What You Need to Know About South Africans and the Schengen Visa

South Africans and the Schengen Visa

While South African citizens often have more straightforward travel requirements than other African nations, procedures still need to be adhered to access many countries overseas. If you or your travel partner are traveling on a South African passport and would like to go to Europe, check out what you need to know about the Schengen visa.

What is the Schengen Visa?

The Schengen area comprises 26 countries within Europe that have eliminated their internal borders. As this means that people are free to travel without any restriction of movement, the member nations joined forces to implement one common visa requirement called the Schengen visa.

The 26 member states in the Schengen region include four associate members not part of the European Union, being Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Norway, and Iceland. In addition, the following 22 countries:

·  Austria

·  Belgium

·  Czech Republic

·  Estonia

·  Finland

·  France

·  Germany

·  Greece

·  Hungary

·  Italy

·  Latvia

·  Lithuania

·  Luxembourg

·  Malta

·  Netherlands

·  Poland

·  Portugal

·  Slovakia

·  Slovenia

·  Span

·  Sweden

Does a South African need a visa to visit Europe?

Yes, South African nationals traveling on their South African passport need to apply and receive a visa in advance of travel. In 2020, 34,328 individuals applied for the Schengen visa from a consulate in South Africa, of which 31,530 were granted. These figures are a vast reduction from pre-COVID figures when 221,790 individuals applied from within South Africa.

A person must apply for the Schengen visa from the country that is their primary destination. Applying for a Schengen visa as a South African may not be a straightforward procedure, especially if you reside outside of South Africa, will be going to multiple countries within the region or have yet to set your itinerary. As such, it is possible to use a third-party visa service.

What does a South African need to apply for a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa cannot be applied for more than three months in advance of your intended travel. Similarly, the application must be lodged at least 15 days before your intended flight. Note that the following countries do not allow travel on a South African Temporary Passport:

·  Austria

·  Belgium

·  Germany

·  Denmark

·  France

·  Luxembourg

·  Netherlands

·  Norway

·  Sweden

·  Switzerland

The following documentation is required to apply for a Schengen visa as a South African:

·  Common Schengen Application Form – competed in capital letters

·  South African passport valid for a minimum of three months after departure from the Schengen region

·  Two recent color passport photos

·  Proof of payment

·  Round trip reservation or itinerary, including dates

·  A bank statement no older than three months

·  Proof of travel, health, and accident insurance

·  Hotel reservation or letter from your host

·  Unabridged birth certificates (for children under 18 years of age)

Additional requirements may include a personal interview, proof of employment, or more. The fee for requesting a Schengen visa as a South African is 60 Euros for an adult (payable in Rand if applying from within South Africa) or 35 Euros for a child from six to 12 years of age. Children under six are free of charge. 

Why would a Schengen visa get rejected?

It is crucial to ensure all of your paperwork is in order and complete, as, in addition to the delay in your travel plans, any fees for a rejected visa will not be returned. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of any application being approved.Once you have your Schengen visa, travel within the region is unlimited. For example, you could easily arrive in Malaga in the morning and store your bags while exploring the city. You can then catch the train to your next European destination that evening. With a Schengen visa, you are sure to create postcard-perfect memories with experiences to remember for a lifetime.

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