Travel

The cash passport.

You have booked your flight. Got your visa. Bags packed. Now what?

At this stage you are probably thinking of calling your bank to notify them of “irregularities” that will be taking place in your account because you will be swiping your life away and living your best life. Well, not exactly! In most cases, banks block your card if they see unusual activity on your account even if you notify them prior to your travel. Great banks will even inform you of what to do in order to avoid that but hey.

A cash passport is a method of banking almost anywhere around the world without using your official bank card but rather transferring your monies from your bank account to a temporary card which can be used anywhere in the world. You have access to a maximum of 4 currencies on your card which are transferable as you travel and as you shop- NICE RIGHT!

I am with FNB and they somehow offer the quickest process for the cash passport, however, I could not apply for mine in time. Did you know FNB charges you R70 a transaction outside the country? That is a lot of money! That is a cheap burger and drink.

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You are required to have a minimum of $100 which is about R1,500 to start using your card. You can also reload it anytime you want, online. This card is valid for 5 years and the currencies can be changed every time you travel so which means you don’t have to apply for another in order to have a different currency loaded.

Service providers to apply for your cash passport:

  • FNB
  • Standard Bank
  • Western Union
  • Educonnect
  • Travelex
  • ABSA

Ever used a cash passport card before? How did it go? How were the charges?

You may ask how this is different to any credit card like American Express-

Please comment with your thoughts in the comment section.

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Travel

Applying for a Schengen Visa- for South Africans

First rule of wanting to travel and not knowing how to start: NEVER feel embarrassed, shamed or sorry about things you don’t know. Traveling is about discovering things and you learn as you go. Countries are different, travel reasons are different and so documents needed for your Visa application are always different.

The only Visa I have done so far is a Schengen Visa under the friends and family visit category which I have no idea what number or visa type is formally know as in code. As long as you know what you are going to do wherever you are going, then you are on the right track! Before I discovered Visas and all this, I used to think a Visa looks like a card, like the kind of card we have now as a form of new card ID system. I would always wonder “Where do they stamp on the visa anyway?”. It never made sense but eventually you start the process and understand how it goes. So, take your time- it will feel overwhelming but it’s okay, just follow the rules and you will be fine. It will be over soon.

Schengen refers to the EU passport-free zone that covers most of the European countries. It’s the largest free travel area in the world.

A Schengen visa is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area, per stays up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes.

The Schengen visa is the most common visa for Europe. It enables its holder to enter, freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen Zone.

Visa terms

It is nice right! Just remember that, if you are planning to stay more than 90 days, you must apply for a national visa which has its own code and name. There is a third party institution that assists people with visa applications. Then there are people who assist other people in getting docs to apply for instance, people who don’t have time to search what needs to be submitted. So someone will do all that for you and tell you what you need to have. They schedule and appointment on your behalf and tell you when you need to go there and time. I however choose to do it by myself because there is no money for that and I do it through VFS Global South Africa

 

They take care of all the process and you pay them and they take care of everything. Remember you always need to schedule an appointment (you don’t just rock up) Schedule here and track your application online Track visa application. I am about to go for my Schengen Visa to visit my boyfriend in Europe and these are the documents I had to get:

  • Copy of ID
  • Passport (they will take this for your application so don’t freak out).
  • An invitation letter which the person you are visiting must fill up and get it stamped by his government and courier it if they are not with you. They can also do it in your country at their consulate (A fee applies) Invitation letter
  • If you are paying for your stay, a bank statement must accompany the docs.
  • A letter of employment in this case too.
  • Copy of flight reservation and medical insurance (these will show your travel dates and duration of stay).
  • A fee of R1065 at this moment will be charged (last time I paid R1400 and before that R700) It changes with country and other factors.

A lot of docs are needed but once you are done, it will take 5 days to process your visa and can choose to collect it at VFS Global or have it couriered to you at an extra charge. If you are struggling, just comment below and we can have a chat on your application. I am only familiar with Europe short stay visas by the way.

Whatever you do after your visa has been approved and you are living your best life in a different country, DO NOT OVERSTAY! You can get banned for a number of years, maybe 10.

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