UAE Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: UAE diplomacy has achieved another victory towards realising a Schengen visa waiver, which will allow Emiratis visa-free travel to any of all 28 Schengen states, said Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister.

“UAE Schengen waiver soon,” Shaikh Abdullah tweeted on Friday, attaching a video produced by the Foreign Ministry showing an animation of the Schengen countries UAE citizens will be allowed visa-free access to.

“UAE citizens will be allowed access to 34 European countries [including 28 Schengen states],” the video says, with an infographic displaying the countries’ names, such as Malta, Belgium, Greece, Sweden, and Finland. “All you need to do,” the video explains, “is produce your passport at the host country’s airport. You will then be allowed to stay for 90 uninterrupted days, or 6 months with interruption. In emergencies, citizens need to coordinate with the UAE missions in these countries to negotiate longer stays.”

“If you are accompanied by non-Emirati citizens, make sure to obtain a Schengen visa for them before travelling.”

Respecting the host country’s laws was also recommended.

Shaikh Abdullah thanked Sulaiman Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the European Union, for his efforts and his team’s towards attaining this achievement.

Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, tweeted on Saturday: “A Muslim Brotherhood member considers the Schengen waiver a trivial matter. We leave to them the larger things, then, such as revolutions and instability. Instead, we’ll take care of UAE citizens.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in the UAE.

The ambassador to the EU said the proposal to grant the UAE Schengen visa-free status was passed by the European Parliament in June last year, with 523 out of 577 votes.

Emiratis will in the next few days no longer require a visa for short stays (up to 90 days) in the Schengen area, whether for business, tourist or family visit purposes.

Continued efforts of UAE diplomats, indefatigably working under the chief of UAE foreign policy, Shaikh Abdullah, have resulted in a unanimous vote in favour of marking the country on a list of countries exempt from Schengen visa requirements.

The UAE is the first Arab country, second in the Middle East, and third among Islamic countries whose citizens receive this visa waiver, said Al Mazroui, a diplomat who has been hard at work towards abolishing the travel restrictions imposed on UAE citizens.

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, according to EU data.

Emiratis facing delays in obtaining Schengen visas as well as those of other countries have repeatedly demanded that the UAE government stop granting visas-on-arrival to citizens of countries that fail to apply equal treatment to UAE citizens.

Al Mazroui lauded the pivotal role played by the ‘friends of the UAE’ group — a group of about 40 EU diplomats assembled by Al Mazroui — at the European Parliament and the UAE ambassadors to the EU states.

Al Mazroui said with trade connections with European countries tipping the €50 billion (Dh205 billion) point, and where 500 airline trips a week are regularly travelled, figures will most likely increase as travel restrictions are truncated.