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South African Schengen visa questions
Nikki-lee Davis
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 3:18 PM
Joined: 12/01/2011
Posts: 2

Hello Everyone, I am here in antibes on a 3 month holiday Schengen visa with a South African passport. I am in need of help of what happens when i get a job on the yachts in how to change it to a working visa or the closest place to extend it. I have been told that if you obtain a Seaman's Book you can over stay your visa and when at the airport just produce your book to show u where at sea and not on land. Yet if i am a chef and need to get provisions from the market, I am on land and what if i get caught for some reason or the other, even though that is highly unlikely. I have been told that the captain often helps you too to get the visa all sorted if you wish to become permanent on the yacht if he is willing, but if he does not know how to do it i would like to be able to tell him. With the visa situation for South Africans one agent said to me I will never be employed or at least the last to be considered, is that really true? Even if i am a qualified chef that has worked in the industry for 5 years at reputable fine dining restaurants as well as a 5-star 5-diamond hotel in Aspen,CO and has been bought up on the water and on boats and watersports and jetski's etc. So Many question but I do know there are so many south Africans in the industry and so any help from any one would be great. Your Faithfully
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 3:44 PM
Joined: 23/10/2008
Posts: 1

Hi Nikki,
As a fellow sowt efriken, we have all been done the avenue of fear of employment because of the "green mamba" over shadowing our freedom of movement.
Do you have a crew book or Seaman's discharge book? A very useful piece of kit to have.
Yes in most cases if a Captain finds you suitable for a job or position they will make an effort to get you "legal".
Step one get a crew book, its a relatively uncomplicated process and it will make travel and working on boats a lot easier. In most cases you wont need to change from a tourist visa, provided the vessel you are working on is not a registered business in that country, for example an Italian flagged boat in Italy. If it is a red flaged vessel such as Guernsey it makes life a lot easier.
Hope this help, let me know if you need any other assistance,

Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 6:33 PM
Joined: 09/10/2008
Posts: 134

My information may be a bit out of date as this was several years ago, but my SA crew members who had seamen's books but no schengens were detained on board. No as dramatic as is sounds, but they were not even allowed ot take the garbage ashore.
Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2011 3:40 PM
Joined: 21/03/2011
Posts: 1

Geez, This all sounds daunting. My daughter has just completed her, Day Skippers, STCW95 and SPICE Courses in Durban and is about embark on this same dream. We have no clue how to put it into action either
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 9:52 AM
Joined: 29/03/2011
Posts: 2

Hi Tatty, My daughter did the same SPICE course etc. in Durban last year and is working on yachts in the Med. She is on a SA passport. The maximum visa they will give is a 3 month Schengen tourist visa and they aren't allowed to work with this. What you have to do is book a 3 month return ticket (that can be extended) and have proof of accommodation and funds for 3 months. Such an effort, we booked youth hostels that didn't need deposits etc. and then cancelled. She was lucky enough to get a job and then once she was employed, she got the boat papers to us in SA and we were able to apply for a Seaman's Book on her behalf here. Once her visa expired, she was legally allowed to be employed with her Seaman's Book. She was only allowed within a certain radius of the yacht when they were berthed. The boat went to Croatia and she had to fly back from there after 6 months on a transit visa that the yacht's agents arranged for her. She has just gone back to Med again for the season but managed to get a 5 day transit visa valid for a year because she has yacht registration papers and is on a crew list. This is also a little obscure because we're not sure how much time she can actually spend on land. It is all a bit daunting but a fantastic experience and well worth the effort, good luck!
Posted: Tuesday, March 29, 2011 8:52 PM
Joined: 22/03/2011
Posts: 1

Hi there Phil I'm also a South Africa citizen and just recently completed my STCW 95 course and ENG1 . About to do the same thing and travel to Antibes. So basically you just need a schegen visa to get there and once you find a job you can apply for a seamen book in SA, but where? And even if you find a job you still cant work or you just have to wait for the seamen book? To apply for a schegen visa you need to show them your accommodation and return flight? Cause I'm traveling by myself( whoever want to join or doing the same thing, i hate traveling alone ) so my parent are very worry, so i need to make sure about all this before my parent will allow me to apply or even get started. Sorry for the many question. Thanks
Posted: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 9:44 AM
Joined: 29/03/2011
Posts: 2

