Fraudsters sell fake European visa appointments

By Hoang Phong   July 20, 2023 | 06:09 pm PT
Fraudsters sell fake European visa appointments
People wait in lines at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, Netherlands June 16, 2022. Photo by Reuters
VFS Global, a visa application outsourcing and technology services firm, said fraudsters have been selling fake Schengen Area visa appointments in the United Arab Emirates amid growing travel demand.

The Schengen Area is a region of 27 European countries that have waived passport requirements and other forms of travel control along their borders.

Scammers posing as visa center employees are offering to sell fake appointments, a spokesperson from the visa application company told Arabian Business.

"We have seen some people come into the center with appointment confirmations that are fake...[such people] were unfortunately scammed by these fraudsters," said Monaz Billimoria, VFS Global’s deputy head of the UAE.

The growing scam came as pent-up post-Covid travel demand has made it exceedingly difficult for UAE residents to secure a Schengen visa appointment during the peak summer travel period.

A Schengen visa allows a person to travel to any member of the Schengen area with a maximum stay of up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of 27 member countries.

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