Schengen Visa Requirements for South African Citizens

The Schengen visa application requires you to assemble several documents. If you submit all the correct documents as per the embassy or visa centre’s instructions, you’re more likely to receive your Schengen visa without a hitch. So, please pay attention to the document checklist below and how to prepare your documents for a Schengen visa application in South Africa.

What Documents Do I Need for a Schengen Visa From South Africa?

You must prepare these documents for your Schengen visa from South Africa:

  • Application form. You must fill out the Schengen visa application form with all your information and required data. You can usually find a copy of the form at any of the websites of the visa centres or embassies in South Africa, download the form, fill it out, and sign it.
  • Your South African passport (original plus a copy). You must provide your original South African passport along with a copy of your passport, which must have a three-month validity period from the date you leave the Schengen area. Your passport must also contain two blank pages and have been issued in the last 10 years.
  • Identity photographs. You must submit two identity photographs following the Schengen visa photo guidelines; the photos must have been taken in the last six months. Please note that the number of photographs changes depending on which country you apply for the Schengen visa.
  • Civil status certificate. Please provide civil status documents such as birth certificate, marriage certificate, family certificate, or death certificate (if applicable).
  • Proof of accommodation. You must submit proof of hotel bookings/reservations, Airbnb reservations, or proof that you will stay with a family member or friend.
  • Round-trip Flight Itinerary. A booked flight reservation from South Africa to the EU and back. If you take any internal flights, you will have to include those tickets too.
  • Travel health insurance. You must also provide a travel health insurance certificate that meets the requirements of the Schengen travel insurance guidelines. You need medical coverage of EUR 30,000 (equivalent to R 542,794.46 as of January 2023) for any unexpected illnesses or injuries.
  • Proof of paid visa fee. You must also include the receipt proving you have paid the required visa fee; otherwise, your application will not be processed.
  • Cover letter. You may also be required to submit a cover letter for your Schengen visa application in South Africa. The cover letter must contain information about why you are applying for a visa, what you plan to do during your stay, how long you will stay in the Schengen Area, etc.
  • Copies of previous Schengen visas (if applicable). If you obtained a Schengen visa before applying for a new visa, you must submit copies of those previous permits.
  • Birth certificate and proof of parental consent (if applicable). In cases where minors are applying for a Schengen visa, the application package must also contain their birth certificate and parental consent for travel if they travel alone or with only one parent/legal guardian. Please note that for minors, the application form must be signed by both parents/legal guardians (one is acceptable if extenuating circumstances apply).
  • Proof of enough financial means. To obtain your Schengen visa, you must submit original copies of your bank account statements showing transactions in the last three to six months and the account balance or proof of regular income. Depending on your employment status, you also need to submit the following documents:
    • If employed:
      • An employment contract and certificate of annual leave from the employer.
    • If self-employed/freelancer:
      • Business license (if applicable).
      • Business bank statements.
    • If a student:
      • Certificate of registration at University, school, or college.
      • Your student ID card, a copy of the registration certificate from the faculty signed and stamped by the university, and your grades transcript.
      • Evidence of financial stability of your parents.
      • Proof of employment contract or proof of enough financial resources for your stay.
    • If retired:
      • Bank statement showing the pension received for the last six months.

>> How and Where to Apply for a Schengen Visa in South Africa?

What Supporting Documents Are Required for Different Schengen Visa Types From South Africa?

Short-term Schengen visas in South Africa are issued for different purposes, and depending on your application, you need to submit additional documents.

For a Visitor Visa

If a friend or relative is inviting you to visit them in any Schengen country, you must include the following documents with your application:

  • Invitation letter. You must submit an invitation letter from a friend or family inviting you to visit them. Your host or inviter must write the letter detailing your relationship and the reasons for the visit; they must sign their letter and provide personal inf”ormation, such as full name, address, and contact information. In the letter, your host must also state they will cover your expenses.
  • Guarantee form. Some embassies may ask you to submit a filled-out guarantee form which the embassy will provide for you. Your host must fill out the form, sign it, and give it to you so you can submit it with the rest of the documents. Depending on the country, you’ll come across different names for the form, such as “statement of liability”, “declaration of commitment”, etc.
  • Your host’s passport. Your host must also include their passport number and, if required, a copy of their passport.
  • Proof of your host’s residence permit (if applicable). If your host lives in the Schengen Area with a permanent residence permit, they may be required to submit a copy of their permit.
  • Proof of accommodation. If you’re staying with your host during your visit, some embassies may require them to submit proof of rental agreement or ownership of the property to verify your accommodation.

