Final step in preparation - getting visas

After quite a time of little to do with regard to preparation for our trip, it is suddenly time to apply for our Schengen Visas.

All our hotel bills have been paid and accommodation confirmed so we can fill in the forms and make our appointment to submit them. We are so pleased that Visa Facilitation Services (VFS) now have application offices for a number of countries in Durban. This saves a trip to Pretoria, 600kms away and the costs of petrol and car wear and tear and accommodation. Going to Pretoria from Durban takes about 5-6 hours meaning that  one has to include at least one night’s accommodation. So we are quite happy to save this bit of money.

But then, there is still a charge for the visas themselves, for the VFS service and also for the delivery service and none of these is cheap. In total each of us has to pay approx. R1470 for our visas. We have found that the advice to make an appointment is worth the cost for this. In 2006, when we first applied for Schengen visas, we duly made the appointment and when we arrived at the German Consulate on the correct morning there was already a queue of about 6 people. This did not make my husband very happy until he found that those with appointments were seen first. We have booked our appointment for Tuesday morning 1 December which should give good time for the issuing of the visas.

This morning Trevor went to the bank and got the 3-month bank statements and a letter from the bank confirming that we have sufficient funds. Of course, we can spend the money before we leave but that is why a 3-month statement is required as it will show an overall spending pattern. This has left us one final task and that is to have the correctly sized and clarity for a photo of each of us.

We then went through the checklist to ensure that we have all the necessary paperwork such as passports, confirmation of accommodation, confirmation of travel eg Eurail pass, itinerary, insurance, etc. If we don’t have everything then the visa will not be issued but then we think of all the refugees and itinerants and are just amazed at how they seem to just filter in to the society.

Oh well, we will do everything correctly and trust that we will receive our visas in good time so that we can go on our trip of a lifetime. Soooooooo looking forward to it! Northern Lights here we come!!

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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