By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Although UAE nationals do not require a visa to enter the Schengen Zone, they must still apply for multiple entry visas for the zone's member states
A total of 96,562 multiple entry visas were granted to UAE nationals in the European Schengen Zone in 2018, a 6 percent increase over 2017’s total of 91,089, recently compiled data seen by Arabian Business shows.
According to the figures compiled by VisaGuide.World – which are based on annual statistics made available by the European Commission – both 2017 and 2018 saw fewer multiple entry visas issued than in 2016, when 100,043 were issued.
Although UAE nationals do not require a visa to enter the Schengen Zone, they must still apply for multiple entry visas (MEVs) for the zone’s member states. While standard ‘uniform’ visas allow an applicant to transit or stay for periods of up to 90 days every six month period starting from the date of entry, MEVs can be obtained for one, three or five year periods.
Even in these cases, visa holders are limited to remaining in the EU no longer than 90 days within a 180-day period, even if they can come and go as many times as they would like.
The countries that are part of the Schengen Area are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
The data from VisaGuide.World shows that in 2018, a total of 217,431 UAE nationals applied for visas from the consulates of the Schengen countries in the UAE. Of this total, 174,053 – 80 percent – were granted.
At a country level, the Netherlands led the way in terms of issuance of MEVs, with 100 percent of the 14,926 visas issued at its consulates in Dubai and Abu Dhabi being valid for multiple entries.
The Netherlands was followed by Germany (98.7 percent), Belgium (81.7 percent) Luxembourg (80.6 percent) and Switzerland (79 percent).
The countries that proportionally gave the fewest MEVs were Malta (25.6 percent), Finland (22.3 percent), Sweden (20.5 percent) and Spain (10.1 percent).
The statistics also reveal that a total of 2,350 limited territorial validity (LTV) visas were issued in 2018, in which the applicant is only permitted to travel to the state that issued the visa, or, in some cases, to other states specifically mentioned when applying for the visa.
In 2017, 1,995 LTV visas were granted, compared to 1,648 in 2016.
Of the Schengen countries, Latvia was found to have the highest rejection rates for UAE nationals applying for visas. According to the statistics, of the 748 applications it received, 348 were rejected, or 46.3 percent.
Latvia was followed by Malta - which rejected 32.6 percent of the 1,471 visa applications it received at its consulates in Abu Dhabi and Dubai – Greece (26.9 percent) and Finland (23.2 percent) and Sweden (20.2 percent).For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.