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Belgium Schengen Visa for South African Citizens: Complete Guide for 2023
10 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Are you a South African citizen wanting to travel to Belgium and Europe? Your search ends here! We present a comprehensive, step-by-step manual for securing your Belgium Schengen Visa for 2023 as a South African citizen.

The process of visa application might seem challenging, but fear not! Our all-inclusive guide is crafted with beginners in mind, brimming with expert insights, to streamline your preparation for a delightful trip to Belgium from South Africa.

At iVisa, we're dedicated to making visa application processes as smooth as possible. Through our online platform, constructive suggestions, and user-friendly mobile app, your dream of wandering through Belgium's captivating landscapes and discovering its rich history is merely a few clicks away.

belgium bruge central

Do South African citizens need a Schengen Visa for Belgium?

Yes, South African citizens need a Schengen Visa to travel to Belgium. As part of the Schengen area, Belgium adheres to a unified visa policy for international travel. South Africa is on the list of countries whose citizens require a visa for entry.

What is a Belgium Schengen Visa for South African citizens?

A Belgium Schengen Visa for South African passport holders is a travel document that allows South Africans to enter Belgium and other countries in the Schengen area for a limited period. The Schengen Zone comprises 27 European countries, including Belgium, that have abolished passport control at their mutual borders.

The Belgium Schengen Visa grants South African citizens access to Belgium and the entire Schengen area, thus providing the opportunity to travel freely within these countries. This visa is primarily used for short stays, such as tourism, business trips, visiting family and friends, cultural or sports events, or transit through the Schengen area.

Remember that this visa does not grant the right to work or study in the Schengen area. A different type of visa or permit would be required for long-term stays, work, or study.

Benefits of a Belgium visa for South African citizens

Obtaining a Belgium Schengen Visa provides South African citizens with a variety of benefits:

1. Travel freedom within Schengen area: One of the key advantages of the Belgium Schengen Visa is that it permits free movement between the 27 countries in the Schengen area.

This means South Africans can visit not just Belgium but also popular destinations such as France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain, among others, without needing separate visas.

2. Flexibility: The Belgium Schengen Visa is not exclusively for tourism. It can also be used for other purposes such as business trips, visiting friends and relatives, participating in cultural or sports events, or even transiting through the countries in the Schengen area. This makes it a highly flexible option for South African travelers.

3. Validity: The typical validity of a Schengen Visa is 180 days, allowing stays up to 90 days per entry, and multiple-entry visas can also be issued. These allow travelers to enter and exit the Schengen area multiple times during the visa validity period, offering more flexibility for frequent travelers.

!Belgian Schengen Visa: Eligibility criteria for South African citizens

Before applying for a Belgium Schengen Visa, South Africans need to ensure they meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Purpose of visit: You must have a valid reason for your visit, such as tourism, business, studying, or visiting family or friends.

  • Valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your planned arrival date from the Schengen area.

  • Travel insurance: You need valid travel insurance covering up to €30,000 for medical emergencies or hospitalization in any Schengen country.

  • Proof of sufficient funds: You must demonstrate adequate funds to support yourself during your stay.

  • Proof of return: You must provide evidence that you intend to return to South Africa after your visit, like a return flight ticket or a letter from your employer.

  • Good health: You must be healthy and free of diseases that could risk public health.

By meeting these requirements, you'll be one step closer to getting your Belgium Schengen Visa and embarking on your European adventure.

How long can South African citizens stay in Belgium?

As mentioned, with a Schengen Visa, South African citizens can stay in Belgium and other Schengen countries for up to 90 days Per Entry within 180 days. This duration applies irrespective of whether the visa is a single-entry or multiple-entry type.

The Schengen Visa for Belgium can permit multiple entries, double entries, or a single entry, subject to the discretion of the Belgian authorities during the visa application procedure.

A Multiple Entry visa typically offers a flexible travel advantage. It allows the holder to enter and exit the Schengen area multiple times within its validity period, ranging from 180 days to 5 years after issued. Nonetheless, the total duration of stays in the Schengen area must be at most 90 days within 180 days.

The ultimate decision concerning the type of visa and its validity rests on various elements, including the applicant's travel history, the purpose of the visit, supporting documents, and the judgment made by the Belgian embassy or consulate managing the visa application.

belgium houses lake

How to apply for a Belgium visa in South Africa?

When applying for your Belgium visa in South Africa with us, you simply have to follow the steps below:

  • Step 1: Fill in your personal and travel details on our electronic visa application form or through our user-friendly app. Ensure all the information is correct to avoid any complications.

  • Step 2: Pay the iVisa service fee using any accepted payment method, such as a debit card, credit card, or PayPal. Note that the government visa fee will be paid during your interview.

  • Step 3: Complete the remaining sections of our simplified application form, following the step-by-step manual we sent you via email, and upload a scanned copy of your passport and a photo before submitting the information for expert review.

Once our team has reviewed your application and documents, we will send you the finalized form to sign. You'll also receive a checklist of documents to bring to the mandatory visa interview. Rest assured; we will arrange this interview appointment on your behalf.

  • Step 4: Attend the interview at the nearest Belgium Consulate, Embassy, or Visa Application Center (VAC). Remember to carry all the required documents, including the completed and signed application form.

Our straightforward process simplifies your Belgium Schengen Visa application, letting you focus on planning your exciting journey ahead

What is the cost of the Belgium Schengen Visa in South Africa?

