New Schengen visa restrictions on SA citizens

Are you a South African hoping to travel to Europe any time soon? Well, you better plan your visa application way in advance from now on – and I mean way in advance. It recently became apparent that a new system will be put in place which requires that biometric data become part of the Schengen visa application process.

iAfrica reported that the European Union plans to introduce its Visa Information System (VIS) in Southern Africa very soon. This means that you will now be required to appear at the embassy in person  to apply for your visa to enable the collection of your own unique biometric data.

So what if you are in Cape Town and the embassy is in Pretoria? Well, sorry for you pal. You might now have to factor in some addition costs – yes on top of the R800 you are already paying for the visa – for travelling to apply for your visa. As if we didn’t have it hard enough with visas already, hey?

This will apply to all foreign passport holders when applying for short-stay travel visas for relevant Schengen states. Yet, once your data has been captured by the relevant embassy, such as fingerprints and digital photo, personal visits luckily won’t be necessary any more. So this will pretty much be a once off procedure.

This system is already in place in west, central and north Africa as well as in the east and Gulf region.

Our Readers Comments

  1. Hi,

    I am a South African living and working in Ireland, i have a work permit for Ireland however no VISA. I want to travel through Europe. How do i get a Schengen VISA without going back to South Africa?

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you would need to contact the Embassy in Ireland of the country you are wanting to travel too. They will advise on what documents are required, correct procedures to follow and the cost.

  2. Hi Karen

    My daughter is going to study in the UK (Scotland) and leaves on Thursday ie 4 working days time. Her UK study visa has still not been returned. She wanted to apply for a Schengen visa before she leaves as well (and has all the supporting docs, trip booked etc). But I am worried if she applies (if her passport is returned to her on Monday from the UK embassy) it will not be returned in time for her flight. Can you advise, as a South African, without UK permanent residence, is she able to apply for a Schengen visa in the UK? I think it may be safer for her to wait and do it once she is over there, but have heard you cannot do this unless you have been resident in the UK for 4 years. Can you confirm if this is true? Can you also advise where this application can be done eg is it possible in Edinburgh, or does one need to go to London?

    • Hi Nicky,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this query you would need to contact the Embassy of the country your daughter is wanting to apply for a Schengen visa. They will be able to advise if it is possible or not as they are the ones who specialize in this area and are granting the visa’s.

  3. I am a SA citizen and am planning a trip to Europe in May 2017 with a friend.
    Is there anything special I need to be aware of to qualify for a VISA
    Also, if we have a Visiting Friends visa, must the friends accompany us through out our trip. They live in Netherlands, but we want to see a bit more of Europe.

    • Hi Erika,

      thanks for contacting us.

      For any visa queries you need to contact the Embassy direct they will be able to advise you on what documents are required, cost involved and correct procedures to follow.

      When you are in Europe your friends do not need to accompany you around on your travels.

  4. Hi i am a south African citizin and are planning to go to london on a holiday visa the 3rd of july 2016, i want to go look for a job there whilst visiting family, as i understand the visa restrictions of a holiday visa for the uk, they wont allow me to apply for a working permit while still in the uk. my question is: would i be able to apply for a work permit whilst on a holiday visa but apply from Netherlands, if i stay there with some friends during the application time? anyone who can help me, it would really be appreciated ASAP

    • Hi Chantel,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      I’m afraid we do not specialize in this area (work visa’s) for this you will need to contact the Embassy direct or official visa handling agency.

      They will be able to give the most up to date information.

  5. Hi there.

    I will be going to the UK for 3months on a multi C-visit visa and I wanted to know if it would be possible to apply for a Schengen visa in the UK with my SA passport. I’m planning to go to Milan after the UK.

    • Hi Sean,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      For this you would need to contact the Italian Embassy direct or official visa handling agency Capago they would be able to provide you with the most up to date information.

  6. Hi, I wanted to know how much is a visa to France ?

  7. I have a multi entry Schengen visa issued by the Spanish Embassy. However, I would like to first travel to the Netherlands, before entering Spain. Is this allowed?

    • Hi Sally, yes this should be possible if they’ve given you a multiple entry visa, it would help if you show that you’re still going to Spain when you enter the Netherlands though and make sure that you don’t arrive in the Schengen Area before or depart it after your visa’s validity dates.

