Schengen Visa for South Africa Passport Holders

Laura Amber, Tourism Guide

For information about Schengen visas for South African passport holders, you are in the right place. As the second largest economy in Africa, South Africa enjoys a favorable position in terms of Schengen visa issuance rates. The country falls in the top 15 in the world in terms of Schengen visa applications in 2017. SA is hailed as the Rainbow Nation due to its great cultural and ethnic diversity. South Africans have it easy when it comes to getting visas compared to citizens of the rest of the continent. Europe remains the favorite destination for South African passport holders.

Schengen Visa for South Africa Passport Holders

What is Schengen Visa?

Schengen is a small country in Luxembourg where the Schengen agreement was signed in 1985. This agreement removes travel restrictions for citizens of 26 countries, most of which also double as members of the European Union. Citizens of any of these 26 countries do not need a visa to travel to any other member country.

South Africans and citizens of other non-Schengen countries require a Schengen visa before traveling to Schengen countries. Fortunately, the applicant needs only one visa from any of these states to visit the Schengen zone. A Schengen visa is therefore a travel permission to travel and reside in the Schengen countries. This is for a short stay of 90 days maximum within the 180 days allowed. However, A Schengen visa does not grant the holder any right to engage in employment.

Who Needs a Visa in South Africa?

Currently, the Schengen area has not established any visa-free arrangement with South Africa. This means that South African passport holders must get issued with Schengen visa before leaving for the Schengen area. You must be a South African citizen to be eligible to apply for a Schengen visa in South Africa. Legal residents in the country can also apply. However, there are categories of persons that do not require Schengen visas in South Africa. These include the following;

  • Citizens of Schengen area countries living in South Africa
  • South African passport holders with dual citizenship (South Africa and any Schengen state) In this case, you will be required to use your Schengen country passport.
  • South African passport holder with dual citizenship (South Africa and another country that has established a visa-free arrangement with the Schengen area). In this case, you will be required to use that country’s visa-exempt passport.

Visa Categories for South African Passport Holders

As an SA passport holder or resident, there are different visa categories that you can apply for in South Africa. These categories are as follows;

Visa CategoryReason
Uniform Schengen Visas (USV)For South Africans wishing to travel to any of the Schengen countries. This allows 90 days-stays in the Schengen zone within the 180 days-period permitted. This can be single or multiple entry visas.
Limited territorial validity visas (LTV)For South Africans wishing to enter a single Schengen state. It also has a 90-day maximum stay. In requested situations, this type can allow entry into more than one Schengen state. However, the countries to enter must be applied for and shown on the visa.
National VisasFor South Africans wishing to travel to, engage in studies, or employment in one of the Schengen countries. This type covers the precise period for the reason of travel after which you must return to South Africa. This must be issued by the particular country’s embassy in the country.

Schengen Visa Frequencies for South Africa

South Africa is one of the economic giants in Africa and enjoys good diplomatic and economic relations with Europe. Consequently, South African passport holders get favorable visa issuance success rates compared to citizens of other countries in the continent. The following graph shows the most recent statistics for Schengen visa issuance for South Africa;

2017 Schengen Visa Statistics for South Africa

Where to Go for Schengen Visa in South Africa

As a South African passport holder and resident, you need to apply for a Schengen visa. You can do this from the Schengen countries’ embassies, consulates, and Visa Application Centers (VACs) in South Africa. However, you cannot randomly choose;

  • If you have only one destination country, apply through that country’s embassy
  • If you have more than one destination country, apply through the country’s embassy in which you intend to stay the longest.
  • If you are unable to decide where you intend to have your main stay, apply through the country’s embassy the first of which you intend to enter.

All the Schengen countries have embassies and consulates in South Africa where applicants can make their visa applications. There are also VFS Global and Copago International as VACs (for Netherlands and France respectively) in South Africa. For Hungary and Latvia, you should go to the embassy of Hungary in Pretoria. Likewise, for Italy and Malta, you should go to the Italian embassy in Pretoria.

