Will Emirati citizens need a visa for Europe?
Do citizens of the United Arab Emirates need a visa to travel to Europe? No, at the moment they do not need a visa for short stays in European countries in the Schengen Area. However, in 2022 ETIAS will come out and it will be necessary for Emiratis to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver in order to gain entry to any of the Schengen countries, as well as passport holders from more than 60 visa-exempt territories around the world.
ETIAS stands for European Travel Information and Authorisation System. This new program was approved by the European Parliament in 2016 and is being introduced to enhance the security of the region by strengthening European borders while simultaneously allowing people freedom of movement within the travel zone.
ETIAS is not a visa. Emirati citizens will maintain their visa-free privileges but will need to obtain the new travel authorization before they can gain entry to Europe by the end of 2022.
Are Emirati citizens required to obtain an ETIAS visa waiver?
Emiratis are eligible to apply for ETIAS. The travel authorization can be used to enter all 26 countries in the Schengen Area and stay for up to 90 days.
Emirati citizens with an approved ETIASvisa waiver will be able to enter Europe multiple times as long as they have not exhausted the 90-day limit per 180-day period limit. Therefore, it is not necessary to submit an ETIAS application before every trip.
ETIAS allows European authorities to pre-screen visa-exempt individuals before they arrive in Europe, therefore identifying any potential security risks. Conveniently, the application process is fully online with no need to present paperwork in person at an embassy or consulate.
What is required for the ETIAS visa waiver application?
European Authorities have set certain basic requirements for Emirati citizens wishing to travel to Europe using an ETIAS permit. Emirati applicants must have a:
- valid Emirati passport
- valid email address
- valid debit/credit card that can be used for online payments
Emirati travellers whose passport is not valid for the entire trip should renew it before beginning the application process. Citizens of the United Araba Emirates with dual citizenship of another country should note that it is necessary to travel to Europe with the same passport used for the application process, in order to guarantee their entry at border control checkpoints.
How to apply for the ETIAS visa waiver from United Arab Emirates?
Travellers can apply for the ETIAS visa waiver online by filling out a simple online form. This form will ask travellers to list details such as their:
- Date of birth
- Country of citizenship
- Permanent address
- Email address
- Phone number
- Passport number, issue date, and expiry date
The form also asks the applicant to answer a few basic questions related to health and security matters before they may submit their request for an ETIAS. These will include questions about criminal history and previous travel to Eurrope.
Emirati applicants must ensure that they complete the online application accurately. The information supplied must match the details of the passport they will use to enter Europe. Any mistakes or false information could cause delays or issues obtaining the ETIAS visa waiver.
The information travellers submit is checked against international security databases such as Interpol and Europol. Erroneous or misleading information submitted via ETIAS may give the European Authorities grounds to delay the visa process or deny the travel authorisation completely.
Emirati passport holders should note that there is also a processing fee that they will need to pay in order to complete the ETIAS application. This can be paid using a valid credit/debit card.
What to expect after submitting the ETIAS visa waiver application
Once a traveller submits the ETIAS application, their details are automatically cross-checked against international security databases. It is estimated that around 95% of applications will be approved almost immediately. In the rare case that something is flagged up, the application will be reviewed manually by European authorities.
Applicants will receive an email notification informing them that the ETIAS visa waiver has been approved. At this point, the travel authorisation is linked to the electronic chip inside the biometric passport. The Emirati national now has permission to travel to the Schengen Area.
They will be required to submit the same passport used to apply online for ETIAS at an immigration checkpoint to gain entry to Europe. However, the final decision on whether to allow an individual to cross the border lies with the border authorities.
In the unlikely event that the ETIAS request is rejected, the traveller will be notified by email and provided with information about how to appeal the decision should they choose to. The appeal will be made to the country that the applicant intended to enter first.