  8. Hi im a south african visiting dublin for 8 days , i ve decided to stay for 2 months and write my book while im there how do i do that or how much do i need if so can i show immigration the funds i have to support me while im there in a form of a bank statement pls reply asap, many thanks

    • Hi Phumeza,

      Thanks for contacting us.

      This information should be used as a guide only. Please confirm requirements with the consulate or embassy.

      No visas are required by South African passport holders if visiting Southern Ireland but they must be in possession of a full valid passport.

      If travelling to Northern Ireland, a visa is required as it is part of the United Kingdom.

      The passenger should be in possession of proof of accommodation, proof of sufficient funds and a letter from employer stating that passenger is returning to their job in SA. The valid passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months before the date of return.
      NOTE: It is up to each visitor to satisfy the Irish immigration authorities at the port of entry that they have sufficient funds to cover their expenses for the duration of their visit. A visa is required if travelling to Northern Ireland as it is part of the UK.

      If you are traveling to Southern Ireland you will need to contact the issuing authority and see how long you can stay without a visa and the daily funds needed.

      Embassy of Ireland
      2nd Floor
      Parkdev Bulding
      Brooklyn Bridge Office Park
      570 Fehrsen Street
      Brooklyn 0181
      Tel: (012) 452 1000
      Consular hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1300

      Forms can be downloaded off the website

  9. Do I need a schengeng visa if travelling from south africa to Zurich

    • Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Yes Switzerland is part of the Schengen state so you will need to apply for a Schengen visa for you to enter Switzerland.

  10. Hi,

    Do SA passport holders wanting to work in Holland need special permits as well?


    • Hi Neil,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Yes Holland is part of the Schengen states and a South African passport holder will need to obtain a work visa for Holland should they wish to work there.

  11. Hi

    Is it still the case the a South African passport must be valid for three months after returning from a Schengen state? I am going on an organised tour of Croatia and Solvenia. I have applied for a new passport three times since January 2015, and the application has gotten lost every time. (I am lost as to how to solve this problem!)

    Anyway, my current passport is only valid for two months after my return. I this rule set in stone?

    Kind regards

    • Hi Christine,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months from date of return from your trip.

      You will need to follow up with Home Affairs to see as to what is happening as only they have access to their records and what has happened with your passport application.

      Best of Luck!

  12. can you apply for a Schengen visa in Port Elizabeth to visit France?
    How long does it take?

    • Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I am not sure about this. I would suggest you contact the Embassy and they will be able to assist with any query you might have.

      a) French Consulate-General:
      191 Jan Smuts Ave, 3rd Floor, Standard Bank Bldg Corner Jan Smuts & 7th Ave, Rosebank,
      Johannesburg 2001.
      PO Box 1027, Parklands 2121
      Tel: 011 778 5600


      b) French Consulate:
      1 Dean Street (78 Queen Victoria Street)
      Gardens, Cape Town
      PO Box 1702, Cape Town, 8000
      Tel: 021 4231575

  13. I am a South African in Florida at the moment, can I apply for a French Visa here? Do I have to go all the way back to SA to do this?

    • Hi Shaun, that will depend on the type of visa you’re in the US on. If it’s a normal visitors visa you will definitely need to come back to SA in order to apply for a visa. If it’s any other type of visa, you may need to contact the consulate in Miami to find out if you can apply from the US: or 305 403 4150

  14. I need a Greek visa as I am visiting Greece in October will this visa cover my transit visa if this is necessary in Frankfurt and Zurich ? Where do I get the application form for Greek visa I have south African passport?

    • Hello Eve, You will not need a transit visa for Zurich or Frankfurt as they also fall under the Schengen Visa. You will need to appear in person for this visa. You will be able to find all the contact details and everything else that is needed for your application here: If you need any further assistance or would like to speak to one of our agents you can contact us on 0861 878 278/+2721-468-4300. I hope this helps 🙂

  15. I am a south African citizen and I would like to know if it is possible for me to apply UK Visa while I am in Paris or do I have to go back to my country to apply for the UK Visa?

  16. Hi, does your SA passport have to be valid for 6 months after return in order to be granted a British and Schengen visa for holiday? How readily available are appointments and how quickly are Visas being processed in Pretoria? Will actual Euro and Pound notes be accepted as proof of finances?

  17. am staying at mpumalang at Nelspruit/mbombela.i need to know which document that I have need when I need a visa to Italy.and I ned to know that can the person I visit to can he do for me the medical insurance at Italy so he can send it to me with email is fine or not? and how much the visa when I go to Italy for 4 august till 19 days?and if you do for me the medical insurance how much?i have 25 years old thank you

  18. Hi,

    I have a dilemma please can you assist me.