Required Documents to Apply for Schengen Visa in South Africa

To apply for a Schengen visa, you must tender all the required documents to the right embassy in South Africa that are mandatory for Schengen visa requirements. The following documents must be submitted in the process of applying for a Schengen visa in South Africa;

  1. Valid South African passport.
  • This must not be older than ten years
  • Must have at least two blank pages
  • Must be valid for at least three months after the date of your return to South Africa.
  • The temporary passport is not accepted
  • Must provide photocopies of used passport pages
  • Must provide previously issued visas if any
  1. Completed common Schengen visa application form
  • Every applicant must fill theirs
  • Provide a photocopy and the original
  • Must be dated and signed
  1. Two color passport photos
  • Clearly showing the face on a clear background
  • Must not be edited or photoshopped.
  • Taken within the last three months
  1. South Africa identification document
  • Original and photocopy
  • Or residence permit
  1. Cover letter
  • Should outline all your travel details
  1. Flight reservation for visa which must show;
  • Applicant names as they appear on the passport
  • Flight dates (departure from and return to South Africa)
  • Flight numbers

Flight Reservation For Visa Application

  1. Proof of accommodation for visa covering the entire travel
  2. Medical travel insurance for a visa must be at least 30,000 Euros (533,964 South African Rand)
  3. Proof of sufficient funds which include;
  • Bank statements issued within the last three months
  • Proof of traveler’s checks
  • Tax receipts for foreign exchange purchased
  • Original letter from the bank proving sufficient funds
  • Recent credit card statements
  1. Proof that you have paid Schengen visa application fees as required

To help you prepare important documents such as cover letters, insurance coverage, accommodation, and flight reservations, you should consider consulting Schengen Flight Reservation Visa.

Other Documents Required for Schengen Visa in South Africa

You also need to furnish the visa processing office with additional documents. This is depending on your visa circumstances. These may include the following;

SituationDocuments to Present
Applying for a transit visa

Visa issued for the destination country

Flight ticket bought for the destination

If a minor visa applicant

Copies of IDs or passports of both parents

Both parents’ approval with signatures in case the minor is traveling alone

Court order if only a single parent has custody of the child.

Child’s birth certificate

Common Schengen visa application form signed by both parents or guardians

If a spouse of an EU/EAA citizen and/or their child under 21 years

Marriage and birth certificates for spouse and child respectively.

Valid EU/EAA passport for the parent or spouse

If attending a conferenceProof of payment and registration
If employed (formally)

Employment agreement

Income Tax Return or Certificate

Leave of employment from your employer

No objection letter from your employer

Letter from employer stating that you will get back to employment after travel.

Latest pay slips

If employed (self)

Copy of business permit from the competent authority in South Africa

Business bank statements

Income tax statement for the enterprise

If traveling for business

Invitation letter from the Schengen company being visited

Letter from the employer stating the reason for travel

If traveling for education

Letter of acceptance/offer

No objection letter from the institution.

Proof of enrollment in the institution

If traveling for a tour

Detailed tour plan

Tour booking proof (if participating in organized tourism through agencies)

Tour pre-payment proof (if touring as an individual)

If traveling to visit relatives and friends living in a Schengen country

Invitation letter by the parties involved

Official affidavit of support (if the friend/relative is financing the travel)

If under pensionLatest pension statements
To prove additional incomeLatest bank statements showing income gained from the source
To proof MarriageMarriage certificates

Schengen Visa Fees for South Africa Passport Holders

All South African passport holders and residents applying for a Schengen visa in the country must pay the required fees. The following table gives the current Schengen visa fees applicable in South Africa;

Visa CategoryFee (in Euro)Fee (in South African Rand)
For Expats601,068
For Express visa701,246
For Minors (past 6 years but below 12 years)35623
For Stay exceeding 90 days991,762
For Stay less than 90 days601,068
For Students50890
For Transit Visa601,068
Members of Diplomatic missionsFree
Minors (less than 6 years)Free
Persons with disabilities and those accompanying themFree
Spouses of EU/EEA citizens and children under 21Free
Studies/research/sports (below 25 years)Free

With the right information, a Schengen visa for South African passport holders is now fairly easy to get. Additionally, you can get help with important visa application steps and documents such as flight reservations for visas affordable and fast. Fill out the flight reservation form to reserve your flight. You can also have all your questions answered by professionals right now.

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