Over time it seems that two terms are quickly becoming dirty phrases, and even more so when they are combined: “Schengen Visa” & “South African Passport”. For those of us unlucky enough to possess only the unfortunate green book, we know all too well the mission it has become to get to Europe for any reason – increasingly too, we are being made to appear in person at consulates some of which are over 1000km away (if you live in Cape Town) to give biometric data or be interrogated by a self-important government official. Below is a brief summary of how things currently work at the various European consulates who are part of the Schengen agreement, sadly the information can go out of date within no time, so we still advise to fill out a visa inquiry form (Click here) for the most up-to-date expert info.
Some general rules of thumb for South African passport holders going to Schengen Europe:
- you can’t apply more than 3 months in advance for the visa
- you need a detailed daily itinerary
- you need decent travel insurance (the insurance we offer is more than sufficient)
- you need to have flight tickets to Europe
- you need to have enough money (as stipulated by the specific consulate) for the duration of your trip
- the maximum length of a visa granted is about 30 days, it may be longer, it may be shorter, this is up to the consulate you apply through
- you always apply through the country you are spending the longest time in on that trip, if you are spending equal time in more than one, the country you enter first issues the visa
- the visa costs 60 Euros payable in Rands to the embassy directly (check with them for their rate of exchange)
Available in Cape Town, Joburg and Durban, you have to apply in person at the following addresses, click the “VFS” link in each of them for the individual application centre’s website:
Office 504, 5th Floor, 47 On Strand
Strand Street, Cape Town
021 423 0233
Swift Center, 565 Corner of Peter Mokabe & Crescent Road
2nd Floor, Suite 8, Morningside Durban
031 207 6331
2nd Floor, South Block
Thrupps Centre, 204 Oxford Road, Sandton
011 268 2276
Available in Cape Town and Joburg only – you have to apply in person. The Belgian consulate accepts no cash payments of visa fees and provides bank details for a deposit of fees instead.
Cape Town consulate info, including contact details and application process. This consulate accepts no appointments for consultation and services customers on a first come, first served basis.
If you apply through the Johannesburg Consulate yourself, you will need to make an appointment by calling 082 828 0256 between 14:00 and 15:00 weekdays only.
Available in Pretoria ONLY – you’ll need to appear in person and you have to prepay for you visa by depositing money into their account. If you do not live in Gauteng, you may now apply through one of the following agency: Visas International. Click here for Visa information.
Available in Pretoria via VFS which costs an extra R250, at the Durban consulate (please make an appointment by calling 031 202-9396/7/8) and at the Cape Town consulate (no appointment necessary), the Danish Embassy no longer allows one to apply through visa agencies.
The Estonian Embassy won’t issue any visas in South Africa, you need to apply through the Swedish Embassy.
Available by appointment only in Johannesburg through Copago and Cape Town by calling 086 7 444 003 – you will need to appear in person to give biometric data. Be careful, waiting times for French visa appointments are often extremely long and consular officials are notoriously pedantic and unhelpful, you must have everything in the best order possible before submission.
Available in Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.
Durban: You need to apply through the consulate in Durban who forward your application to Pretoria (there is a charge for this) you must apply in person, unless you have visited the schengen area at least twice in the last two years.
Cape Town & Pretoria: you need to book an appointment online or by calling 0861 00 22 45 at a fee of R75 for an appointment should you not want to use a visa agency.
Available in Pretoria, Joburg, Durban & Cape Town – they should still allow you to apply through a visa agency. This is one of the easiest Embassies/Consulates to apply through.
Available in Pretoria only – applicants must appear in person unless they use an accredited agency. The Hungarian Embassy also issues visas for Latvia and Lithuania for South African Passport holders only.
Represented by Denmark
Available in Pretoria, Joburg and Cape Town – applicants must appear in person, individual consulates MAY waiver this depending on the distance the applicant lives from the respective consulate. Check out our specific Italian Schengen Visa blog post for more info.
Apply through Hungary Embassy.
Apply through Hungary Embassy.
Apply through Belgian Consulate.
Apply through the Italian Consulate.
Available in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town – applicants must apply in person for the visa unless they have visited the Netherlands in the last 3 years. Appointments must be made online unless the applicant is elderly and has no access to a computer where they must be made telephonically.
Available in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town – extra fees are levied for applicants applying through Durban (about R220) or Cape Town (about R300) for couriering. You can still apply through a visa agency.
Available in Pretoria – you can still apply through a visa agency if you live anywhere else in South Africa.
Available in Pretoria, Joburg and Cape Town – first time applicants must appear in person, for others it may still be okay to use a visa agency. Cape Town may insist you appear in person each time, unless you live far away – this is at their discretion.
Available in Pretoria only, you should still be able to use a visa agency for this application.
It may be possible to apply through German consulate.
Available in Pretoria and Cape Town, there are often delays in obtaining a visa through Spain, do applying in advance is strongly advised.
If you use the Pretoria consulate, it must be your closest consulate, you may appear in person or use a visa agency to do the application on your behalf.
If you use the Cape Town consulate, it must be your closest consulate, you must appear in person if you live within 400km of Cape Town and make an appointment to do so on (021) 422-2415. If you do not, you may apply through a 3rd party like a visa agency.
Available in Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town, those of us in Durban and Cape Town will need to pay extra courier fees (R300) as the visa is issued only in Pretoria, you should still be able to apply through an agency for this visa. The visa is not payable in cash for Sweden and money must be deposited into their account if you do the application yourself. Visa applications for Sweden are often delayed too so applying in advance is advised.
Available in Pretoria and Cape Town – applicants will likely have to apply in person and collect documents themselves, unless they have visited Switzerland in the last 2 years.
NB: Please bear in mind that this information above is for South African passport holders and is intended for blog and informational purposes only which acts as a rough guide. This information can change without any notice whatsoever. For precise and accurate information click here to fill out a visa inquiry form and speak to the experts.
The above information was updated as of 10 December 2010. If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below and we’ll see if we can answer them!
More Visa Posts
How to apply for a visa – Video
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