Brussels: In a major diplomatic victory for the UAE, Emiratis now will need only a valid passport to enter any of the Schengen countries.
UAE citizens will be allowed access to 34 European countries, including 28 Schengen states, thus making the Emirates the first Arab country, second in the Middle East, and third among Islamic countries whose citizens receive this visa waiver.
From May 7, UAE citizens will be entitled to visit many European countries that are a part of the Schengen area without having to obtain a visa prior to travel.
Here’s the latest from Brussels, the seat of the European Union Council (based on UAE time).
16.50 Signing ceremony is on. Documents exchanged between two signatories. It's a "very important day" for the nationals of the UAE and an historic moment for both the European Union and Emirates, say the diplomats.
16.47 It also recognises the leading role of the UAE in all aspects in the region. Today, I would like to extend a warm congratulation to the leadership of the UAE and its people who aspire to always enjoy the best, says Al Mazrouie.
16. 46 This achievement puts the icing on the cake and complements the already strong and growing bond between the UAE and the European Union. It will no doubt improve many things such as trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges, says the UAE ambassador.
16:45 Al Mazrouie: Waiving the Schengen visa will provide privilege to the UAE citizens to travel to 34 member states and principalities in the European area. The waiver will include traveling with all UAE-valid passport without the need for any online procedure or application.
16:43: The procedure (negotiations prior to the May 6 signing of the agreement) has been ... done in an atmosphere of trust on both sides, says Juhansone.
16.21 Signing will be done by the UAE ambassador to the EU, Sulaiman Al Mazroui and Ilze Juhansone, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia and chairman of the Permanent Representatives Committee at the EU in about half an hour. Currently there is a Latvian presidency of the Council of the EU (it changes periodically).
15:29 "Although the UAE was admitted last on the list of candidates for Schengen waiver, we got it first," says Mohammad Mir Al Raisi, Undersecretary of the UAE MInistry of Foreign Affairs.
15:22 Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the European Union, speaks about the historic agreement on the Schengen visa waiver for Emiratis. “This is a historic moment in the relationship between the UAE and the EU. Tne Schengen waiver agreement was an initiative that’s been there fore three years. Today, it’s been successfully concluded by the signing ceremony at the EU Council.
15:19 Signing ceremony takes place in about an hour.
Frequently Asked Questions
In a major diplomatic victory for the UAE, Emiratis will need only a valid passport to enter any of the Schengen countries. The UAE is the first Arab country, second in the Middle East, and third among Islamic countries whose citizens receive this visa waiver.
Here are some of FAQs on visa-free travel for Emiratis to Schengen countries.
Q: When does visa-free travel for Emiratis start?
From May 7, UAE nationals can visit 34 European countries without obtaining a visa prior to the travel date.
Q: What does the visa-free travel to Europe mean for Emiratis?
It means an Emirati traveller needs only to produce a valild passport at the host country’s airport. He will then be allowed to stay for 90 uninterrupted days, or 6 months with interruption.
Q: When was the visa-free travel for Emiratis granted by the EU?
The proposal to grant the UAE Schengen visa-free status was passed by the European Parliament in June 2014, with 523 out of 577 votes.
Q: How many flight are there between the UAE and Europe?
There are 500 airline trips a week between the UAE and EU and these figures will most likely increase as travel restrictions are lifted. Several thousand Emiratis visit Europe throughout the year. Last year, Italy alone granted about 10,000 visas for Emiratis at both their Abu Dhabi and Dubai diplomatic mission out of the 35,000 visas approved in the UAE. With the visa-waiver, the number of Emirati tourists to Europe is expected to increase dramatically.
Q: Which European countries will UAE citizens be allowed visa-free travel?
UAE citizens will be allowed access to 34 European countries (including 28 Schengen states). The Schengen area member states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland
(not an EU State), Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein (not a European Union Member State), Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway (not an EU Member State), Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (not a EU State).
Q: What happens in emergencies?
Citizens need to coordinate with the UAE missions in these countries to negotiate longer stays.
Q: What if an Emirati citizen is accompanied by non-Emiratis?
If you are accompanied by non-Emirati citizens, make sure to obtain a Schengen visa for them before travelling.
Q: How big is the trade been the UAE and EU states?
Based on EU data, trade between the 28 members of the EU states and the UAE rose in 2012 by 9.7 per cent year-on-year and hit €45.4 billion. Trade connections with European countries today is tipping the €50 billion (Dh205 billion) point.