Hi, yes it's really confusing! You need to get there on a holiday visa, the validity of the visa will be for the dates that your air ticket shows. You have to show booked accommodation for the entire time and have proof of sufficient funds in your bank account for your stay. The yachts are employing South Africans on the holiday visa and once you are on a boat you are not technically in a Schengen country as long as the boat is not a registered business in that country. Once you are working on a boat, you can ask for the boat papers and proof that you are crew to get a Seaman's Book. They also need your STCW95 certificates. This can be applied for at SAMSA in South Africa. You would need someone in SA to do this on your behalf. You cannot get a Seaman's Book unless you are employed on a boat. If your visa expires while you are there, you can legally work with your Seaman's Book and get home on a transit visa. Hope this helps!
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 10:44 AM
I know exactly what a hassle it is to travel on a South African passport.I was in Antibes last year on a 3 month Shengen visa and the boats unfortunately did not want to employ me because of my visa that was expiring in the midst of the charter season.I also had a seamans book and they did'nt really bat an eyelid about that either.But anyway I am returning this year and was lucky enough to get a 6month Shengen visa(how,I don't know?) so here's hoping it helps me this time around.I went through an agency in JHB called Capago Ltd in the Sandton area,if this helps anyone out there? One has to also just do the best they can and hope for the best possible outcome.Everything is about timing.Good Luck to all of us!!!
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 12:43 PM
What the hell ... we now have parents writing onto Dockwalk about their precious pets' visas? OMG! Get a life people. Time to cut those apron strings. Can only imagine how useful your kids would be on board without their mummy. Really not trying to be harsh - it's the reality!
Posted: Friday, April 1, 2011 12:54 PM
yes, I must admit I was pretty shocked too about the whole parents organising visas and schooling for their 'children' - I want to employ someone that can take care of themselves!!!
Carmen Gracie
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 11:53 AM
Joined: 26/04/2011
Posts: 1

I'm in Antibes at the moment, and have been told that I need to try extend my visa before anyone will employ me. But we need to be employed before we can extend our visa's, am I correct? If anyone knows how we can go about overcoming these visa problems please let us know.
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 3:57 PM
I am in the same situation and done as much research on the subject as I could. A seaman's book can certainly help our situation but when leaving and re-entering the Schengen area after our visa has expired even with a seamans book can be risky. It pretty much depends on the customs agent that looks at your passport. I phoned the French embassy in SA and they said I must not over stay my visa period and if i do so I will be banned when i leave even if i have a seamans book. This would only apply if i came over on a 90 day holiday visa and not on a visa obtained with boat papers. The lady seemed to know the whole yachting situation and said most people come back to SA to reapply for a new visa once they get a job and you can get your visa within two days from your visa interview. This makes life a lot more difficult for us because after receiving a job offer we would have to tell the captain that we need to return home to get a new visa. But if the captain likes you and wants you on board this should not be a problem because you can be back in a few days. Good luck

Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 4:51 PM
as a RSA resident witha job on board I can provide the following points which 1 can take into account. - you cannot extend your visa at all, never mind whether you at home or in antibes. - 3 months 6 months or 1yr (in my case) visa ALL only allow you in the schengen area for 90 days. but the VALID dates are 3, 6, 12 months. - you will NEVER be given a visa longer than 90 days no matter what, the only thing you will get is a longer validity i.e: 6month, 12 or even 24 month valid visa all with only 90days allowed. -reason for above is if anyone wants to stay in schengen area for lomnger than 3 months should be applying for residency "carte de séjour " when you have your job you get your contract stcw's and seamans book all stamped and signed by boat and captain stating you are employed from x date within the expiration of your visa expiration and thus you are not using up your few 90 days which are so valuable as you are in actual fact in the land of the flag country. if you doing a delivery from RSA you can get a seamans book from SAMSA before you leave with boat papers. dont overstay your visa! not a good idea. there is also no difference between the holiday visa you get by applying through flights accomidation that you later cancel through youth hostels etc "fake holiday" and a visa you get with boat papers, they are BOTH type C holiday visa's its just 2 different ways for applyinf for the same thing, boat papers is going to get you the longer valid dates!!! Furthermore you are going to want a multiple entry visa as boats travel tovarious countries in the med like france spain italy etc, so if you stuck with (the types are as follows) a single entry schengen: eg 1 schengen counrty, a dual: 2 schengen countrys and finally a multiple entry: ALL SCHENGEN countries. if you plan on a "fake" holiday to gain the visa, best you include more than 2 countries as to better the chances of getting a multipl, entry. some people get 6m visa's cause either they are applying 2nd or 3rd time round or they applied with boat papers.
Posted: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 8:59 AM
Hi there.. I arrived in France on the 15 March 2011. I am currently working temporarily  on a vessel and have been since 25 April 2011. I have a 6 month valid multiple entry visa (90days) and I'm traveling back to south africa for a 24 day holiday before i return back to Europe (Germany) to join a newly built vessel..

I am afraid I have overstayed my visa time and will not be allowed back into Europe when I return. Does your 90days  stop when you join a vessel? When you leave Europe and return does your 90days start over? I have a seamans book with dates of when I joined my current vessel and a contract and boat papers for the new vessel I will be joining.

Is it easier to reapply for a 12 visa back home or should I wait and let the new vessels management take care of it??

Any help on this matter will be much appreciated

Posted: Monday, May 21, 2012 2:41 AM
Hi!, im in fort lauderdale. South African passport. and was wondering if there was ANY possible way to get a schengen visa without boat papers? going home is not an option for me right now. Im on B1B2. just triple checking to see if there is any way of getting this bad boy??