Vacation time is less than a month away for UAE residents. This year, the six-day break to celebrate Islamic festival Eid Al Adha will be followed by the two-month school summer holidays. This translates into better options for that much-needed travel.
While many residents are planning to travel to their home countries over the next three months, several are opting for holidays abroad. Though studies prove destinations that are visa-free or have minimum documentation needs are the biggest hits among people here, a little planning can get you to your dream destination.
In an opinion piece, Atul Marwah, chief operating officer, Mena, VFS Global — an outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions — said: “2023 has been a year like no other with travellers eager to make the most of their opportunities to explore new destinations and cultures … Obtaining a visa is an integral part of international travel.”
He gave five tips for a smooth visa application ahead of the summer holidays:
Timelines for visa processing are clearly outlined on the relevant embassy/consulate’s official websites. This information can be valuable in helping you prepare. However, it is important to note that during peak travel seasons, such as summer holidays or long weekends, visa processing can take longer than expected. To avoid any delays or last-minute stress, it is recommended that you apply for your visa as early as possible. Schengen countries, for instance, accept applications up to six months ahead of your date of travel. This will give you plenty of time to gather all the necessary documents and ensure that your application is complete and accurate.
Familiarise yourself with the visa requirements for your destination country and processing timelines.
Many countries require that your passport be valid for at least six months beyond your return date, so make sure to check the expiration date before you travel.
Start by researching the visa requirements for your destination country well ahead of your trip. Ensure you have all the necessary documents and information ready before submitting your application. It's also advisable to book your flights and accommodations in advance to avoid last-minute price hikes or unavailability. Keep yourself updated with the latest travel advisories and guidelines from both your home country and the destination country. With proper planning and preparation, you can make that long-awaited international trip a reality without any hassle or inconvenience.
VFS visa application centres require applicants to book an appointment in advance. It is recommended that you schedule your appointment well in advance of your intended date of travel as availabilities and processing timelines can vary depending on the volume of applications received.
“Be cautious of third-parties that claim to offer priority/expedited appointment booking services for an additional fee as they are fraudulent. Such entities should be immediately reported to VFS Global and the relevant Embassy/Consulate for further action. VFS Global does not charge a fee for booking appointments,” wrote Marwah.
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