If you are a South African visiting Spain, either for a short holiday or to live and work here long-term, there are a number of legal requirements that you must adhere to before entering the country.
For Europeans visiting Spain things are a lot easier, but for South Africans there are a few more hoops to jump through before you can legally enter the country. Read on to learn about the travel documents and visas you will need to present on entry.
If you are planning to visit Spain from South Africa you will need to have a valid passport or travel document. The passport or document must have been issued within the past 10 years and will also need to be valid for at least 3 months from your date of exit and return to South Africa.
South Africans Will Need A Valid Visa
Citizens who currently reside within any EU Member State do not require a Visa, but if you are from outside of the EU, you will need to obtain one before entry can be granted into Spain.
When it comes to visas, you have two main options and the one you apply for will depend on the reason for your visit and how long you intend to stay. The visa you apply for will be either a short-stay visa, also known as a 'Schengen Visa' or a Long Term Visa.
Foreigners who have a valid visa issued by another Schengen State may travel through the territory of any other Schengen country for a maximum of 90 days within any 180-day period, on the condition that they are in possession of a valid passport or travel document and that they can justify the purpose of their visit.
Short Stay Schengen Visa
If you do not intend to stay in Spain for any longer than 90 days within any 180 day period, you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa.
The Schengen area is made up of 26 EU member countries that have all agreed to allow the free movement of individuals within this area and so acts like a single country with limited borders and border control.
A Schengen visa will permit you to travel within the current 26 member countries, which include Austria, Belgium, Czech-Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Note that there are a number of countries, which are not a part of the of Schengen area such as the UK and also Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Cyprus and Ireland who are currently in the process of joining.
It's important to know that the short-term Schengen visa does NOT entitle you to work in Spain. If you intend to work you will need a Long-Term visa.
Also be advised that although you are free to travel within the Schengen area under the Schengen agreement, it is at the sole discretion of the border controls within each country as to whether you are allowed entry or not.
Along with a valid passport and visa, you may also be asked to prove that you have financial means to support yourself for the duration of your visit and that you are not a threat to public health, public order or national security. You must not appear on any national list for refusal of entry into the member state.
The official Ministry of Foreign Affairs website states that to enter Spain from South Africa, you will need to have sufficient funds available to cover you during your stay. This equates to at least €73.59 per person per day with a minimum of €661.50 or the equivalent in another currency.
You will also need to be in possession of a return or round-trip ticket, booking confirmation for your accommodation during your visit and if staying with a friend or family member a letter of invitation from the private individual which will need to be issued by the Police Station corresponding to their place of residence.
Which Country to Apply to
If you are only visiting Spain you will need to apply for your Schengen visa via BLS International who current provide the processing of visas to South Africans wishing to visit Spain.
If you plan on visiting a number of the Schengen countries, maybe for business purposes, you will need to apply to the country that you will spending the most time in. If you are staying in a few Schengen countries for an equal amount of time, it is advisable to apply to the one you will be entering first.
Applying for a Schengen Visa
As of 17th of December 2017, Schengen Visa applications are currently being processed by BLS International. You can visit their site at https://sa.blsspainvisa.com/index.php
They have two centers, one in Pretoria and one in Cape Town. You will need to make an appointment online via the website above to process your application in person.
The two offices can be found at:-
Spain Visa Application Center
1st Floor, Block B, North Park, Black River Park,
2 Fir Street, Observatory, Western Cape,
Cape Town, 7925, South Africa
Tel: +021 003 8050
Spain Visa Application Center
Regus Lakeview, Ground Floor Lakeview Building
1277 Mike Crawford Avenue
Centurion, 0157, South Africa
Note that you can apply up to 90 days prior to your visit with applications submitted no less than 15 days prior to your date of travel.
In order to obtain your visa you will need to make an appointment at either of the BLS International offices above.
For a full list of required supporting documentation please see the page at https://sa.blsspainvisa.com/short_term_visa.php
The visa application form may also be downloaded via the page above.
The current fees for the Schengen Visa applications are:-
A long-term visa entitles the holder to reside and if required work in Spain. They also permit a holder to study or to undertake research. All foreigners who wish to enter Spain to reside need to obtain this form of visa unless they are currently citizens of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.
The application forms for the long-term visa can be obtained from the following web address or directly at one of the Spanish consulates or diplomatic missions in South Africa.
All applications must be filed in person at one of the consulates or diplomatic missions, however, if you are unable to do it in person, an authorised representative may do it for you. You will need to demonstrate why you are unable to make an appointment personally such as distance from the consulate, travel difficulties or due to health reasons.
The current visa application fee is €60.00 per application. Fees will not be refunded if an application is denied.
Applications usually take around one month to complete and must be collected in person within one month of issue.
You will be notified once the process has been completed to find out if you application has been successful.
The main Embassy and Consulates can be found at:-
Spanish Embassy Pretoria
Lord Charles Complex
337 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
(+27) 12 460 01 23
Spanish Consulate Cape Town
37 Shortmarket Street
Cape Town 8001
Tel: (+27) 21 422 24 15
Spanish Consulate Johannesburg
7 Coronation Street
(+27) 11 783 2046