Thursday, September 3, 2015

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa in Abu Dhabi

Every year I set a goal to travel to at least one country. This time, I'll be heading to the city of love and be seduced by its charm. Think of architecture, arts, history, beautiful parks and oh dear... my eternal weakness, my kryptonite - pâtisserie! I've been planning a trip to Paris since July for a week long holiday. Everything is settled from hotel accommodation, airport transfers, airfare and tours by Flight Centre UAE. They've been very helpful from the start regarding my demands and concerns about the trip. Now that I have all the bookings, I need one last thing: a Schengen Visa.

What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is required for certain nationalities who wish to visit all of the participating countries in the Schengen area with no border controls between them. Since I have a Philippine passport, I need to submit a complete application to the Embassy of France at least 15 days before my intended visit.

VFS Global in Abu Dhabi can help you with the process of visa applications. Please note that the Embassy will still be the one to make the assessment and decisions regarding your visa. In case you're visiting more than one Schengen countries, you have to apply at the Embassy of the country (a) where you will spend the longest or (b) the first point of entry if you're staying the same amount of days. For France, visa can be applied 90 days in advance to the travel date.

Steps for applying a Schengen Visa:

  1. Once your itinerary is ready, schedule an appointment online. Take note that VFS Global no longer accept walk-ins. You need to provide your Passport number and choose an appointment date. Service charge (AED 91) for the General Lounge will have to be paid online via VFS Global website. Make sure to print the appointment letter.
  2. Check the visa requirements. Prepare all these documents before going to VFS Global.
    • Fully completed Schengen application form
    • Two passport photographs with the right photo specifications
    • Original Passport (must be valid 6 months from the date of expiry with at least two free pages)
    • 2 copies of personal data pages of the passport
    • 2 copies of UAE residence visa (must be valid at least 90 days from the date of expiry)
    • 2 copies of previous Schengen/UK/US visa, if available
    • Original letter from the local employer stating purpose of travel, position, monthly salary and begin date of employment in the UAE
    • Original bank statement as proof of income for the last three months
    • Copy of itinerary prepared by travel agency for those going on tour
    • Travel insurance (I got mine from Flight Centre UAE)
    • Confirmed flight tickets
    • Confirmed hotel booking
  3. On the appointment day, arrive 15 minutes early. Go to the reception and show your appointment letter. You will be asked if you want to pay extra for the Premium Lounge (AED 250) for a more enhanced service. They will give you a ticket number.
  4. Once your number is called, a VFS officer will double-check all of your documents. Visa fee costs AED 242. You will be given a receipt with the copies of your passport and residence visa once everything is cleared. Keep it with you because you will need that to collect your passport. You will have the option for your passport to be delivered with an extra fee of AED 30. I chose to pick it up myself since I live nearby.
  5. Last part is the Biometrics scan. With a short queue, it took me only an hour to complete my visa application. All that's left is to wait.
You can track the status of your application online. VFS Global also provides a free SMS service with confirmation feedback regarding your visa processing. It normally takes 5-15 working days after being forwarded to the Embassy of France for a decision. After two days, I already received a message that my passport is ready for pick up. That was the fastest visa application I've ever encountered! My total cost for a Schengen Visa with VFS Global is AED 333. Worth it for a really impressive and smooth service.

Bonjour Paris!

Flight Centre UAE
Shop LG-12, Lower Ground Floor
Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi
Telephone No. 02 565 0222
Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

VFS Global Abu Dhabi
Shining Tower, Level 25
King Khalid Bin Abdel Aziz, 26th Street
Adjacent to Khalidiya Mall
Submission of Applications: 09:00 to 15:00 (Sunday - Thursday)

Image source: freepik


  1. Did you need your NOC from your employer or COE is enough?
    Thank you! :)

    1. You need NOC from your employer indicating you can travel to Europe on your specific dates. :)

  2. hi..i want to travel to paris for 3 days and italy for 6 days with my wife and my baby,
    my questions: much balance i have to keep in my bank account
    2.can i apply visa from france embassy (through vfs office) due to i want to travel to paris first..
    Thanks before..

    1. 1. There's usually an average daily cost depending which European countries you are visiting. For France, it's about €75 (315 AED)/day. Your bank statement is required to satisfy the "means of subsistence" meaning you need to show the Embassy that you can fund your entire trip. It's always a different case from other people so I really can't tell the exact amount to keep in the bank. It's also best if your bank statement shows evidence that you have a regular income. Being on the safe side in my case, I had at least 10,000 AED in the bank.
      2. You should apply at the Italian Embassy (through VFS Office) since you are staying there longer.

