Schengen visa requirements for Emirati visitors to Europe will soon change, according to a statement issued by the European Union's ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System).
Currently, travelers from the UAE, who wish to visit a Schengen member nation may do so without being required to apply for a Schengen visa before departure. However, traveling to the EU is scheduled to change in 2021, when all visa-exempt citizens - including Emirati nationals will be required to register for an obligatory ETIAS visa waiver in order to be granted entry into any of the Schengen countries.
In 2021, the European Union authorities will have completed the implementation of the new travel authorization program called ETIAS. From then on, all individuals traveling to Europe with a UAE passport, or any of the other 59 countries with a visa waiver agreement with Europe, will need to apply for and obtain an approved European visa waiver before they travel.
How does it affect Emirati travellers?
The ETIAS is a visa waiver program being developed for all ETIAS eligible countries including the UAE. ETIAS is currently under development while the required systems are being created in a way that would tie in with existing immigration databases as well as other security data systems.
As soon as ETIAS is in full force, it will provide a seamless screening and entry procedure for Emiratis visiting any and all of the participating Schengen countries.
The ETIAS travel authorization benefits travelers from the UAE in multiple ways, including:
-Quick approval -within one business day in most cases, although some applications may take up to three business days
- No need to visit an embassy, consulate or wait in long lines
- Grants entry and freedom to travel between all member nations
- Safer travel experience when visiting Schengen countries
The ETIAS is being introduced by Schengen authorities with the objective of strengthening and improving internal security within the member countries.
What do Emiratis need before travelling? Getting an ETIAS from the UAE entails completing a simple online application that takes no more than 10 minutes. Most ETIAS visa waiver applications are granted within 1 business day, although some may take longer, up to 3 business days.
As soon as the ETIAS is approved, the citizen will receive a digital copy at the email address provided during the application process. Once the citizen arrives in the Schengen Zone, they will be required to present their valid Emirati passport at border control. The border guard will electronically read the UAE passport, which will confirm whether the traveler has a valid ETIAS or not. If there is a valid travel authorization, the border control process will be conducted. If the traveler fulfills all entry conditions, they will be authorized to enter the Schengen area.
As soon as the implementation of ETIAS is finalized, travelers heading from the UAE to the Schengen Area will be pre-screened before boarding a flight towards any member nation. Checking visa-exempt travelers against security databases prior to their trip and denying entry to those who may represent a risk to the wellbeing and safety of the Schengen nations will be a great benefit to citizens of the EU and the UAE.
The system was proposed by the European Commission in April 2016 and approved in November 2016. The ETIAS travel authorization is similar to other visa waivers like the well-known US ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). It is expected that towards the end of 2021, the ETIAS System will be fully implemented.
Which countries can Emiratis visit with an ETIAS?
ETIAS holders from the UAE will be granted entry and the right to move freely between the following member countries for up to 90 consecutive days per trip, within a 180-day period.
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