    My fiance recently got a new position and need to go to France for training for a year and i will accompany him. His company will cover all is expenses (accomodation, food ect) but i will be on solely on his expenses because i am final year masters student and have little income. Can he deposit a lump sum into my current bank account and use that as proof of sufficient funds?

    He will also provide all relevant documents that i will be his full reponsibility and that he will be my sponsor for the trip.

    Many Thanks


  19. Hi

    How long does it to take a shengen visa, as I have had to send my passport in for renewal and have been told it can take 12 to 16 week,as I’m currently living in the UK, but wanting to meet family in Ital at the beginning of July.

  20. Hi there,

    I am a South African student studying my masters in London, but the second semester of the course takes place in London. How do I go about applying for a Schengen (to study and work afterwards) for France, from London? I have googled it but am struggling to find information, especially on the French Embassy site for the UK. Thanks so much.

    • There are my passport agencies who helps traveler to issue schengen is one of the best agency – who will solve any visal related matter in uk.

  21. Hi – I need urgent advice regarding German Schengen Visa’s, regulations and options. I am currently on holiday (on Schengen 86day Visa) in Germany, and I have (to be blatant) fallen in love with someone. Due to varying work schedules, the easiest thing for me is to make the move as the other person has assets, properties, etc. I have obtained a work contract with a company here, and the paperwork is being finalised. My problem is, obtaining a work permit (according to Visalink) takes 2-3 months? I simply can’t imagine us being apart for 3months while I wait for the outcome. Thus, can I head back to SA as planned at the end of this holiday Visa, submit all documents and applications for the Work Permit, also apply for a new Holiday Visa immediately? Is there a waiting period between these Visa’s? Finances are luckily not a problem, and I am lucky enough to be able to do this while I wait for the outcome of my Working Permit. What are my chances of getting these Holiday Visa’s back to back? Also, do the Work Permit’s really take 2-3 months, and if so, is there no way that I can start the procedure (with my fully endorsed and backed German contract) while I am here? Any advice on my situation would be highly appreciated.

  22. If I already have insurance with full cover from my Medical Aid and have included the cost of insurance cover for my trip from UK to Netherlands where I will only be for 4 days with family, is it really necessary for me to have this? Particularly as I am fully covered by 2 parties for this trip/stay I don’t believe I have any further need for this. I also find it is an extremely large amount to have to pay over and above the visa expenses when it is not a necessary requirement.

  23. Hi
    I currently live in Germany and have a South African passport but need a shengen visa to travel to Turkey. Is there any way to apply for a visa from Germany?

  24. Hi. I have recently been granted an ancestral visa for Britain and thus need to stay there for at least five years. During my time there I would like to travel to the Shengen visa countries but at this stage do not have any specific dates, times etc. Is it possible to obtain an open Shengen visa. Your assistance will be much appreciated.

  25. I live in Johannesburg, have a South African passport and want to go on holiday to Milan, Italy for 2 weeks, in 10 days time! Is it possible for me to obtain a Schengen visa within that time? Also, do I HAVE TO buy the expensive health insurance quoted on one website, which seems unaffordable for me? Lastly, do I have to have an invitation letter from my daughter with whom I’ll be staying? Thank you so much.

    • I want to visit london or abu dhabi in October 2015. How much would the visa cost me and what else would I need in order to get the UK visa. How long does it take to obtain these visas?

    • Hi Busi,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      A general UK tourist visa for a South African passport holder would cost roughly R1550.

      Prices could have since changed, so I would recommend you check visa costs on the following website.

      Visa applications are processed within 10 – 15 working days, keeping in mind every city is different. Some might take longer. The link provided above gives the most up to date information.

      You are welcome to contact the British consultant for any further information and they will be able to advise accordingly.

      British Consulate in Cape Town
      Address: 15th Floor Southern Life Centre 8 Riebeeck Street , 8001 Cape Town
      Tel: 27 (0) 21 405 2400

      British Consulate in Pretoria
      Address: 255 Hill Street, Arcadia, 2 Pretoria
      Tel: 27 (0) 12 421 7500
      Fax: 27 (0) 12 421 7555

      Any information with regards to a visa to Abu Dhabi you welcome to go onto the following website for all information and to apply for a visa

      or contact them on:

      +27 11 783 0410 / +27 11 783 1941 (JOHANNESBURG) +27 21 423 6573 (CAPE TOWN), +27 31 584 7153 (DURBAN)

      Best of Luck!

