How to apply for a visa?
Submit your visa application at a mission or visa centre in person. An application cannot be sent by e-mail or telefax.
To apply for a visa you need the following
- The visa application form(layout.types.url.description) completed and signed
- One photograph
Include a colour photograph from which you are recognizable. Please visit the EU website (layout.types.url.description) (Opens New Window)for guidance.
- A passport
Make sure your passport is valid for at least three (3) months after the end of your intended travel and that it has been issued no later than ten (10) years ago.
- Travel insurance
Your travel insurance must be in force for the period of the validity of the applied visa and cover the entire Schengen area. The minimum coverage of the policy must be EUR 30,000 and the insurance must cover expenses arising from a sudden illness and accident (also the patient's repatriation) and repatriation expenses in case of death.
- Supporting documents
As the required appendices vary by country, contact the mission or visa center to make sure which ones you need. The mission may request that you append certain documents to the application to show the purpose, conditions and duration of the visit. Examples of such documents are tickets, a confirmation of hotel reservation, a private invitation letter and an official invitation.
The invitation is a free-form letter indicating the host organisation’s or private host’s contact details and the invited person's details, such as name, date of birth, address, passport number, and purpose and length of visit.
In case of a private visit, it is advisable to mention if your host is a friend or your spouse or relative. Please note that an invitation does not guarantee that a visa will be issued. The host’s wealth is not taken into account when the applicant’s economic situation in the home country is assessed (a business visit, for example, is an exception to this, because the applicant is not responsible for the travel costs).
In addition to the above, you may be asked to provide information concerning the itinerary, means of transport, return trip, financial means of support and assets and employment.
The applicant must have proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration and purpose of the stay and the cost of living in the country. In Finland a minimum of EUR 30 a day is required.
- Parental consent is required for minors
Unaccompanied minor children need a parental consent for their travel.
The mission may also ask you for a personal interview to find out about the purpose of your visit.
Processing time of the application
Submit your visa application at a mission of Finland or a visa centre no later than 15 days before travel. You may submit an application no more than six (6) months before the start of the intended visit.
The processing time can be longer if e.g. the central authorities of other Schengen states need to be consulted.
Required attachments to the application for a visa
In South Africa please see the website of VFS Global (layout.types.url.description)for more detailed information on required documents.