Applying for Schengen visa is at times puzzling and hectic especially to those traveling to these countries for the first time. This is because there are numerous agencies that claim to be offering such services and the applicants are always left mystified and wondering about the correct channel to use. Applying for this type of visa from South Africa greatly depends on several factors such as your location where you live. This is because Schengen comprises of various European countries with each having its consulate in different locations of South Africa. Here is a simple guide on how to apply for Schengen visa from South Africa.
There are about 26 European countries that make up the Schengen area. This region has abolished their passport and immigration controls at their common borders and as a result, functions as a single country for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. Below is the list of countries that make up the Schengen region:
- Czech Republic
Completing Schengen Visa Application Form
There is a form that you need to fill when applying for a Schengen visa. Fill all the details correctly and accordingly then append your signature. This application form is available online where you need to download it preferably in PDF form. It is mandatory that you attach two passport sized photographs on the application form. Ensure that the photographs are clear because unclear photos can compromise the procession of your application. Submit the form and all other relevant documents in person to the Schengen country’s consulate.
Applying for Schengen Visa: Have the necessary documents
This basically depends on the Schengen country that you want to visit and the type of Schengen visa you are applying for. However, a South African passport is mandatory and it should be valid for a period of at least 90 days beyond your return date and should contain at least 2 blank pages. Blank pages are vital since they will be stamped to provide prudent information required such as visa type, date of application and code of the state that is handling the application. Other documents that might be required include proof of ability to pay for your accommodation and flight, travel insurance and the invitation letter from the host among many more.
Payment for Schengen Visa
When you are applying for Schengen visa, you will be required to pay fees to cover for the administrative and other application costs. You should however, understand that the fee is non-refundable should your application be rejected. The fee is always paid in local currency and in this case, in Rands.
Schengen Visa Application Processing Period
This visa takes quite a considerable amount of time to be processed. Usually, it takes about 15 business days to be issued, but this can be prolonged depending on varied factors. It can last up to 2 months when various elements are factored in especially if you are a first time traveler to Schengen countries. It is therefore recommended that you apply for this visa in good time to avert inconveniencing your travel plans.
Approval and Delivery of Schengen Visa
These consulates usually take autonomous decisions when it comes to approval of your Schengen visa application. Some countries also prefer to be informed about visa applications from South Africans. However, when the application process is successful, the visa will be shipped to the respective mission where the application was made for the applicant to go and pick. You can also pay some amount of money if you need the visa to be delivered to your home or office.