Surge in Demand for Schengen Visas Causes Booking Delays Until September in UAE

DUBAI โ€” UAE residents seeking Schengen visas are facing a lengthy wait, with appointment slots fully booked until September due to an unprecedented surge in demand. Travel agents report receiving an overwhelming number of daily enquiries, reaching up to 700, as residents finalize their overseas holiday plans for the upcoming Eid Al Adha break.

Despite efforts to expedite visa processing, the sheer volume of requests has overwhelmed the system, leaving many residents disappointed. Even the option to utilize premium visa services, available at an additional cost of $109, has been exhausted, leaving desperate travelers with limited alternatives.

According to Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari Brothers International Travel Services, the rising interest in Schengen countries can be attributed to the allure of exploring multiple European destinations without the need for separate visas. However, the surge in demand has placed immense strain on the system, leaving hopeful travelers grappling with disappointment.

The situation has prompted some residents to express their willingness to pay exorbitant fees for expedited appointments, although this option remains unavailable. Subair Thekepurathvalappil, senior manager for inbound and outbound operations at Regal Tours Worldwide, expressed sympathy for those eager to secure a visa, but emphasized that the situation was beyond their control.

While residents from various nationalities are eager to embark on European adventures, the majority of applicants earn a salary of Dh5,000 or more, indicating a growing interest among the middle-income segment. Many individuals who planned ahead and applied for visas in the early months of the year have managed to secure their travel permits. Once issued, a visa remains valid for six months, allowing travelers some flexibility in scheduling their trips.

The surge in demand has been further fueled by the impending summer season and the coinciding Eid Al Adha break. The combination of increased travel desire, the gradual relaxation of travel restrictions, reduced visa quotas, and holiday festivities has created a sense of urgency among Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents, according to Subair Thekepurathvalappil.

In light of these challenges, travel agents are advising residents who have already obtained their visas to plan their trips well in advance and stay in close contact for the latest updates and guidance. As the situation continues to evolve rapidly, it is crucial for travelers to remain informed to avoid any further disappointment.

The current surge in demand for Schengen visas underscores the eagerness among UAE residents to explore the diverse offerings of Europe. However, the strain on the system and the subsequent delays in securing appointments serve as a reminder of the challenges faced in meeting the escalating travel demands in a timely manner.

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