How to easily apply for your Schengen visa

It’s a dream of many to travel through Europe. Images of fairy-tale lands, expansive open fields, cobbled streets, age-old architecture and more known attractions than you could ever imagine, the lure of this magical continent appeals to the eye and soul alike.

Travel through the Schengen Zone countries can be as simple as driving along its winding countryside roads, hopping onto the Eurostar train, or taking a 45min flight to your next European city.

But before you get ready for your adventure, make sure to sort out your Schengen visa, so that you can concentrate on the good stuff!

copenhagen-denmark-schengen-visa

Copenhagen, Denmark

So, who needs to apply?

Anyone from South Africa (and many, many other countries) that wants to visit one or more of the dozens of countries that fall under the Schengen Zone. There are 26 countries in total, and while 22 of them are part of the European Union, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein are not.

 

Which countries require a Schengen visa?

If you’re in possession of a valid South African passport, you’re going to need to get your papers ready if your dream holiday destination falls under the following list:

  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Switzerland
  4. Cyprus
  5. Czech Republic
  6. Denmark
  7. Estonia
  8. Finland
  9. France
  10. Germany
  11. Greece
  12. Hungary
  13. Italy
  14. Iceland
  15. Latvia
  16. Lithuania
  17. Luxembourg
  18. Malta
  19. Netherlands
  20. Norway
  21. Poland
  22. Portugal
  23. Slovenia
  24. Spain
  25. Slovakia
  26. Sweden

 

rome-italy-schengen-visa

Rome, Italy

What do you need to apply?

The documents and other essentials that you’ll need will depend on the country that you’re applying to (make sure to check ahead of time), but all basic Schengen applications require the following:

  1. A valid S.A passport (not older than 10 years, with at least 3 months of validity left of it after your RETURN date to S.A.)
  2. Two blank consecutive pages in your passport
  3. Two passport photographs
  4. A Schengen application form
  5. Flight tickets to and from your locations
  6. Proof of accomodation
  7. Travel itinerary
  8. Travel insurance
  9. Personal bank statements
  10. Copies of previous Schengen visas (if applicable).

 

Where to apply?

Well, which country are you going to visit? If it’s just one, then you need to apply to that country’s consulate/embassy.

If, however, you’re planning on visiting more than one country, apply at the country’s consulate/embassy that you’ll be spending the majority of your time in.

Alternatively, if you’re planning on spending an equal amount of time in each of these countries, then it would be best to apply for your Schengen visa with the country that you’ll visit first.

 

When should you apply?

Ideally, at least 4 weeks before your trip is scheduled. Please note that you should not apply more than 3 months ahead of time.

 

How long is it valid for?

Your Schengen visa will be valid for up to 90 days, and you can make use of it over a period of six months. If, however, you’ve applied for a multiple entry Schengen visa, you may leave and return over the period of six months, but your combined stay must still not be more than 90 days.

 

What about payment?

At present, the price of a Schengen visa is 60 EUR (about R935) for a short stay of less than 90 days. You will need to pay upfront, and unfortunately, there is no refund if your application is rejected.

 

Will I need to make an appointment?

If all goes well with your application up until this point, you will then be called in to do your face-to-face interview at the Schengen country’s embassy or consulate. During your interview, you will also have your fingerprints taken.

 

How long does it take?

At the least, it takes about 10 working days from the day you apply until the day that it will be ready for collection/delivery.

 

prague-czech-republic-schengen-visa

Prague, Czech Republic

And you’re good to go!

When everything is ready, you’ll be notified via SMS or email and you can either pick your visa documents up, have it couriered to your home/office (have your South African I.D at hand), or have it picked up at the embassy by your appointed representative (with a copy of your I.D, their I.D and a letter of consent).

 

All you have to do now is make sure to pack your camera in, sunscreen (or ice boots!) and get ready for a Euro-trip of a lifetime. Make sure to tag us in your pictures of the Colosseum in Italy, Seville Cathedral in Spain, Prague Castle in Czech Republic, and more!

 

*The visa information on this page is not guaranteed. While every effort is made to keep information as fresh as possible, Travelstart takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted. Please make sure to check visa requirements with the relevant embassies.*

Our Readers Comments

  1. The Spanish embassy now require 15 days, actually 16 days as the application date does not apply. Although I had 15 days to departure when I applied today, they would not accept my application and made me change my flights, costing me more than R10 00 as I could not get discounted flights?

  2. You left out Norway and included Bulgaria. Norway is Schengen but Bulgaria is not.

    You must have bookings for every night you stay in a Schengen country or a letter from the person where you will stay. There is a 4 page check list you must complete before you are approved. All airline tickets and internal travel in Europe are required. See Copago website.

    • Hi Alta,

      Thanks for getting in touch and thanks so much for pointing this out. I will pass this onto our content writer to update the Blog.

  3. The worst is that if you live in a city that doesn’t have an Embassy – the cost becomes extremely high – especially if you travel with a family – to me it’s a money making racket – daylight robbery – and almost feels like we in SA are criminals that we have to apply for a visa which is just a piece of paper at the end of the day. Are we lower human beings than other nations that don’t need it? What has SA done that is so bad?

    • Stephen I feel the same.they do make you feel like criminals.I applied 3 times and was refused .and its not R950 as mentioned. ..R2600 and if you re-apply you have to pay again .This was so traumatic for me…and all I wanted as a 62 yr old, that worked hard all my life to follow my dream….and im going to say it was the GREEK EMBASSY that did this to me….its really not fair…to deprive people to have their dream…then they wanna say go see Europe. I Think its not only a money making racket…

  4. You left out the following:
    * Full round trip flight reservation
    * Proof of sufficient funds (no cash) for duration of stay
    * mployment letter cofirming position and leave approval
    * Copy of Hotel Reservations, etc
    * Photograph not older than 3 months

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