For a Tourist Visa

Passport holders of South Africa who want to visit Schengen/EU countries as a tourist need to apply for a tourist short-term visa. The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen visa for tourism purposes are:

  • Bank statement. Preferably for the last 6 months.
  • Affidavit of Support. In case one does not have a bank account or does not own enough funds to be taking care of their expenses during this travel, one must ask the visiting friends or relatives to sign an “official affidavit of support” at the corresponding office in his/her place of residence. Make sure you carry the original document when applying for the visa.
  • Travel Itinerary. The applicant’s description of their trip, the purpose of travelling, the time frame and all the personal date written down in a letter, as well as hotel reservations or a formal invitation letter from a resident of a Schengen country.

For a Medical Visa

When applying for a Schengen medical visa from South Africa, you must also prepare the following documents:

  • Medical certificate and a copy. You must provide a medical certificate from your doctor or hospital in South Africa verifying your need to seek medical attention in a Schengen country. The certificate must be translated from Afrikaans into English or in one of the official language of the Schengen country.
  • Treatment confirmation and a copy. You must submit a treatment confirmation from your doctor or hospital in your destination, Schengen. Additionally, it would be best if you had an appointment confirmation and an estimated time for the duration of your treatment.
  • Proof of financial means. If some of the costs have already been paid, you must submit proof of payment from the doctor/hospital in the Schengen country. If someone else will pay for your treatment, you must submit official proof attesting to financial sponsorship. If you have the means to cover your medical expenses, your bank balance needs to reflect that.

For a Business Visa

You need to submit a detailed letter of invitation from your host or the company you will be working with. The letter must include information about your inviter, including business details such as how long you have been working together, the purpose of the business trip, how long the trip will take, who will bear the financial responsibility, etc.

For a Journalist Visa

If you are visiting the Schengen area for journalistic activities or business related to journalism, you also need the following documents:

  • Confirmation from the employer/client or a posting letter detailing the nature of the journalistic trip.
  • A letter of invitation (if applicable).
  • Journalist ID card.

For a Cultural Exchange Visa

Depending on the reason why you are visiting the Schengen area for cultural exchange, you need to submit the following documents:

  • For artistic (musicians, writers, etc.) cultural and educational activities:
    • A written request or invitation from the company/organisation.
  • For participants in sports activities:
    • Additional health insurance covering sports activities.
    • Copies of all of the pages of the sports association registration card.
    • Invitation letter from the organising club or association in your destination Schengen country.
    • Letter of delegation from the sending organisation or sports association/club in South Africa.
    • Proof of paid fee for the sports event (if applicable).
  • For trade visitors and exhibitors:
    • Admission ticket to the trade fair (if applicable).
    • Trade fair and exhibition documentation and copy.
    • Certification from the fair trade organiser (if applicable).
  • For religious activities:
    • Letter of invitation (if applicable).
    • Event information (detailed program itinerary, length of stay, the reason for the event and your participation, etc.)
  • For film crew:
    • Letter of the film company, including shooting locations, film summary, and name.
    • Letter from the filmmaking agency in your destination Schengen country.
    • List all of the crew members who are travelling to the Schengen area.
    • A registration certificate as a filmmaker staff.
  • For internship:
    • Invitation letter and sponsorship and copy.
    • Internship contract and copy.

Other Travel Purposes

If the purpose of your visa is different from any of those listed above, then you should collect the additional documents listed below, according to your purpose of travelling to Europe.

When Travelling from South Africa to Europe for the Purpose of Studying

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen Student visa are:

  • Two application forms instead of one.
  • Letter of acceptance at an EU University/College/School.
  • Proof of financial means. Documents that show one is able to reside and financially maintain him/herself during their stay in the Schengen zone.

When Travelling from South Africa to Europe for the Purpose of Employment

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen Working visa are:

  • Two application forms instead of one.
  • Employment contract. A contract between the applicant and the future employer residing in the Schengen territory.

When Travelling from South Africa to Europe for the Purpose of Joining a Spouse Residing in EU

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen visa to join a Spouse residing in the EU are:

  • Two application forms instead of one.
  • The original certified copy of the marital certificate.
  • A copy of the spouse’s passport, if he/she is an EU citizen. If the spouse is not an EU citizen, but only lives in a Schengen country the copy of his/her residency permit is to be submitted as well.

When Travelling from South Africa to Europe for the Purpose of Participating in Cultural, Sports or Religious events in Europe

The additional required documents to obtain a Schengen visa for Cultural, Sports or Religious events are:

  • Event Information. I.e. invitation letters, entry tickets, enrollment conditions, detailed programme and other documents that present relevant information about the event.
  • Proof of previous performances. Participation in previous festivals and ceremonies (cultural, religious), sports competitions, winners certificates, proof of world/international ranking (sports).

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