The United Arab Emirates has consistently retained itself as king of tourism destination in not only the Middle East but also in Asia. In 2018 alone, the oil-rich kingdom welcomed whooping 16 million tourists. Contrarily, the citizens of the UAE are also among the top travelers worldwide as per capita income is one of the highest in the world, surpassing even likes of USA, UK, France, and Germany.
Also, the United Arab Emirates has been mentioned in the top fifteen countries whose residents lodged most Schengen Visa applications in 2017.
The stats shared by European Commission illustrates that nearly 267k residents of the United Arab Emirates had lodged Schengen Visa applications in 2017.
However, from May 2017, the permanent residents of UAE need not apply for or acquire a Schengen Visa to enter the Schengen territory. But from Jan 1, 2021, the permanent residents of the United Arab Emirates will apply for an ETIAS [European Travel Information and Authorization System] visa before departing to any of the European destinations.
Documents required by UAE residents to enter Europe
As stated above, those in possession of UAE passport enjoy visa exemption for entering the Schengen territory. However, UAE passport holders still need a certain set of documents to show to officials deployed at the port of entry as a jurisdiction to whether allow or bar itinerant rests with them.
The documents are as follow:
An authentic UAE travel document or UAE passport. The travel document or visa must possess validity of at least 90 days or three months beyond the planned stay in Europe.
Evidence explaining the intention of visiting the Schengen state (s).
Evidence illustrating that the itinerant has sufficient financial means to support his/her stay in the Schengen Area.
Following is the list of the Schengen countries where UAE passport holders can travel without a visa:
Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia, Slovenia, Poland, Portugal, Norway, Malta, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Hungary, Iceland, Germany, Greece, France, Finland, Estonia, Denmark, Belgium, Czech Republic, and Austria.
Who can apply for a Schengen Visa in UAE?
While the requirements for UAE passport holders have been explained above, all those—who reside in UAE but do not possess Schengen Visa and do not hail from countries exempted from acquiring Schengen Visa—will apply for a Schengen Visa from UAE to enter the Schengen territory.
Those UAE passport holders who have been earlier refused visa-free entry by any embassy, consulate or visa application center.
Foreign nationals currently residing in UAE on temporary or permanent residence permit who:
- are nationals of those countries who enjoy visa-free regime agreement but have faced rejection of visa application.
- are residents of those countries who have not yet inked visa-free regime with the Schengen countries.
Schengen visa application requirements for UAE residents
Following is the set of documents that are required while applying for the Schengen Visa from UAE:
Application form: You can fill it online or after downloading the hard copy. Fill it with utmost honesty and care. Print it and sign it in the end.
While filling the application form, make it sure that there is no contradiction in the information mentioned in the application form and other mandatory and supporting documents accompanying your visa application.
Authentic passport: The passport must hold the validity of 90 days or three months beyond the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area. Also, your passport must not be issued before a period of ten years.
Pictures: Two international standards passport size pictures. The pictures must not be older than three months.
Evidence of temporary or permanent residence permit in the UAE. Just like a passport, the residence permit must hold validity beyond 90 days of the intended date of return from the Schengen destination (s).
Roundtrip flight reservation: A roundtrip flight reservation enlists dates of arrival in and departure from the Schengen Area. It also contains personal details including full name, PNR or reservation codes and IATA codes of airports.
Besides, a roundtrip flight reservation assures the itinerant that has no intention whatsoever of overstaying in the Schengen territory illegally. A verifiable flight reservation increases chances of visa approval manifold.
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Hotel Booking or Proof of accommodation: A hotel booking document or proof of accommodation explains to the staffers of the embassy that itinerant has made arrangements for his accommodation during the course of his/her stay in the Schengen Area.
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Travel Health Insurance: A travel health insurance is mandatory supporting document accompanying your visa application, the absence of which means rejection of your visa application.
Before acquiring travel health insurance, ask the agent whether it is valid in whole Schengen Area. Also, if it covers the cost of repatriation after death.
Furthermore, make sure that availed travel insurance provides minimum coverage of USD 50000 or 30000 EUR.
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Cover letter: This letter explains to the visa officers the reason behind traveling to the Schengen destination (s). A well-written cover letter hikes chances of visa approval manifold.
Evidence of sufficient financial means: Embassies and consulates of the Schengen states want itinerant to possess sufficient financial means so that the itinerant can sponsor his/her trip with ease. Also, evidence of financial means gives satisfaction to the visa officer that itinerant won’t become a financial liability on the country (ies) that he/she is planning to visit.
Sponsorship Letter: A sponsorship letter is usually needed when itinerant does not possess sufficient financial resources. In such a case, a permanent resident of the host nation will pen a sponsorship letter on behalf of the application.
In sponsorship letter, the host expresses willingness to bear expenditures of the itinerant during the course of his/her stay in the Schengen Area.
The itinerant attach a sponsorship letter in his/her Schengen Visa application.
Additional Schengen Visa Requirements based on your Social Status
Photocopy of business license
6-month bank statement
If you are employed:
Current bank statement, of latest 6 months (Online Bank statements are not acceptable).
A letter stating that itinerant’s employer has granted him leave for the trip
Income Tax Returns (ITR)
6-month pension statement
If a student:
Proof of enrollment
NOC from the education institution
The regular income produced by property evidence of previous six months
The embassy or consulate or the visa application center can take up to 15 calendar days to arrive at the decision on your visa application i-e to submit it or reject it.
However, the period can be extended up to 30 days in exceptional cases. If the visa officer isn’t satisfied and he wants to further scrutinize the information submitted in the application, the period may exceed
Exceptionally, when additional documentation is needed in specific cases, the period may be extended up to a maximum of 60 calendar days.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in UAE?
Following are the simple steps to apply for Schengen Visa in UAE:
Determine the embassy or consulate where you need to apply. If you are planning to embark on a visit of more than one Schengen states, then you will apply at the embassy or consulate of the state that you are planning to stay most. If you’re unable to determine this, apply at the embassy or consulate that you are planning to enter first during a visit to the Schengen Area.
After figuring out the relevant embassy or consulate, secure an appointment date with the visa officer by using online means.
Appear for an interview at the relevant embassy or consulate.
Usually, embassy or consulate take up to 15 days to process your visa application. The time may increase if the visa officer is not satisfied with the information submitted or if there is some sort of ambiguity in the documents.
What should I do if my visa application is rejected?
There is no guarantee that by simply lodging a Schengen Visa application, you will get a Schengen Visa. The embassy and consulate reserve the right to reject your visa application if they are not satisfied with the information submitted, even though your application is complete.
In most of the cases, the visa applications are rejected owing to mistakes made in the interview. To avoid unnecessary mistakes and uninvited blunders, remain calm and composed during the course of the stay. Do not get panic if additional questions are asked. Also, reply to each question in accord with the information mentioned in the visa documents.
Still, if your visa application is rejected, the embassy or the consulate will notify you about the decision and also explain the reason behind denial. Also, the visa officials will illustrate instructions on how to lodge an appeal against the decision.
You can appeal this decision by writing an Appeal Letter for Schengen Visa Refusal.