  26. Hello!

    I am a South African living and working in south Korea at the moment. I was hoping to head to France for holiday in June. With this new law I am guessing this would be impossible? :-(…please tell me I am wrong!

  27. Can u please advice thanks

  28. Can u please advice to travel to france , portugal and greece and ireland and london in 1 trip what visas would I need

  29. I have tried to complete the online (Visa4uk) application but even though I type in ‘Divorced’ there is a page that requires all info including residential address etc for my ex-husband, which I don’t have and as far as I am concerned, is irrelevant.

    Can’t get past this page to complete my application.

    Can you advise please?

    Many thanks

  30. good day I need assistance to obtain a schengen visa for myself, my wife & 2 childern for the december holidays
    going to the UK, Hollland, Paris & also Scotland

  31. good day I need assistance regarding visas for myself, my wife & my 2 children
    we want to visit the UK, Scotland, Paris & Holland in december
    ashraaf, thanx

  32. Hi, I need some advice for my South African friend coming to visit me in Belgium. What are the first steps to take?

  33. i just want to know where are your offices in Port Elizabeth thanks a lot

  34. need to go join a ship in turkey

  35. Hello..
    i have just been advised about the new procedure of the VISA application and i am in Durban which means i have to go to JHB to get mine.What i need to know is once i am at your offices how long is the new VISA app procedure takes before i get my visa.


    • I live in Mthatha, Eastern Cape, and I will be travelling to Italy, France, and Spain end January 2014. Where and how do I apply for my Schengen Visa?

  36. My mom and I hold Thai passports and not a permanent resident yet but have lived in Cape Town. We would like to go to europe and would like to know if we can apply for Schengen visa here. How long does it take and what documents do they need from us. Will your travel agent do the visa for us if we buy the tour from you? By the way I do have bank account and assets in SA. One more question, my mom got visa on arrival ( one month as they stamped on my mom passport) when she arrived in cape town in April, then I did extended stay for my mom and got 4 months visitor visa and will be expired on 10 Sep 2013. Question is my mom has to go back to Thailand or my mom can go somewhere else like Europe and come back to Sa again. Please let me know ASAP so that I can book the tour for me and my mom for my bday in Sep.

  37. This is already in place and it only takes a few minutes, the appointments are relatively easy to get as well, I filled out the forms and had an appointment on the next day, luckily I was traveling to Italy and had the bio matrix done in durban, other states have the offices in Gauteng

  38. Do you have offices in Durban that would assist in the application

    If so can i have their contact numbers

    Thank you

  39. As a South African passport holder living in the UK, I can confirm that this is ALREADY in place – no Schengan Visa will be issued without Biometric Data being taken and it has to be done in person every time unless it is a repeat Visa for a country that you have already had biometrics taken for.

    But that said, if you have all the supporting documentation that they ask for and apply as soon as you know your travel dates and have booked tickets then its pretty straight forward.

    • Hi Karen,

      You seem pretty well clued up, could you offer me some help please?


    • I am able to get to Pretoria with ease and am travelling on a South African passport. I am going to the UK before visiting the Netherlands during my trip. My passport is presently with the British Embassy as I a awaiting confirmation of that visa. Until then I am unable to see the Dutch Embassy and leave Johannesburg on 27 January 2014. Even if I am able to apply/pay/request they do my visa within as short a time as possible and get it back to me ASAP, do you think there is still the chance of me getting it sorted out on time?

    • Hello Karen, I have been living in the UK for 2 years, and am only due to renew my visa, for a remain to stay in April. We are planning to go on a cruise for about 10 days, 12th Feb. Where do I apply for a visa, and do I for see problems, due to the fact that I don’t have permanet residence yet?

    • Hey guys,

      I have a dilema, My visa expires in April. I need to know if I can travel to the UK and apply for a new one once my Visa is about to expire, lets say a week before the expiry date. I know that i can’t be granted a new visa until my current has expired. My other option is to go back to SA and cancel the visa and then applying for a new one. Does anyone have any advise on the topic?

    • Hi Karen, my wife and i are planing to travel to france and uk in OCT this year, what visa do i go for the nornal or schengen visa.. plse assist, what is the difference between the two visa’s

Comments are closed.