Travel agents say people prefer to go to these destinations because the process is less onerous and there is less waiting time from application to approval
A senior VFS Global official said that UAE residents are increasingly choosing to travel to countries that offer e-visa and visa-on-arrival. Many countries, such as Azerbaijan, Maldives, Georgia, Armenia, etc., provide visa-on-arrival or e-visa services for many UAE residents and nationals.
Post-Covid-19 UAE outbound travel and tourism has grown exponentially, approaching pre-pandemic levels.
“Demand has increased for countries offering e-visa and visa-on-arrival services, such as Thailand, Suriname, and most recently Indonesia (from September 2022),” said Pranav Sinha, Head Middle East, VFS Global.
Travel agents say people prefer to visit countries that offer e-Visa or visa-on-arrival because it is fast and life is easier for UAE residents as they don’t have to spend hours waiting in line to apply for a visa and then spend days getting to consulates and embassies answer.
“Especially when large families are traveling to a resort and filling out forms and waiting for visas is a cumbersome process. Also, for some, there is a cost factor involved,” said a travel executive.
VFS serves 67 countries through Visa Application Centers in 144 locations around the world. In the UAE, it serves 40 governments through a network of 72 visa application centres. This includes the Philippine ePassport Renewal Center in Dubai, which provides passport services to Filipino nationals residing in the UAE.
Visa demand in 2022 has seen unprecedented growth as travel resumes after a gap of almost two years.
In the UAE, the number of VFS applications up to November 2022 is 25% higher than in 2019, with the tourist season well beyond the traditional summer months. “We expect continued high demand for international travel in 2023,” Sinha said.
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UAE residents have easy access to several resorts. “With the reopening of borders, the resumption of scheduled flights and pent-up travel demand, there has been strong interest in popular destinations such as Canada, the UK and Europe,” Sinha said.
VFS Global’s head of Middle East urges all travelers to apply for visas in advance to avoid delays.
“Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days in advance and Schengen accepts documents up to six months before travel date,” he informed, advising people to check the government and VFS websites for the latest visa processing timetables and document checklists to ensure They have all the necessary documents required for a seamless visa application process.