How to visa?!

If only travelling was as easy as buying a plane ticket, getting on plane and having the time of your life. Unfortunately our fortune has not been dealt that way. Visas rule the world! Visas do not discriminate, they are unforgiving and ruthless beings.

Should this be what stops South Africans from travelling near and far? Most definitely  not! There are numerous articles on countries South Africans can visit without a visa which is fantastic and all but what if you want to go to a country that you need a visa for?

Do not fear the unknown, I have a compiled a list of a few countries I know South Africans absolutely love and how one would go about getting a visa for these dream destinations:

Egypt

Did some one say Pyramids of Giza? yes please! You do need a visa but it is purely just an administrative process. No costs involved and only 5 days to process. They are pretty helpful when you phone as well if you don’t believe me.

Website: http://www.mfa.gov.eg/english/embassies/egyptian_embassy_south%20africa/contactus/pages/default.aspx

Tel: +27 12 343 1590

Address: 270 Bourke Street, Muckleneuk, Pretoria (literally just put in Egypt embassy and problem solved)

Email: egyptconsul.sa@gmail.com

Docs you need:

  • Application form (Nothing useful on the website but if you email them they will send you a better quality one with all the details).
  • Flight ticket.
  • Proof of accommodation / Itinerary if you are on a tour (I recommend a tour for newbies, things can get rough out there).
  • 3 month bank statements (They need to know you have money coming in to fund your little adventure).
  • 2 normal size ID photos.
  • 2 photo copies of your passport + your passport (This will be handed in and returned once you get the visa).

 

  Japan

Definitely not the cheapest place to fly to but a popular destination for South Africans. The visa process is pretty simple and only takes 2 days to process.

Website: http://www.za.emb-japan.go.jp/itprtop_en/index.html

Tel: +27 (0)12 452 1500

Address: 259 Baines St, Cnr Frans Oerder St,
Groenkloof, Pretoria

Docs you need:

  • Itinerary for your stay. This is easy if you on a tour but if you not you just need to say what your plan is and have booking confirmation of where you will be staying.
  • Flight ticket, this is pretty standard for every visa application. If they don’t want flight details it is questionable.
  • Bank letter proving you have sufficient funds (So you need three months bank statement is what they are trying to say).
  • Application form with a photo stuck on. Not normal passport sizes photos, they are a bit bigger. Be specific with your requirements when getting them done. (+-R45 at Postnet).
  • This visa will set you back R305.

Vietnam

http://www.vietnam.co.za/index.php/travel/travel-advice

Address: 87 Brooks St., Brooklyn, Pretoria

Tel: +27 (0)12 362 8119

Email: embassy@vietnam.co.za

Docs you need:

  • All cards on the table this visa is going to set you back R900, which is steep but I believe completely worth it. If you looking for a cultural high this is the place to be.
  • A passport valid for at least 6 months, again pretty standard even for countries you do not need a visa for you will need a valid passport.
  • Travel insurance (Rookie error is to not buy your flight ticket with a credit card where you get automatic travel insurance.) If you must buy it, you looking at about R1000 – R1500.
  • Flight ticket, as Vietnam is an up and coming destination flights are still pricey but I think under R7500 is definitely possible!
  • Itinerary for the trip.
  • Application form that you can get from the website with a photo glued on (never stapled).
  • Hand that all in to a little house in Pretoria with minimal security and a week later you have a visa.

 

Shengen Visa

This is by far the most popular visa applied for in South Africa. Most European countries will require it. Negative is that it is expensive positive is that one little visa gets you access to most of Europe. To be exact:

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So there is not one Shengen embassy that has a sole purpose  of providing visas. The rule of thumb is that you apply for the visa with the country you will be staying the longest in. Going to four countries and you will be exactly 2 days in each country? Then it will be the first country you visit. Each country will not be exactly the same but as you can see above “same same but different”. I have attached the standard application form, an example of a letter of authorisation (if you cannot make it and will be sending a representative) and thank you to the Germans, I have also attached their check list which should be standard for everyone. From the countries I checked this visa will set you back 60Euros (R840 depending on the day).

UK Visa

https://www.gov.uk/standard-visitor-visa

This can get confusing because there seems to be a lot of websites that want to do it and try provide info but does not match the previous 10 websites swearing by their information as well. The website above will give you exact info and does not beat around the bush! The process is all online as you can see below and it will cost 87 Pounds (1300 depending on the day). There are visa centres in Durban, CT, PE and Pretoria. I have attached a document with the requirements, don’t stress only 7 pages long.

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So with 196 countries to chose from I could write a book on visas but I have selected a few I have or know someone with personal experience with these visas to provide the best info. If I had to give 5 main things to take from this post is:

Tip 1

When searching for the correct website always search “Insert country” embassy it will give you the official page and not companies providing a visa application service.

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Tip 2

Even if you think you know, you do not. Always phone/email first to confirm the required documents, if you need an appointment and price.

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Tip 3

Most visa centres take applications in the morning and do collections in the afternoon. They are very strict when it comes to this. Get there at 16:05 I dare you, they feel no pity.

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Tip 4

No point having bank statements if you have no money to support yourself. They do not always advertise how much you need to have (India = min R5000). Always confirm with them. If you are saving up and are not quite there yet you can use someone’s bank statement and state that person will be your sponsor.

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Tip 5

Most places do not take too long if you are a last minute type of person but you can apply up to 3 months in advance if you over eager. A month is the safe zone, gives you time to get your documents in order and some room for error.

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All this must seem like missions but it really is not too bad. There is a big sense of achievement getting that SMS saying your visa is complete and of course mega exciting to get your passport back with a new visa confirming your next trip.

Please fill me in on your visa experiences and any tips that have helped you in the past. If there is a country you have your eye on and not too sure how to go about it please let me know and I will try my best to help!

Applications documents that can help

Example of power of attorney

Shengen Document check list

Shengen application form

UK Visa requirements

Japan visa application form

The TravelBug 🙂

 

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