UAE residents preparing for trips to Europe during Eid Al Adha or the summer holidays may face increased Schengen visa fees starting next month. The European Commission has announced a 12.5 per cent hike, which will come into effect on June 11. VFS Global, the entity managing visa applications for multiple European countries from the UAE, has acknowledged the revised fee structure and will inform applicants accordingly. The company operates in line with government regulations.

According to VFS Global's website, the European Commission has disclosed that visa fees for adults will rise from EUR 80 (Dh319) to EUR 90 (Dh359), and for children from EUR 40 (Dh160) to EUR 45 (Dh180). However, ongoing visa applications will remain unaffected, with the new fees applicable to submissions from June 11 onwards, globally. Non-European Union (EU) nationals must obtain a Schengen visa to travel within the Schengen area comprising 27 states.

Given the popularity of European travel among UAE residents, securing Schengen visa appointments can be challenging, often requiring advanced application a minimum of two months before the intended travel date. With the upcoming summer break in July and August, appointment availability becomes even scarcer. VFS advises travellers to apply for visas concurrent with flight and accommodation bookings, as slots for Schengen countries fill up rapidly. Passengers can apply for a Schengen visa up to six months ahead of their travel date, with an expected surge in applications projected for the upcoming Eid Al Adha and summer holidays.

VFS Global witnessed a 15 per cent increase in visa applications in 2023 compared to the previous year. Top destinations for UAE travelers in 2022 included Canada, France, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye, and the United Kingdom.