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Long Schengen Visa Appointment Queues All Around the World

Schengen Visa Appointment Queues causes changing in Travel Behavior

The Schengen Area is a European shared zone where Member States have abolished the need for visas, passports, and other types of border control measures. Third-country nationals, meaning citizens from any country not within the EU or who do not enjoy the right to free movement, can still access the countries within the Schengen Area under standard border control policies, and upon the presentation of the Type C Schengen Visa if coming from a country without a visa-free travel agreement. One of the most important rules to keep in mind, even for those with visa-free travel, is the 90/180 Schengen rule.

However, the reality is that third-country nationals, whose countries do not have a visa-free travel arrangement with the EU/EFTA, can only cross Schengen borders with a valid visa. The problem is that recent reports in the media highlight how long queues for Schengen visas are causing travelers worldwide to abandon their plans to visit Europe. This issue is largely due to the slow processing speeds of European countries as they handle the influx of visa requests, particularly at the start of the summer season.

Long queues for Schengen visas have adversely affected citizens of the UAE

According to publications like the Khaleej Times in the UAE, appointments for Schengen Visas in 2024 are fully booked until early September, making it challenging for many to travel to Europe. This situation particularly affects the Embassy in Dubai, where the demand is exceedingly high. In 2023, foreigners residing in the UAE applied for a staggering total of 233,932 Type C Schengen visas. Out of these applicants, 175,601 were successfully granted visas, while 52,485 faced rejections. It is important to note that UAE passport holders enjoy visa-free entry to the EU. However, the situation is different for foreign residents without UAE citizenship, especially those from countries without a visa-free agreement with the EU.

While Type C Schengen Visas come with long waiting times, European residency by investment options offer a more accessible route, especially for those who meet the necessary criteria. Know more about RBI solutions with Investment Visa experts.


Indian nationals are canceling their European vacations in 2024

In India, the situation regarding Schengen visa appointments is even more challenging, causing many Indians to seek alternative travel destinations due to the scarcely available slots for the Type C visa. Local news Times of India highlights that the number of available appointments is extremely limited, resulting in numerous Schengen Area travel plans to be canceled or postponed.

The publication mentions that there is a a severe shortage of new visa appointment slots in Delhi for countries such as Iceland, Portugal, and Hungary. This issue is mirrored in Mumbai, where no slots are available for Spain and Hungary. In Bengaluru, Indians citizens are unable to make new appointments for Iceland, Italy, and Portugal, while Kolkata faces a complete lack of slots for France, Iceland, Portugal, Hungary, and Norway. The waiting times for visa appointments also vary significantly, with Italy and Austria requiring 35-40 days in Delhi, and Germany requiring about 90 days. In Mumbai, travelers might have to wait over 50 days for a German visa appointment.

Turkish government has requested clarification from EU Embassies

Another country experiencing long queues and limited appointment slots in 2024 is Türkiye. In April, European countries such as Spain, Italy, and Germany denied reports that they had suspended issuing visas to Turkish citizens, attributing the delays to a backlog caused by the high number of applications. According to the Turkish government, this backlog has extended waiting times to several months leaving Turkish citizens frustrated. The case is even more complicated when it is added that Türkiye has been an official candidate to join the European Union for over 20 years, but its citizens still do not have a visa exemption that allows them to visit the Schengen Zone for tourism purposes.

Limited Schengen Visa Appointments Remain a Major Challenge

Citizens from several countries applying for Schengen visas have expressed frustration over the scarcity of available appointments in 2024. Applicants report that slots are filled almost immediately, leading to long waits and extending the overall application process. This problem is especially severe in high-demand countries during the summer period, such as Spain, France, and Italy, causing many to modify or cancel their travel plans.

According to Eurostat, the European Union's statistical office, the number of third-country nationals refused entry at the external borders has been declining since 2019. In that year, 670,000 citizens were denied entry to the Schengen Area. For example, the number of refusals reached its lowest point in 10 years of evaluation in 2023, with only 123,000 visa denials.


