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UAE calls for simplified Schengen visa procedures

posted on 12/10/2004: 617 views



It should be easier for UAE nationals to be issued a Schengen visa. This is the message the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to the member countries covered under the Schengen Treaty. The call was made yesterday during a joint meeting between the UAE and Austria to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.



The ministry asked Austria, as a member of the European Union, to simplify the rules and regulations for visa approval and to discuss the issue with EU members. The ministry also asked that UAE nationals be granted entry permits to Austria. This was not the first instance in which the UAE has asked Austria to ease visa procedures for UAE nationals and their accompanying servants.



The local immigration authorities raised the issue with Austria following complaints from UAE nationals that they find it difficult to obtain visit visas to Schengen countries. Brigadier Hadher Khalaf Al Muhairi, Director-General of the Naturalisation and Residency Directorate-General at the Ministry of Interior, earlier received Robert Sereinig, First Secretary and Consul at the Austrian Embassy, and raised the issue with him.



A few years ago, the UAE Government eased visa procedures for citizens from 34 countries, including Schengen member countries, who are provided with visit visas when they land in the country. UAE nationals need to apply for a Schengen visa weeks before their departure date. It takes ten to 14 days for a Schengen visa to be processed and issued.



"The relationship between the UAE and Austria is in need of further development on all levels whether it is economic, health or environment," Ambassador Ahmad Abdul Rahman Al Jirmi, Assistant Undersecretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said during yesterday's meeting. "The trade turnover between the two countries is very limited. We have three agreements with Austria, but we are in need of more deals. The UAE has a lot of investments in Austria and there is a large margin of cooperation between the two countries."



In its proposals, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economy suggested the introduction of investment opportunities for businessmen in each country, the setting up of a clear framework for cooperation and the opening of new markets. They also recommended that Austria encourage companies to promote the UAE's natural attractions with Austrian tourists.



Joseph Mayar, Deputy Minister of the Austrian Ministry of Economy and Commerce, acknowledged that further cooperation between the two countries is required and that the relationship was not balanced. "We will intensify this relationship and find common areas for cooperation. We are happy if you can increase your exports to Austria and our chamber of commerce will extend its support to your business council," he said. (The Gulf News)

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