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More Schengen visa centres open in UAE

news10

VFS now handles visa for visiting Sweden

Dubai: Sweden has joined the growing list of countries outsourcing their visa services to a third party based in the UAE to speed up the processing of entry permits.

The Embassy of Sweden launched on Thursday the new visa application centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The centres, to be managed by VFS Global, are located at Wafi Mall, Level 2 in Dubai and Shining Tower, Level 25, in Abu Dhabi.

Dubai and Abu Dhabi residents wishing to travel to Sweden will no longer need to go to the country’s embassy. The centres will receive the applications and turn them over to the diplomatic office. The assessment and decisions regarding all visas will still be handled by the embassy.

VFS Global, which operates 1,465 application centres in 118 countries, is an outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide.

Its centre in Dubai currently facilitates visa applications on behalf of France, Italy and Germany, among others.

“I am delighted to be able to offer a substantially increased [level of] service for Sweden visa applicants. VFS Global has presence both in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai and as visa applicants – as from today- can turn to them to apply,” says Sweden’s Ambassador Jan Thesleff.

“We are getting closer to our customers and hopefully also shortening handling times. VFS Global handles applications for Sweden visa applicants in many places around the world and I am confident that doing so in the UAE will further increase our exchange with this important country.”

Visa applicants will pay a service fee to the centre when they submit their application.

The centre offers priority service to the disabled, senior applicants and pregnant women. There is also a premium lounge for those who prefer a more comfortable and personalized service.

Applicants get SMS alerts regarding the status of their application, at a nominal fee, and can avail themselves of “door-step delivery” of passports.