Monday, 30 June 2014

South African Visa Requirements for Italy

Travelling overseas on a South African passport is sometimes a mission. You need visa's for most places and the Schengen Visa is one of the more tricky ones.

I applied for (and received) a business visa, you can see the list of things that I submitted below. I went through a company called Capago who gave me a list of documents I would need to submit. Once I had all my documents, I made an appointment at their Cape Town office. I chose the option that allowed me to get my passport photo taken in their Cape Town office, got the rest of my documents dropped off, had my fingerprints taken and then, about 2 weeks later, my visa was delivered to my place of work! (I chose the option for delivery).

So, if you're a South African travelling to Italy, here is the list of documents/information I submitted in order to get my business visa*:

  • Colour copy of my South African ID book.
  • 2 Colour Photographs - I used the option of getting my visa photograph taken at the Capago office. But you can also get these done at photo-stores or pharmacies, just tell them what visa you are applying for.
  • Colour copy of my South African passport. This needed to have at least 3 valid blank visa pages and be valid for at least 3 months after the date that I would return to South Africa.
  • Schengen Application Form, filled out.
  • Proof of Travel/Return - I used our flight bookings.
  • International Travel Insurance - after a bit of poking around, I was able to get an automated travel insurance sent to me, with all the correct information on it. It needed to cover a minimum of 30,000 Euro and the important thing that needed to be covered is repatriation, emergency in and out of hospital treatment, evacuation, medical transport.
  • Proof of Accommodation - they want proof for 100% of accommodation booked for the duration of your stay. Since I was sightseeing for 3 days after, I used the booking made at the hotel for the duration of the workshop as part of my proof. Then I made a booking on I just made sure that I made a booking that allowed me to cancel my booking with no cancellation fee (or no charge if I didn't show up).
  • Proof of Funds - I waited until I had been paid and then went to the bank to get my statements for the last 3 months. Apparently, you can't use statements older than 2 weeks in your application, so try to wait until the last minute before you get this. Another point is that you will need to have funds reflecting about R500-R1000 per day that you will be overseas for. 
  • Letter of Invitation from the Italian company we were being hosted by. This included:
    •  Details of the company I work for
    •  Details of the company hosting me
    •  The reason for my visit and dates of my visit
    •  My full name, passport number, South African ID Number
    •  My occupation, date of birth, home address
    •  My hosts full name, e-mail address, company name
    •  Hosts office telephone number, cell phone number
    •  Hosts office address and occupation.
  • Chamber of Commerce/Visura Camerale - this is the registration of your hosts company with the Italian Chamber of Commerce and needs to accompany all business visa applications.
  • Proof of Employment from my own company. This was a letter stating that I currently work for this company and that I will be returning to South Africa to resume my duties after the business trip. I included my ID and passport number. This letter needed to be signed by one of our directors.
  • Proof of Residence - I used a statement that gets posted to me every month from the agency that manages my flat in Benoni. I used the original copy (but made a copy of the original for my own personal records). Recent utility bill, bank statement or telephone account are the usual documents used as a proof of residence.
And there you have it - the list of documents* that allowed me to get my business visa. 

* This list worked for me. I would hope that it would work for you too. However, this is not an official list and I would strongly suggest talking to a visa-assist agency, travel agent or going to the relevant consulate web-site to get a comprehensive list of visa documents. 

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