The VFS Global office at Wafi mall in Dubai. Clicking on a hot holiday deal without a valid visa to that country is the most common mistake people make and must avoid. Image Credit: Atiq ur Rehman /Gulf News

Dubai: If you are planning to go to Europe and other destinations this summer or during Ramadan, it’s better to apply for a visa now, an outsourcing service has advised.

According to VFS Global, travelers should not wait until the last minute and avoid the rush brought by an increasing number of UAE residents who are traveling and taking advantage of low airfares.

The effect of coronavirus on travel

“Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days or three months before travel but the revised Schengen Visa Code, which took effect on February, has made it possible to apply for a Schengen visa up to six months before date of travel,” a spokesperson for VFS Global said.

For the convenience of travelers, here are some pointers they must consider:

  • Expatriate residents in the UAE are advised to plan their travel itinerary and visa application as early as three months prior to the planned departure date to avoid delays in processing entry permits during the peak season (April to August, when most of the people are travelling during school holidays, Eid holidays or simply escaping the summer heat).
  • Each country has a different timeline for its visa processing, and these timelines are clearly mentioned on their websites, providing you the information required to apply for your visa well in advance. Be aware that during peak season visa processing can take longer than anticipated, hence apply early.
  • The time taken for visa processing differs with each mission. Please check the turnaround timelines before applying. Customers can choose to expedite the process by availing services like Priority and Super Priority visa, available for only UK visa customers. Opting for any optional, value-added services (such as Prime Time Services or Form-filling, or any other service) does not guarantee a quicker or more positive decision by the concerned embassy/consulate.
  •  If you plan to spend time in several Schengen countries, apply for a visa of the country where you will spend the longest duration of time / maximum number of nights. If the time spent in two or more countries is equal, apply for a visa to the first port of entry. Specify the main purpose of travel to the country.
  • Be sure to carry all the requisite documentation, including a printout of the checklist, to submit along with the duly filled application form. - Check your passport’s validity. Many countries require a valid passport six months beyond your return date.