A Schengen visa is a type of visa that lets you visit and explore many countries in Europe with one visa. This visa enables travelling between these countries with ease and you can enjoy your trip without any extra hurdles.

A Schengen visa holder can travel to any 26 member countries in the Schengen Area. This area is a zone that comprises European Union (EU) and non-EU countries. A Schengen visa allows anyone to stay in any Schengen country for up to 90 days within six months.

What is a Schengen visa?

  • A Schengen visa is a short-term visa that allows a person to travel within the Schengen Area as mentioned above.
  • The visa is issued for a maximum period of 90 days and it has a validity of six months.
  • Some famous countries included as part of the Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, and others.

Who needs a Schengen visa?

Citizens belonging to some countries require a Schengen visa to enter and travel in the Schengen Area. You can have a look at the list of countries, whose citizens must acquire a Schengen Visa before travelling to Europe:

  • Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan,
  • Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi,
  • Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Cuba,
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic,
  • Ecuador, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
  • Fiji,
  • Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana,
  • Haiti,
  • India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast,
  • Jamaica, Jordan,
  • Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan,
  • Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya,
  • Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar,
  • Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Northern Mariana Islands,
  • Oman,
  • Pakistan, Palau, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines,
  • Qatar,
  • Russia, Rwanda,
  • Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria,
  • Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu,
  • Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan,
  • Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam,
  • Yemen,
  • Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Applying for a Schengen visa as a UAE Resident Expat involves several steps.

To make the process smoother, follow this point-wise guide:

  1. Purpose: A Schengen visa is ideal for short-term stays such as tourism, business trips, or visits with family and friends. It does not permit work or study in the Schengen Area.
    Remember that a Schengen visa does not allow an individual to work or study in any Schengen country. You’ll need a separate type of visa for those purposes.
  2. Determine your destination: Identify the Schengen country where you will spend the most time during your trip. This country’s embassy or consulate is responsible for processing your visa application.
  3. Processing Time: Schengen visa processing times may vary depending on the embassy, consulate, and time of year. It’s always best practice to apply for such visas at least three months before your planned travel dates to avoid delays.
  4. Check the visa requirements: Each Schengen country may have slightly different requirements. Check your destination’s embassy or consulate website to review their specific needs.
  5. Complete the visa application form: You must download and complete the visa application form in advance to ensure that all the required information is accurate and complete.
  6. Gather the required documents:
    • A passport valid for over three months beyond your intended departure date and two blank pages for visa stamps.
    • At least two passport-sized photos that comply with Schengen visa photo requirements.
    • A detailed travel itinerary, including all confirmed flight reservations, hotel bookings, and planned activities to help with the visa process.
    • Proof of accommodation; Any hotel reservations or a letter from a host living in the Schengen area inviting you for a trip can help.
    • Travel medical insurance with a minimum coverage of €30,000 (approximately $35,400 or AED 129,900), valid for the entire Schengen area and the duration of your trip.
    • Proof of finance, such as bank statements which are six months old, salary pay slips, or any offical letter from your employer, demonstrating your ability to cover the costs of your trip.
    • If employed, an official letter from your employer stating your position, duration of employment, and the purpose of your trip.
    • For self-employed individuals, a copy of your business license and tax return forms.
    • For students, a letter from your educational institution confirming your enrollment and the purpose of your trip.
  7. Schedule an appointment: It’s always best practice to book an appointment at the embassy or consulate of your destination, in advance, to submit your visa application and required documents. Some embassies may require booking appointments online, while others may accept walk-in applications.
  8. Attend the visa appointment: On the day of your visa appointment, arrive on time with your completed visa application form and all the necessary documents. During the meeting, answer all questions related to your trip, finances, and ties to the UAE without hesitation.
  9. Pay the visa fee: Pay the Schengen visa fee at your appointment. The cost is generally around €80 (approximately $94.40 or AED 346.40), but it may vary depending on the embassy or consulate.
  10. Track your application: After submitting it, you can track its status online or through the embassy or consulate. Keep in mind that the processing time of the visa can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days. So plan your application well in advance.
  11. Collect your visa: Once approved, collect it from the embassy or consulate. Ensure all the visa details are correct before leaving the premises.
  12. Visa Validity: Schengen visas can be valid for single or multiple entries, allowing travelers to leave and re-enter the Schengen Area within 90 days in any 180-day window.
  13. Duration: The visa allows visitors to stay within the Schengen Area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 days timeframe.

A Schengen visa is a gateway to travel between 26 countries in Europe. Any UAE resident can apply for a Schengen visa through any embassy or consulate of the country they will be visiting first. Read this more detailed guide on Step By Step Procedure of Applying For Schengen Visa.

Here are the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area, listed alphabetically:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark
  5. Estonia
  6. Finland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Greece
  10. Hungary
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Liechtenstein
  15. Lithuania
  16. Luxembourg
  17. Malta
  18. Netherlands
  19. Norway
  20. Poland
  21. Portugal
  22. Slovakia
  23. Slovenia
  24. Spain
  25. Sweden
  26. Switzerland

The most popular season for tourists to travel to the Schengen area for holidays is typically summer, which spans from June to August.
During this time, the weather across Europe is generally warm and pleasant across most regions, making it ideal for sightseeing, outdoor activities, and exploring diverse cultural attractions.
However, specific preferences may vary depending on individual interests and the particular countries or regions within the Schengen area.

In conclusion, the Schengen visa offers UAE expats a fantastic opportunity to explore the rich cultural diversity and breathtaking landscapes of 26 European countries quickly and conveniently. By understanding the application process, required documents, and other vital aspects of obtaining a Schengen visa, you can ensure a smooth and memorable European holiday experience. So, embark on your European adventure and create unforgettable memories with the help of this comprehensive guide tailored for UAE expats. Safe travels and happy exploring!

About Author

Rahul Matiwadekar

About Author

Rahul brings more than 10 years of experience in the international banking, insurance, and finance industry, having worked in various roles from advisory to managerial positions. With his extensive knowledge and understanding of insurance, he is here to share his expertise and help you gain a better understanding of insurance products, processes, and more through his easy-to-understand blog posts.