If you are thinking of visiting one of the many wonderful countries in Europe, you will need to look into whether you need to obtain a visa before travelling or not. Visas can sometimes be quite confusing.
Luckily, we are here to help.
Are you visiting the Schengen Zone?
First things first. You need to decide whether the country (or countries) you are visiting are part of the Schengen Zone. If you are visiting one or more of the countries which make up this zone then you need to just apply for just 1 visa, cleverly named the Schengen visa.
This visa will also allow you to pass between multiple countries within this zone without needing to apply for a new visa each time.
Here is a list of the countries that form the Schengen zone:
You can find out about a Schengen visa and how to apply for a Schengen visa in our article here: https://www.allianz-assistance.co.za/blogs/what-is-a-schengen-visa/
Please take note about the requirement for a specific type of travel health insurance policy that is needed when applying for a Schengen visa. We provide a Schengen specific travel health insurance policy which complies with all Schengen rules. Please visit here to find out more: https://www.allianz-assistance.co.za/travel-insurance-products/schengen-travel-insurance/
Non-Schengen Zone Country
If the country you are visiting is not on this list then you will need to check that countries’ visa entry requirements separately.
Surprisingly for some, the UK and Ireland are not part of the Schengen zone and therefore have separate information with regards to tourist visas.
United Kingdom: You will need a visa to enter the UK as a tourist. You may not apply more than 3 months before travelling. Once you are in the UK, there are no borders between England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, meaning you can travel freely between each country within the UK.
You can find more information and apply here.
Ireland: Good news, South African passport holders do not need to obtain a visa before visiting Ireland!
If you are planning to visit the UK and a country within the Schengen zone, you will need to obtain a visa with both the UK and the Schengen zone. This may be a little more work, but Europe is well worth it!