We’ve put together this article particularly for our South African travelers, to help with the travel planning process. Even if you’re not planning on traveling any time soon, this may be a helpful read.
If you’re anything like us; the dreaded word Visa comes across your screen, and your immediate reaction is: “Bleh.. Admin, what a hassle”. Visas may not be the most fun topic to chat about, we totally agree. However it will be super useful for you to have this knowledge in your back pocket, for the day you may need it, and if you love travel as much as we do, that day may be sooner than you think. Visas are not as scary as they appear to be and the whole process of obtaining a visa can be easy and painless if you follow the correct steps.
To touch on the actual Visa Process; Most Visa application procedures for the varying areas, be it the UK, USA, Australia and Schengen Zones are quite similar: complete an application form online, ensure that you have the correct supporting documentation and physically attend an “interview” at the embassy or the visa application center. The word interview is used very loosely, as this is rarely an official interview, but rather verification of your application form and supporting documentation. Upon conclusion of your interview your bio-metrics will be collected. Collection of bio-metrics in simple terms means; collection of finger prints and taking of your picture for identification purposes.
One can generally apply for Visas three months prior to your intended travel departure date. The best advise we can give; is to apply for your visa sooner rather than later. The last thing you’d want, is to have to cancel your dream trip, due to a delay with your visa processing. Being in the travel industry, we see this more often than not, unfortunately. Apply for your visa well in advance, this is an aspect you don’t want to take a risk on, it’s not worth the stress.
Having the correct documentation is an extremely important step in the visa application process. Having insufficient or incorrect supporting documentation could delay or even prevent your visa from being processed all-together. Almost all visa processing centers require that you have the following: proof of your travel plans; flights, accommodation, travel insurance and transfers, this proof can be in the form of valid travel vouchers or a valid travel itinerary, or even better; both. Then there are those times when your friends or family may host you for your overseas trip and you would need a sponsor letter from them; IE a letter as to where you will be staying, who will be sponsoring your travel expenses (accommodation, transfers etc) and the details of the person who will be hosting you. In addition to your travel documentation, you would need bank statements, indicating proof of sufficient funds in your personal bank account and proof of residential address in South Africa, no older than 3 months. The key here is.. more, bring along more documentation than you think may be necessary: you will never be penalized for having additional supporting documentation; employment contracts, letters from a university or school to indicate you are employed or enrolled, all things that prove that your intention is to come home to our lovely South Africa and not remain in the country of your application.
Visa requirements are constantly changing and being updated. Therefore it is each Traveler’s responsibility to ensure that they have read each country’s specific visa requirements online on their official website.
Travelcheck has partnered with a reputable Visa company, therefore if you do not feel 100% comfortable in doing your own Visa application, we will have a Visa Expert contact you and simply apply on your behalf and guide you through the process.
We hope the read was informative and we look forward to hearing your thoughts.