South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $371.2 billion. The fact that this nation is the second richest one on the African continent is well reflected in the love of travel shared by its people. More than 206,000 people applied for a Schengen visa from South Africa in 2017, according to figures provided by the European Commission.
In this article…
What is a Schengen Visa?
The Schengen visa is the most common type of visa used to travel to Europe. This visa allows its bearer to travel to one or all of the 26 countries bound by the Schengen agreement. With this visa, you can travel for the purposes of tourism, business, education and medical treatment for a duration of up to 90 days, within a six-month period.
The Schengen agreement was signed in 1985 in a small town in Luxembourg and aimed at removing the internal border checks between the member countries. Today, the Schengen territory covers 26 countries and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometers.
Who Should Apply for a Schengen Visa from South Africa?
Nationals of South Africa require a visa to travel to the Schengen territory. But there are certain categories of individuals residing in South Africa who do not require such a visa. These include:
- Citizens of Schengen nations or nations with a visa-free regime with the Schengen area, currently living in South Africa.
- Individuals holding dual citizenship, with one being of a Schengen nation or a country with a visa-free regime with the Schengen nations.
What are the Schengen Visa Application Requirements for South African Nationals?
The following documents are required for getting a Schengen visa from South Africa:
- Visa Application Form
You need to submit a completely filled and signed visa application form. All the information filled in the form must be correct, to the best of your knowledge. Any mistakes can lead to a delay in the processing of your application form or, in some cases, even a rejection.
- A Valid Passport
You must have a passport that is valid for at least three months after the completion of your trip to the Schengen zone. The passport must also be less than 10 years old and have at least two blank pages.
The photographs attached with the form must be not older than three months. They should be taken against a light background, with your upper shoulders and face clearly visible.
- Evidence of South African Residence
You also need to provide a residence permit or a national ID as evidence of you being a legal resident of South Africa.
- Cover Letter
A cover letter also needs to be attached with the form, explaining all the details of your trip. The cover letter should include details such as the purpose of your visit, places you plan to visit, duration of your trip and so on.
- Proof of Accommodation
You need to submit documents proving that you have arranged accommodation, such as hotel bookings.
- Proof of Subsistence
You need to prove that you can support yourself financially for the entire duration of your stay. Documents such as your bank account statement and pay slips for the last three months can be used for this purpose. For those being sponsored by someone else, a letter of sponsorship will be required.
- Travel Health Insurance
Anyone traveling from South Africa to the Schengen territory is required to purchase travel health insurance cover of at least €30,000. The insurance must cover you across the entire Schengen zone, for any medical emergency, such as an accident or illness.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa from South Africa?
- Before applying for the Schengen visa, it is important to decide the type of visa most suitable for your travel. There are various categories of visa to choose from, such as tourism visa, business visa, study visa, etc.
- Next, you need to select the embassy where you must apply. This can be the embassy of the Schengen nation you are visiting or the one where you will be staying for the longest duration during your Schengen trip.
- After this, you need to submit the filled and signed application form, along with all the necessary documents.
- The next step is to schedule your visa interview at the appropriate embassy and attend it. The process of scheduling the interview can be done online as well as by visiting the embassy.
- After you have attended the interview, you need to pay the visa processing fee. The fee is non-refundable and can be paid in cash or via credit or debit card. However, some embassies might not accept payments via credit card.
How Much Does a Schengen Visa from South Africa Cost?
|Category||Fee in EUR|
|Children aged between 6 and 12 years||35|
|Children below the age of 6 years||Free|
However, there are certain categories of people for whom the visa fee is exempted, such as:
- Those traveling on a diplomatic, service, or official passport.
- Spouse and children of nationals of a Schengen country.
- Researchers traveling to the Schengen zone for the purposes of scientific study.
- Students and accompanying teachers, traveling for educational purposes.
When to Apply for a Schengen Visa from South Africa?
You can apply for a Schengen visa a maximum of three months before your trip. Although the visa processing time is generally 15-20 days, it is recommended to apply earlier. This is because there can be times when further processing is required or the embassy is unusually busy, such that the processing time gets extended.
What if the Visa is Denied?
If the visa application gets rejected, it is important to go through the reasons for the denial. This will help you not make the same mistakes twice, in case you decide to apply again. If you feel that you were wrongly denied the visa, you can appeal at the embassy. The common reasons for rejection of a visa application include having invalid documents, insufficient funds, past or present criminal record, etc.
If you require any additional information, it is recommended to contact the embassy of your destination country.