      I hope you'll have a wonderful trip with your family! Good luck with the visa application!

  3. Hi! I wish to have a Schengen visa as well enable to travel from Austria to Italy..but I'm planning to do the cancellation from my current job first before applying..will it be possible?..thanks

    1. Hi! I think it's better to apply for a Schengen Visa first before leaving your current job so you wouldn't have any problems with requirements like a valid UAE residence permit and local sponsor (company you're working for). But, if you can provide a letter from an Austrian or Italian sponsor, that would be helpful especially when you don't work anymore. You can apply 90 days prior to your travel, which gives you plenty of time to quit your job after your Schengen visa has been approved.

  4. Hi there,
    Thank you for you for sharing some useful informations with regards to applying for a Schengen Visa. Do you have any idea if it will be better to have someone say a Swedish friend to provide an invitation letter to visit Sweden rather than going there as "Tourist"? Im quite confuse as some people said it will be best if you apply a visa for tourist rather than visiting some local friend and stay in their place.

    1. Hi! If you have a Swedish friend or family, ask them to fill out a form of invitation. I believe it's available online or simply ask the embassy for that form. You will need that invitation form as a supporting document to apply for a tourist visa along with their civic registration certificate. I can't really say if it's the best way but if you have a confirmed hotel reservation, you can attach that as well. Hope that helps! :)

  5. hi... im planning to visit a relatives in sweden and italy.. my concern is how to get a travel insurance and how much it cost? can you help me with this pls..thanks

    1. Hi! You can check to compare travel insurance plans that best fit your budget and needs. You can also get travel insurance from travel agencies. It depends on how long you're going to stay in Sweden and Italy. :)

  6. Ms. Aletha,
    I have an Aunt in Tazmania who is already a resident there...if I will get a Schengen visa will it be possible for me to enter Australia? I will be staying in her house. What will be the "things to do" from my Aunt side?
    Thank you so much.

    1. Hi! You don't need a Schengen visa to go to Tasmania since it's a part of Australia. But, you need to visit the Embassy of Australia website to check the latest requirements for a tourist visa. :)

  7. HI Ms. Althea, I cannot open the link for online appointment, I have already an activated account but it shows only "Failed to get visiting country and residing country details" I believe the account is valid only for 2 Days.
    I would appreciate your help regarding this matter.

    - Grace

  8. Hi
    My fianće And I are planning to travel in EU this coming July.
    But I don't have the resident visa in UAE bcoz I am only tourist in here. So I want to know if there's a chance that I can have my schenge visa applied?
    Thanks a lot

    1. From what I remember, you can't apply for a Schengen Visa in the UAE if you're not a resident.

  9. Hi just wanted to ask, is it okay to apply Schengen visa kahit na wala ka pang 1 year dito sa Abu Dhabi? I am planning to apply this July or August which will be my 7th month working here. Is it true na kelangan lagpas 1 year ka na or else there is a great chance to be denied sa pagkuha ng visa?
    Hoping for your kind response. Thank you and Godbless!

    1. Hi! It depends on which Schengen country you're planning to visit. Meron iba kasi na required more than 6 months like Spain. But, naka-indicate naman yun sa visa checklist. Basta complete naman requirements mo, higher chance ma-approve agad. :)

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  11. good morning,

    i would like to ask , i want to apply for my girlfriend for schengen visa she is from Philippians what is the easiest way to apply for her we would like to go to Germany to find job and stay there does that possible ?
    i am one of the EU citizen does that can help us or no

    thank you

    1. Hi Steven! If she's currently in the Philippines, she should apply for a Schengen visa there.

  12. Hi ms. Aletha! Is NOC mandatory requirement for France visa application? I have with me an employment and salary certa but no NOC. Been searching about it but the results I got were vague, some says that it is mandatory and others stated that it’s optional. Thank you! Hope to hear from you.

    1. Hi Kim! Ask your company for NOC since it is required for Schengen visa application. The letter should include your name, passport number, job position, employment start date, salary and a statement allowing you to travel to Europe. Good luck on your application!

  13. Nice and interesting information and informative too.Can you please let me know the good attraction places we can visit checkout: Australia visa


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