Schengen Visa

South African travellers must obtain a Schengen Visa to travel or work in Europe. When applying for this visa through a specific country, it is essential to specify the exact countries you plan to visit. This measure ensures that, in theory, travellers cannot freely move around the Schengen Area without prior specification in their visa application.

Types of countries that are in the Schengen Region:
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania,
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta,
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Which Country should I apply to?

Single-Country Visit: If your visit is limited to a single Schengen country, it is logical to apply for your Schengen visa through that specific country.

Business Travel: If the primary purpose of your travels is business-related and confined to a specific Schengen country, it is advisable to apply for your visa through that particular country.

Multiple-Country Visit: For visits spanning more than one Schengen country, the application should be submitted to the embassy of the country where you plan to stay the longest. If your stay durations are equivalent in multiple countries, apply at the embassy of the Schengen country you intend to enter first.

While you apply through a specific country, it is crucial to specify the countries you will be visiting in your visa application. This precaution ensures that, theoretically, travellers cannot freely move around the Schengen Area without prior indication in their visa application.

It’s worth noting that many travellers may enter the Schengen Area through a different country than the one through which they applied for the visa. This can occur due to international hub airports used by airlines. For example, if flying with KLM from Johannesburg to Frankfurt, the entry point might be Amsterdam.

When to Submit a Schengen Visa Application

Applications should be lodged no earlier than 3 months and no later than 15 days before the intended visit.

Documentation Required for a Schengen Visa

As of June 6, 2013, the submission of fingerprints is mandatory, necessitating a personal appearance at the embassy or consulate.

  • To initiate a Schengen visa application, the following documents must be submitted:
  • Completed application form.
  • A South African passport, not exceeding 10 years old, with a minimum of 2 blank pages and validity extending at least 3 months beyond the departure from all Schengen countries. Note that temporary passports may not be recognized by several Schengen countries.
  • Two colour photos meeting Schengen requirements.
  • If travelling elsewhere before returning to South Africa, obtain visas for the country you will be visiting after leaving the Schengen countries before applying for the Schengen visa (e.g., obtaining a UK visa after visiting the Schengen countries).
  • Proof of visa fee payment.
  • Copy of round-trip airline tickets and itinerary, specifying entry and exit dates from the Schengen area.
  • Bank statements from the last 3 months to demonstrate sufficient funds (the required amount varies by country). Provide proof of traveller’s cheques, tax receipts for foreign exchange, credit card statements, or an original letter from the bank confirming the credit amount.
  • Proof of minimum Schengen Travel Medical Insurance.
  • Proof of hotel bookings. If staying with friends or family, include an invitation letter with a copy of the host’s passport or ID.
  • For business travel, include a letter from your employer explaining the purpose of the visit, along with a letter from the company in the Schengen country you are visiting. If attending a conference, provide proof of payment and registration.

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