VTT Postcard - For Anything Else, There's Visa

Monday, December 27, 2010
Another week of absence, another pre-post.

If you are taking a trip to Europe in the near future, you might wanna know what happens with visa applications and such.

It was kinda nerve-wrecking to apply for the visas for my trip. Always thought that something would happen and I would not get the visas I required. I had to apply for 2 visas, namely the UK (to let me into the UK) and the Schengen visa (to let me into all the other European countries).

For the UK visa, I had to set up an appointment online via their website. It was quick and easy. Payment can also be done online. The visa fee for a 6-month visa was GBP70. However, there was a lot of information that they required to accompany the application. I had to bring all the documents to the Johannesburg application centre (@Sandton City) and submit it in with my application. I was given a tracking number so that I could track the status online. It took them 2 weeks to issue me with the visa. I went back to the application centre to collect.

For the Schengen visa, it was slightly tricky. I had to determine where I was going to stay the longest and apply to that country’s consulate/embassy for the visa. In this case, I was staying in Italy the longest and so I submitted my application to the Italian Consulate in Johannesburg (@Houghton). The appointment for the visa was also done online except the payment could only be done at the consulate itself. The visa fee that was charged was roughly EUR52. I also had to bring in a lot of supporting documentation which they took in with my application. I was given a date to come back to collect my visa, which was roughly just over 2 weeks.

My applications were both done about 2 months apart. My trip was in December and I applied for the UK visa in August and the Schengen visa in October (you could only apply for this visa 6 weeks before your trip).

For interest's sake, my UK visa was valid for multiple entries for 6 months from date of issue. The Schengen visa was valid for multiple entries for 25 days from my date of expected departure.Important documents to take with to the embassy/consulate/application centre are:

Passport (most important)
Letter of employment
Insurance policy for trip
Hotel bookings/confirmation

There are obviously other documents the issuing authorities may require and so must be provided. For more information:

Visit the British Visa Application Website for Africa for more
Visit the Italian Consulate for Johannesburg for more

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