South Africans wanting to travel to the EU, may face more stringent requirements and longer turnaround times when applying for a Schengen visa. For some countries within the EU, including Spain, conditions have recently been tightened. High-risk nations, such as South Africa are facing stricter visa restrictions in countries such as Spain because of the introduction of a new visa facilitation company.
BLS International Services have taken over from VFS Visa and Permit Facilitation Centre, and with this, have imposed additional requirements in keeping with their own high standards of visa facilitation. In Spain, turnaround time has also increased due to specific documents needing authorisation by the Spanish police.
South Africa has a high level of fraudulent visas and false identities which has caused many governments within the EU to impose more stringent checks to ensure that documents are screened more thoroughly.
Visa-free travel for South Africans is still under discussion, but with the risk involved, most of the 26 Schengen countries will require a Schengen visa or similar type of visa for South Africans who want to travel to the EU.
The 26 countries currently within the Schengen area 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.