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?

  • The website of the Italian consulate in London should have a list of requirements for applying for a visa from there listed. Does the list include a proof that you live in the UK?
    – DCTLib
    Oct 29, 2014 at 13:25
  • Are you sure you can perform on a Schengen visa? Wouldn't you need a separate authorization to work before you can apply for it?
    – Relaxed
    Oct 29, 2014 at 14:11
  • @GayotFow Yes, it is a requirement (with a small caveat), see expatriates.stackexchange.com/questions/3135/… for a full reference. Also there is no other visa for stays under three months in the Schengen area (well technically there are LTV and ATV but that's something else), my understanding is that you need a Schengen visa plus a separate authorization to work (and, in fact, you need to get this authorization before applying for the visa thus essentially adding the requirements usually attached to work visas).
    – Relaxed
    Oct 29, 2014 at 19:30
  • See also travel.stackexchange.com/questions/18478/…
    – Relaxed
    Oct 29, 2014 at 19:42
  • @Relaxed, the references you give are misinformed. 'Examined and decided' has nothing at all to do with where an app is submitted. It's inaccurate/misinformed. Call them and ask :)
    – Gayot Fow
    Oct 30, 2014 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


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.

  • @GayotFow No. In fact, requirements for a long-stay visa are up to each state so it's theoretically possible that some Schengen states do allow non-residents to apply for those whereas the Schengen regulation require visitors to apply for a Schengen visa from the consulate covering their place of residence and that rule holds for all Schengen member states.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 29, 2014 at 19:36
  • What is that supposed to mean? My point is merely that my answer is about the requirements for Schengen visas, which are defined in an EU regulation, whereas there is no such Europe-wide rules for “settlement” or long-stay visas. Do you know the rules from all 26 member states? I don't!
    – Relaxed
    Oct 30, 2014 at 8:57
  • @GayotFow That does not quite answer my question…
    – Relaxed
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:04
  • @GayotFow How come you make demonstrably inaccurate statements and use improper terminology, then?
    – Relaxed
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:25
  • How convenient. You deride my answers as “misinformed”, argue from authority (“I know the rules”), find disingenuous pretexts to ignore the evidence I provide and now that you are unable to back your claims, you feel attacked… If you want a more civil discussion, do provide verifiable references so I can amend my answer.
    – Relaxed
    Oct 30, 2014 at 11:43

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