I am a South African Citizen in the theatre industry. I am travelling to London next week for work (all visas for that are sorted). I need to apply for a Schengen visa to perform in Italy in three weeks time. I am coming back to South Africa after London, then need to make my way to Italy. Can I do my Schengen visa application for Italy from London? Where would I do it, at the Italian Embassy? It would need to be returned by the time I leave london - i.e. processed in a week. How viable is this?
It seems difficult, for two reasons:
- You are supposed to apply for Schengen visas at the consulate covering your usual place of residence. The relevant regulation does however allow this requirement to be waived provided you have a good justification so maybe arguing that your theatre schedule prevents you from applying in South Africa would be enough.
- Processing time is certainly not guaranteed to be under a week, IIRC Schengen countries strive for 15 days and if it's the first time you apply, you will probably need to appear in person and have your biometrics taken. If there is no issue with your application (all documents are there, etc.), they are not too busy and you do get a timely appointment, some consulates do sometimes issue visas in a couple of days so it could still work but that's a lot of “ifs”.
Note that if they decline to process your application because you are not a resident, you should in principle be informed quickly and get a refund so there is not much to loose in trying. But if they do process it and just happen to take 10 days, you won't know it before it's too late for you and you will have paid the fee for nothing.
Unfortunately for you, the Italian consulate in London requires applicants to go through a “Visa application center” outsourced to VFS. They tend to add delays more than anything and will probably start by complaining about the fact you are not a resident (they do list it as a requirement) and the unusual purpose of the trip instead of forwarding the application to the consulate so it makes it even less likely for you to manage to get a visa in a week.