The visa fees for the Belgium Visa are broken into two parts when you apply through us:

iVisa standard processing takes up to 30 days and costs USD $257.99 excluding the government fee. This fee covers full support from our experts and a step-by-step manual to help you complete the application form and prepare for your interview.

Government processing: The Belgian Immigration Office can take up to 60 days to decide, but it may take longer, depending on the situation. Applying for a Schengen Visa at least two months before your trip is recommended . The Belgium visa fee is about US$85 and must be paid directly to the government during your appointment (half-price for children between 6 and 12 and free for children under six).

You won’t need to pay the government fee if you are:

  • A child or a spouse of an EU citizen.

  • A student, pupil, or postgraduate student with educational or vocational purposes traveling with teachers.

  • Under 25 years old and a representative of a non-profit organization wishing to participate in seminars, conferences, sports, cultural, or educational events hosted by non-profit organizations.

Belgium Schengen Visa required documents for citizens of South Africa

To apply for a Belgium Schengen Visa, applicants need to provide the following documents:

  1. Visa application form: Completed and signed.

  2. Recent photos: Two recent passport-size photographs that meet the Schengen Visa photo criteria. Check our handy digital photo service to get one affordably and easily.

  3. Valid passport

  4. Travel medical insurance: Proof of a health insurance policy that covers the entire Schengen area with a minimum coverage of €30,000 for medical emergencies and repatriation for medical reasons.

  5. Cover letter: A letter explaining the purpose of the visit and the itinerary.

  6. Flight itinerary: Details of your round-trip flight bookings.

  7. Proof of accommodation: This could be a hotel reservation, a rental agreement, or a letter of invitation from a host residing in Belgium.

  8. Proof of financial means: Recent bank statements, proof of income, or a letter of sponsorship to show that you can cover your living and travel expenses during your stay.

Please note that additional documents, such as a marriage certificate, may be required depending on the specific type of visa you're applying for. All documents should be provided in English or accompanied by a certified translation.

Belgium Visa passport requirements

For your visa application, your passport must meet the following criteria:

  1. Issued within the last ten years.

  2. Have at least two blank pages.

  3. Remain valid for at least three months beyond your planned departure date from the Schengen area.

Belgium Visa photo requirements

The photographs you submit for a visa application must adhere to these guidelines:

  1. Photos should be recent (not older than six months).

  2. The size should be 35mm x 45mm.

  3. They should be taken against a plain, light-colored background.

  4. Your face should be visible and occupy 70-80% of the photo.

  5. You should have a neutral facial expression with both eyes open.

  6. Headgear is allowed only for religious reasons; even then, it must not cover the face.

You can get government-compliant passport photos online using our passport photo service.

Tips for a successful Belgium Schengen Visa application in South Africa

Applying for a Belgium Schengen Visa can seem like a daunting task, but with a few tips and tricks, you can navigate the process with ease and increase your chances of a successful application:

  • Start early: It's best to start the application process before your intended travel date. Starting early gives you ample time to gather all required documents and rectify potential issues.

  • Consistent travel itinerary: Your travel itinerary should be consistent with the details provided in your application, including the purpose of the visit and the duration of your stay.

  • Well-prepared for the interview: Preparing for the visa interview thoroughly is crucial. Remember that the visa officer is interested in knowing your genuine intention to visit Belgium and whether you'll return to South Africa after your trip.

  • Maintain a positive attitude: During the interview, maintain a positive and honest demeanor. Answer all questions to the best of your knowledge, and remember that the interview is just a standard part of the visa process.

  • Expert consultation: Our team of experts will guide you through the process, review your application, and improve your chances of visa approval.

Remember, each application is unique, and what worked for one applicant may not work for another.

Common reasons for Belgium Schengen Visa refusals in South Africa

While the Belgium Schengen Visa application process is straightforward, there are some common reasons for refusals that South African applicants should be aware of.

Providing incomplete or incorrect information can lead to visa refusal. Make sure your application and all supporting documents are complete and accurate. For example, applicants must demonstrate sufficient funds to support themselves during their stay. Failure to do so may result in visa rejection.

Additionally, it's mandatory to have travel insurance covering up to €30,000 for emergencies. Lack of valid insurance can be a reason for refusal.

Finally, if the purpose of your stay isn't clear or convincing, the embassy might reject your visa application. If you fail to provide strong evidence that you will return to South Africa after your visit, your application may be denied.

Awareness of these common pitfalls can help ensure your visa application is strong and complete.

My Belgium Schengen Visa was denied. What should I do?

If your Belgium Schengen Visa application was denied, it's natural to feel disappointed and uncertain about your next steps. We can help. Start with these steps to rectify the situation:

Understand the reasons for denial: When a Schengen Visa application is rejected, the Belgium embassy will provide a reason for the rejection. It is crucial to understand these reasons as they will guide your next steps.

Address the issues: Depending on the reasons for denial, you may need to provide additional documentation, modify your travel plans, or clarify information on your application.

Appeal the decision: If you believe the decision was made in error and you have substantial proof to counter the reasons provided for the denial, you have the right to appeal. The process and deadline for appeals vary, so you'll need to verify this information with the embassy.

Reapply for the visa: If the reasons for the denial are clear and unarguable, your best course of action is to correct the issues and reapply for the visa. Remember that you must pay the visa fee again when you reapply.

Remember, our team is always ready to assist you in understanding the application process and providing guidance on enhancing your chances of a successful visa application.

Need more information about the Belgium Schengen Visa?

If you need more info about traveling to Belgium, don't hesitate to contact our customer support team anytime via online chat or email at [email protected].

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