The European Travel Information and Authorization System, known simply as “ETIAS”, is a huge gamechanger for Schengen countries, as well as those visiting the area.
Implemented at the end of 2022, it will require all residents of around 60 countries to submit an online application before visiting the Schengen Zone. The applicant’s details will be checked against regularly monitored and updated databases to make sure they are not a security risk, and entry will then be granted.
The United Arab Emirates is one of those 60 countries. If you are a UAE passport holder and you want to travel to the Schengen area after late-2022, be sure to read this guide.
ETIAS Visa Waiver for UAE Citizens
Before the implementation of the ETIAS, residents of the UAE were free to travel to the Schengen Zone without any additional documents or authorization. The ETIAS has changed that, but the application process is quick, easy, and costs just €7, so don’t let it get in the way of your vacation plans.
To complete an ETIAS application, you will need a UAE passport that is valid for at least three months from your intended date of travel. The application form will request some basic information followed by a €7 fee (void for younger travelers), after which you should receive travel authorization within 72 hours.
The authorization will be sent via email and will expire in 3 years or when your passport expires. During that period, you can visit the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
Does the ETIAS Apply to All of the European Union?
The ETIAS is valid within the Schengen Zone, which includes most—but not all—countries within the European Union, as well as Iceland, Switzerland, Norway, and Liechtenstein.
Some European countries are not in the European Union or the Schengen Zone, including Russia and the United Kingdom, while others have joined the EU but have not signed the Schengen Agreement, including Ireland.
Where Do Emirati Citizens Go On Vacation?
In 2021, a leading travel firm looked at Google searches to determine where the world wanted to go on vacation. These searches were localized to individual countries and they found that a huge number of nationalities had their sights set on the United Arab Emirates.
It seems that the UAE is a bucket list location for South Koreans, Senegalese, Libyans, and Belgians, as well as people from over a dozen other nations around the world. But what about Emirati citizens themselves, where do they want to go on vacation?
Apparently, India is number 1, which is ironic when you consider that UAE is top of the list for Indians, as well. When it comes to actual travel, most UAE passport holders opt for nearby destinations, including Oman and Saudi Arabia, where they have freedom of movement.
Where Can Emiratis Visit Without a Visa?
Emirati citizens have freedom of movement with all countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council. They can visit these nations without a passport and are just required to own a valid ID card.
A valid passport is required for travel to all other nations and a visa is also needed for travel to the United States, Jamaica, Ghana, Cameroon, Australia, Algeria, and a few other countries. The Emirati passport is the highest-ranked passport in the Arab world according to the Henley Passport Index. It is also ranked 15th in the world and has improved significantly over the last couple of decades, with many countries opening their borders for visa-free access to Emirati citizens.