Schengen Visas for South African's: Tips on how to complete a successful application

Updated: May 22, 2019



Applying for Schengen Visas are annoying. Luckily our applications for a Schengen Visa for Iceland are now submitted and we are waiting for the Visa’s. We did have a few issues with the application and documentation because none of the sites I read explained this completely.

And lucky for you, I am here to help.

The application requires that you provide a full itinerary with confirmation of all accommodation and flights. This is not a problem if you are staying in one place and use it as a base to explore. We are doing a 10-day road trip in Iceland meaning every night we are sleeping in a different place, also meaning we do not really know where exactly we will find ourselves at the end of each day. How do you know how much time you are going to spend in a certain place?

But...we had no choice: I consulted, or rather poured over our trusty go-to guide, the Lonely Planet Iceland Travel Guide (you can buy it from Lonely Planet (GBP 15.99) directly or Takelot.com (R 402). We use these books for all our trips as it is as comprehensive as you can get. It took me weeks to read and identify each place we want to visit; how far it is from the next place; how long it will take to get there.

*If you are planning to make a trip to Iceland, you can contact me for some info or help with your itinerary – my head is crammed full of information on attractions and locations.

Schengen Visa Requirements

Regardless of the Schengen country you intend to visit, all Schengen Visa applications require the following documents:


* Completed Visa Application form

* 2 passport photos

* Copy of return flights confirmation or reservation

* Proof of booked accommodation for the duration of your stay in the Schengen area

* Letter of Employment from your employer

* 3 months bank statements, stamped by the bank.

* International Travel Insurance for Schengen countries.



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Notes:

You have to submit proof of all flights and accommodation, a letter from your employer stating that you will return to work upon your return (because apparently everyone wants to live/stay in European countries after their travels), and 3 months bank statements indicating that you have enough money to travel.

All the websites say that you need 2 passport photos but they only attached one to our application forms – take 2 just in case.

* Note that the following process was for our Iceland visas, however, all Schengen application processes are the same, except the country embassy you need to apply through.


For Iceland visa’s you have to apply through the Danish Embassy in Cape Town, Durban or Pretoria. All applications are processed by the Pretoria Embassy. A company called VFS-Global handles all their applications. If you apply in Cape Town or Durban, the applications are couriered to Pretoria. Our visa’s cost R 870 pp, and an admin and courier fee is added and had to be paid upon application, the total amount to pay was R 1440 pp – take that into account.

You have to make an appointment with the application center to apply, you cannot just rock up. You can do it online at http://www.vfsglobal-denmark.com/southafrica/.

You can apply 90 days before your departure but it usually takes 15 days for the application to be processed and for you to receive your passport back. Beware though, if there are any issues, it will take longer.

Their online tracking system is not so great. Courier companies’ or the post office tracking system is better than this one. Ours showed only that it was forwarded and in processing in Durban. Even the call center said it was still processing even when we already received it. If you have not received it after 16 working days, call the call center and they can start an investigation into the reasons for the delay.

Application form:

1. Even if you attach a list of all the hotels with their addresses to the application, you still have to complete and enter the application form with at least one of the hotel’s names and addresses, get an email address if possible as well. I had just attached a list and wrote “see attachment” on the form. This was not accepted.

Supporting Documentation:

2. Accommodation: If one person is booking rooms for 2 or more people, especially through Booking.com (get 10% cashback on your trip!) or Agoda.com, only that person’s name is on the booking confirmation. If you cannot enter all the names, this “principal booker” has to write a letter for the other people to attach to their packs stating that they will also be staying at the same accommodation. The nice lady at the Embassy just gave me a paper to write this out, but here is an example for you to use...for free!

3. 3 months bank statements: These have to be stamped by the bank. Statements printed from your online banking site are not accepted without a stamp, AND the bank does not stamp these unless they are printed from the online banking terminal inside the bank branch. We had to go to the bank whilst they were busy with our application. Up-to-date statements from our bank costs R13 per page, so be sure to budget for that – ours were 4 pages each. I am seriously considering changing to receive my bank statements in the post, because no one accepts your online statements anyway.

You can select to receive a sms (costing R20) when your visa and passport is ready for collection, or they can courier it to your home or office, at a charge, I am not sure how much, think R250 or something.

I hope this information helps you with your application.

Remember, you can contact us if you have any other questions. Good luck!




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