Visa Applications for South Africans

As a resident of South Africa, you’ll often need a visa before travelling overseas. This blog post looks at the process of acquiring visas for the United Kingdom and Schengen areas, my experiences with them and finally, the places that you can travel to without a visa.

Schengen Visa

Check if your application needs to be made at the consulate or VFS Global. VFS is a private, outsourced company that has recently expanded to other African countries. When your application is ready, you hand it in to them (where it is checked very carefully so make sure all of your paperwork is in order) before being sent off the the consulate for processing.

You are required (in most cases) to show proof of travel, insurance and accommodation. It is nearly impossible to do this without actually booking it, so be prepared to book and pay before making your application. Important to note: Over and above the visa application fee, you will have to pay a hefty service fee.

The only positive aspect I found about this service was the ability to reschedule, cancel and make new appointments on the website.

It took 4 days for my visa to be processed and cost me R1434.

United Kingdom Visa

The United Kingdom has a website which you  can use to apply directly. It’s convenient, paperless and easy. You are not required to make any bookings before applying for the visa, but you are required to have valid reasons and formalised plans for your visit.

The application process in Johannesburg was straightforward and only took about 20 minutes in total.

I had preconceived ideas about this visa being a difficult one to obtain, however I was pleasantly mistaken. However, once an appointment is booked, it cannot be missed so be sure before selecting a date and time.

It took a total of 7 days from my appointment date to collection date and cost me R1653. 

Travel visa-free

Visit this link to view some of the countries that South Africans can travel to without a visa.

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