Based on the European Commission guidelines, the standard processing time for a Schengen visa application is 15 days, but this can be extended to up to 45 days if a more detailed examination or additional documents are required. The Commission also states that applicants should lodge their application at the consulate of the country they intend to visit. However, if visiting more than one Schengen country, the application should be made at the consulate of the country where the visitor will spend the most time. If the traveler will be visiting several Schengen countries and staying for an equal length of time in each, the application should be submitted to the consulate of the first country they will visit. 

Eurostat also highlights the increase in tourism in Europe. According to the monthly report on tourist accommodations up in June 2024, in the first quarter of 2024, tourist accommodations across the EU saw 452.6 million overnight stays, a 7% increase from the same period in 2023. January had 133.9 million nights (+3% compared to January 2023), February saw 149.2 million (+6%), and March reached 169.5 million (+9%).

The European Golden Visas as a Solution to Avoid Long Queues

While tourism Schengen Visas may put you through long queues, there are options available for those who want better ways of entering the Zone without delays. The European Golden Visas are Residency by Investment programs designed to eliminate the hassle of visa applications and lengthy processing times. By investing in Real Estate, business ventures, or government bonds in countries like Portugal or Greece, you can gain the right to reside and travel freely within the Schengen Area. Although holding the residency means you still need to comply with the 180/90 days Schengen rule, you will be able to move freely within the Schengen Zone for an indefinite period only after you acquire your citizenship. However, the Residency grants you the convenience of hopping from one charming European city to another without the burden of visa restrictions holding you back and it is definitely worth it. 

However, RBI programs offer more than just mobility within the Schengen Zone. By holding a residency in a European country, the applicant will gain access to top-tier healthcare, education and enjoy favorable tax regimes and investment opportunities.

The Golden Visa in Portugal, the best RBI program in Europe

For more than 10 years, the Portuguese Golden Visa has been considered the best Golden Visa program in the world, with more than 7 billion of euros generated to the country's economy. The program was changed for the last time in October 2023, when the Real Estate option was discontinued. Although the real estate is no longer available for investment, the Portuguese Golden Visa remains one of the best options for third-country nationals to acquire EU residency through investments in Funds and Donations to Science and Arts. 

Another option offered to Investors seeking Portuguese residency is the D2 Visa. Following the same legal structure as the Golden Visa, the Portugal D2 Visa stands as a Residency by Investment program, offering an alternative avenue for investors. Designed to fostering economic investment, this initiative creates the path to Portuguese citizenship, by targeting high-net-worth individuals to invest in the economy by either launching a new business or expanding an existing one within Portugal. 

The Portugal D2 Visa emerges as the premier and swiftest method of securing Residency within the European Union. Boasting an array of advantages, including family reunification and visa-free travel across the Schengen Zone, the D2 Visa presents the most cost-effective route to EU citizenship.

Greece Golden Visa as the cheapest option in the Europe

For instance, Greece has a very appealing Golden Visa program with prices starting at €250.000. However, in March 2024, the Greek government announced an official increase in the price of the Greece Golden Visa's Real Estate option, signaling a comprehensive revamp of the program. This new structure includes the introduction of three new price tiers. The revised pricing structure was fully implemented on March 31, 2024, but investors still have the opportunity to apply under the existing minimum requirement of €250,000 if they submit a 10% deposit by August 31, 2024, and finalize their investment by December 31, 2024. 

By applying for the Greece Residency through the Golden Visa, investors can also acquire Greek citizenship after living in the country for more than 7 years continuously. Along with the benefits of the Golden Visa, the investor can expect a profit with the real estate investment, considering the blooming of the market.

Investment Visa team boasts a 100% success rate in Golden Visa applications

Investment Visa, a prestigious Residency and Citizenship by Investment dedicated company, is a proud member of the Harland & Poston Group. Our team is fully committed to delivering the highest quality of service to our clients. With over 30 years of experience in Golden Visas and second passports, we have successfully guided hundreds of investors toward a brighter future. 

At Investment Visa, our team of professionals is ready to assist you in gaining freedom of movement within the Schengen Zone and other parts of the world. Say goodbye to visa application hassles with our RBI programs in Portugal and Greece. Your future of seamless travel starts here.  

Contact us today to learn more and start your path to European residency and citizenship.


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