Five embassies in Oman processed over 38,944 visa applications in 2018 from Omanis wishing to visit one of the 26 Schengen Area Member States.
As per the figures exclusively accessed by the Observer from Schengen Visa Info www.schengenvisainfo.
The embassies of France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain received 38,944 applications and granted 36,460 Schengen visas throughout the whole last year.
The German Embassy was the busiest processing 10,476 applications of Omanis who wished to travel to either Germany or Iceland. The Netherlands received 9,322 applications from travellers wishing to visit the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Estonia, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Sweden or Switzerland.
Spain, which processes visas for Spain, Austria, Finland, Lithuania, Malta or Slovenia, followed with 8,419 and France with 8,081 applications received.
Most of the visas granted were multiple-entry, which means those who received them were permitted to enter the Schengen territory more than once with the same visa, as soon as the visa was still valid and had permitted days of stay left, the report said. Of the overall visas granted, 72.2 per cent of them were multiple-entries, a slight drop compared to 74.2 per cent in 2017. It may be noted that in 2016, 82.9 per cent of the visas granted were multiple-entries.
According to the same report, the rate of visa denials for Omanis reached the highest in the last five years, with 4.9 per cent of all applications rejected compared to 2014 when only 0.8 per cent of 34,238 of applications were rejected.
“Despite the increase, overall, the Schengen visa denial rate for Omanis remains low compared to the average Schengen visa denial, which in 2018 was 9.6 per cent,” said an analytical report. The report, however, does not provide specific details of the visa applications received/granted to non-Omanis (expatriates) who apply from five Schengen embassies in the Sultanate.
The Observer was not able to ascertain whether the reason for France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to top the list of Schengen visa applications from Omanis is due to direct air connectivity.
The national airline, Oman Air, flies directly to Athens, Frankfurt, Milan, Paris, Munich, Paris and Zurich, while Amsterdam is served by KLM.