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UAE Warns Against Scammers Offering 'Faster Schengen Visa' for a Fee

For entertainment professional R.S. (name withheld for privacy), a golden opportunity arose when he was invited to perform at a festival in Portugal. The only hurdle standing between him and his dream was obtaining a Schengen visa. Reflecting on the urgency of the situation, R.S. considered paying an agent Dh500 for assistance, given the short notice and the challenge of securing timely appointment slots. Fortunately, his friends dissuaded him, highlighting the potential scam and the substantial sum involved.

On Thursday, VFS Global, a passport and visa outsourcing company, issued a warning about numerous unscrupulous agents exploiting travelers by promising expedited Schengen appointment slots for a fee. Monaz Billimoria, UAE Regional Head of VFS Global, emphasized that charging for appointment slots is fraudulent, urging people to steer clear of such scams.

VFS Global clarified in a statement that they do not impose any fee for appointment bookings on their official website catering to visa applications. Some governments may require pre-payment of service fees during appointment booking, a precaution to ensure genuine travelers utilize the system and protect it from misuse by fraudulent entities.

Addressing visa trends at an annual agenda meeting, Monaz disclosed that UAE residents were already planning summer vacations, causing a surge in demand for Schengen and UK visa appointments. In response, VFS Global established premium centers across four emirates to accommodate the increased demand for UK visas. The agency cautioned individuals to plan their vacations well in advance.

Highlighting the lengthy wait for visa appointments, Monaz mentioned that, in June of the previous year, travelers faced up to a three-month wait for a Schengen visa appointment. Given these challenges, many individuals turn to dubious agents who claim to expedite visa processing for a fee, leading to financial losses for some UAE residents.

March 8, 2024 12:20 p.m. 12501

#breakingnews #worldnews #headlines #topstories #globalUpdate #dxbnewsnetwork #dxbnews #dxbdnn #dxbnewsnetworkdnn #VisaScams #TravelAlert #SchengenVisa #VFSGlobal #TravelSecurity #ScamAwareness #VisaFraud #ProtectYourself #TravelCaution #UAETravel #PassportAlert #FraudPrevention #TravelSafety #VisaAppointment

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