.
For instance, if you are an Indian citizen residing in the UAE, you must apply for a Schengen Visa because Indian passport holders must obtain a Visa to enter any of the Member States.
But, if you are a Mexican citizen residing in the UAE, then you can travel to Europe Visa-free because Mexicans do not need a Visa to enter Europe for trips up to 90 days.
More information about the countries that need (or do not need) a Visa for Europe can be found here.
2. Where & How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from UAE
To successfully apply for a Schengen Visa from UAE, follow these 5 key steps:
1. Determine the type of Schengen Visa you need
The purpose of your trip will determine the type of Visa you must apply for.
Some of the available Visa types include Tourist, Medical, Spouse, Business, Student, and Airport Transit Visa.
More information about the Schengen Visa types can be found here.
2. Find out where you must submit your application
If you plan to visit one Schengen country, you must submit your application to the Embassy or Consulate of that country located in the United Arab Emirates.
If you plan to visit multiple Schengen countries, you must submit your application to the Embassy or Consulate of the country where you will spend most days.
Or, if you plan on spending an equal amount of days in each, you must submit your application to the Embassy or Consulate of the country you will enter first.
Please note that some Embassies and Consulates have outsourced the Visa submission to third-party providers.
Most Schengen Member States have outsourced the Schengen Visa submission to VFS Global (e.g., Belgium, France, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, etc.).
However, there are a few Embassies in the UAE that process Schengen Visa applications directly, such as the Embassy of Poland in Abu Dhabi.
3. Find out when you must submit your application
According to the Schengen Visa policy, you are allowed to submit your application 15 working days before your departure date (latest date) and up to six months before your departure date (earliest date).
Visas Association’s team of professionals recommends travellers apply for their Visas at least three weeks prior to their scheduled departure so that any extra processing time can be accommodated.
4. Schedule your appointment
This is a mistake that we’ve seen many times before – people collect their required documents first, and then schedule their Schengen Visa appointment.
However, Visa appointments can fill up quickly, especially for countries that have a high number of applicants.
To avoid any delays, it is important to schedule your appointment well in advance, even before you start gathering the required documents.
We have already written a detailed guide on how to book your Schengen Visa appointment, which we recommend that you review carefully before scheduling your appointment.
You can access the full guide here.
5. Collect the required documents
The documents you submit to the Embassy are crucial to the success of your Schengen Visa application.
Make sure you go through the full list of required documents provided by us and identify the specific documents required based on your personal situation.
If you want to skip the research process, you can also request a personalised Schengen Embassy Requirements Report (SERR) that provides a complete list of required documents based on your situation and travel purpose.
Once you have collected all the required documents and checked their accuracy and completeness, you can submit your application.
On the scheduled date and time of your appointment, attend the short Visa interview and pay the Schengen Visa fee. This should be approximately 325 AED (80 EUR), depending on the currency exchange rates.
If your application is approved, you will get your Visa sticker affixed to your passport.
If your application gets denied, you have the right to appeal the Schengen Visa rejection (only if you have strong reasons to believe that the decision was incorrect).
If you find the Schengen Visa application process overwhelming, consider taking the next best step of getting a Schengen Visa Consultation for FREE and with no obligation.
Our service speaks for itself, and we won’t pressure you into any sales pitch. Through chat, we will ask a few questions to better grasp your circumstances and provide you with recommendations on what to do next.
Reach out to us today and let us assist you in resolving any uncertainties you may have regarding your Schengen Visa application from UAE, ensuring that you have the greatest opportunity to travel to Europe.