New Schengen visa rules for the UAE

Residents of the United Arab Emirates planning to travel to Schengen countries will no longer have to queue and appear in person at visa centres, as the European Union has announced plans to digitise the tourist visa process.

EU member state ambassadors have agreed on a Council negotiating mandate for a proposal to digitise the visa procedure. Under the new rules, the sticker in the passport will be replaced by a digital visa and Schengen applications can be made online.

Tour operators in the UAE are optimistic that the introduction of the changes will help to boost the flow of tourists into Europe, especially in the run-up to the summer holidays.

All Schengen visa applications will be submitted through a single website that will direct them to the relevant national visa systems. On the website, applicants will be able to enter all relevant data, upload electronic copies of their documents and pay visa fees.

Only first-time applicants and those whose biometric data are already invalid will need to appear in person at the consulate, and those who have renewed their passport will also have to appear in person.

The plan is that the visa will be issued by the country in which the traveller plans to spend more time. The website will detect this automatically. The visas will be issued in a digital format in the form of a two-dimensional barcode with a cryptographic signature. This will reduce the risks associated with forged and stolen visa stickers.

Source: Khaleej Times

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