TNW pick of the week: Schengen visas: what you need to know 
10 Mon, Jun 2013 

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The new biometric requirements for Schengen visas led to confusion in the travel industry as European consulates prepared to make the move last week, implementing the new Visa Information System (VIS) requirements. 

TNW sheds some light on the new requirements that became compulsory for all Schengen visas from June 6.


All visa applicants now have to appear in person at the consulate or a visa application centre when lodging an application to provide their fingerprints. Once the biometric data are entered in the VIS, the applicant’s details will be stored for five years and a personal visit to the consulate may be waived.

The capturing of biometric information is intended to facilitate visa applications for frequent travellers and to enhance security. The VIS helps Schengen member states verify whether an applicant has used previous visas lawfully. With biometric data, a visa holder can easily be identified as the person who applied for the visa. 


The issue of digital photos required for the biometric visa has led to confusion among travel agents. Until now, all visa applicants have had to provide passport photographs that were then scanned on to their visas. From now, the visa officer will take the traveller’s picture using a digital camera. However, some consulates still require travellers to bring their own photos. 

Paul Cabane, associate director of Capago, says this is just a technicality and shouldn’t lead to confusion. “Either the picture is scanned according to OACI standards or it’s taken on site with an incorporated camera. In both cases, picture and fingerprints are compulsory.” 

Travellers are advised bring one recent passport photograph to their appointment, regardless of which consulate, in case a technical problem occurs.

Consulate or Visa Application Centre? 
The new biometric requirements have seen the Greek Consulate reaching out to VFS Global for the opening of Greek visa application centres in Johannesburg and in Durban. The new centres will accept visa applications for longer hours every weekday (except public holidays).

The Spanish Consulate has also announced the opening of a new Spanish VFS visa application centre in Durban in June to better accommodate visa applicants. 

Currently, Capago handles the visa processes for France, Italy and Malta. To facilitate the new process for travellers, Capago is looking into the possibility of extending its opening hours on Saturdays for business people and groups.

It is expected that more consulates will start operating visa application centres through VFS or Capago in the near future. TNW will keep you updated as and when this happens.


Although the travel industry has expressed concern that the new process will add to the time needed to lodge an application, various consulates have assured TNWthe new process is not expected to cause any delays. 

A spokesperson for the Austrian Embassy in Pretoria told TNW: “Though the new procedure has caused more work for the embassy (and VFS) staff, this does not affect the time it takes for the applicant to obtain a visa. The taking of the biometric data is a simple, quick and discreet procedure.”
Dan wil ek julle darem laat weet dat ek gister die Argus 109km fietsry toer gedoen het en klaargemaak! Ek was betreklik in my mmmmmmmmmm.............rrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! Maar ek mos net een keer , twee weke voor dit, op my fiets geklim. Wil volgende jaar dit weer doen en ek nooi julle (Leon, Michael, George, Alex, Steven, Wihan, en wie nog?) uit om in te skry en te kom ry. Dis iets onvergeetliks, al tjop jy af!!!!




Soos gisteraand vir jou gese – baie geluk!!! Die 109km is beslis die moeite werd en ‘n ongelooflike ervaring en ek dink dink elke ou moet dit ten minste een keer in sy/haar lewe beleef!!

Ek stem saam met jou... Volgende jaar moet die ouens afvlieg en dit saam kom ry.

Groete, sien later die week.


Klink na n plan, Dirk.

Sal jy net reel met die weer kantooer dat daar nie wind is nie?




Van Leon



Bloemhof Hoër Meisieskool

Die volgende Internasionale Skooltoer is om die draai vir die meisies van Bloemhof! Hulle vertrek 31 Maart na Europa op ‘n Kultuurtoer en besoek Nederland en Duitsland. Geniet die toer girls en bring baie foto’s terug. Ons sien saam met julle uit en weet dit gaan ‘n wonderlike Opvoedkundige Geleentheid wees!

Worcester Gymnasium

66 people from Worcester Gymnasium depart this coming holiday on a Hockey and Netball Sport Tour to Argentina. Go show them how we do it in South Africa! This will not only be a Sport Tour, but also a wonderful experience to Broaden their Horizons and See the World. The school is also planning a Culture and Academic Tour to Europe during March 2014. You rock Worcester Gym!

Westerford High School

Europe is waiting and March 27 is just around the corner! Travel and Sport is proud to send Westerford High School on this Academic Tour. Enjoy the tour and bring back many wonderful memories. Looking forward to see you on the airport!

Thanks to all our loyal travellers for adding us on Facebook.  "like" our page and see pictures from your recent tour!
Watch out for pictures from three of your staff members who will travel to Argentina in April!
Congratulations to Werner, Pamela and Adri!  Welcome to the team!
Morning all

Have a lovely day from Hello Egypt Tours and Egypt.

We are very proud and happy to be Egyptian

I cannot tell you how fast things are getting back to normal here. Life is really settling down. .

Also life around me came to a pretty normal pace chokingly fast (which is an indication that the Egyptian people are very keen to be back to normal).

The roads around Tahrer square are open and most of the touristic attractions opened again today and I am anticipating that all the touristic system will be back on Track.

Tomorrow we will send a love and peace message to all over the world from pyramids area hanging the Egyptian flag.

We are waiting for you to give you a wonderful experience of this great land.

This is NOT an Event for one day only, but it is an ongoing message which we hope you will pass onto family and friends a simple message: EGYPT IS SAFE...

Thank you for your support and care.

By the way sleeper train and sightseeing start working from today,

Have a wonderful day everyone

Kind regards

Mohamed Gad

Hello Egypt Tours

Noelene Mare en Joan Kock  will travel to Egypt from 15 to 23 Feb 2011.  Congratulations!!

Watch this space for pictures!

Your School Tour Specialist