Is the number of days for a South African to get a visa to Sweden.
How many days does it take for a Swede to get a visa for South Africa?
Swedish passports are valued at fourth highest in the world, which means Swedes can travel to over 188 countries, including South Africa, visa-free. There are only 195 countries in the world.
The South African passport ranks 98th in the world, which means I can go to only 72 countries without a visa.
My name is Aldo Brincat. I am a South African and I am a featured artist in this year’s (x)sites Landart Residency.
As you might have guessed, my participation in this residency is significantly delayed due to visa protocol. In order for me to get a visa, and to arrive in Sweden on time for the beginning of the residency, I would have had to apply before I was even selected.
Because of the 45-day uncertainty regarding visa applications from South Africa, I have had to alter my flight ticket and travel insurance, at a further cost of SEK 2500.
My professional and personal life in South Africa also suffered greatly due to this uncertainty.
Did you know that all visa applications from South Africa are processed in another African country, Kenya, which is located three countries away from South Africa. In order to get a visa for Sweden, my passport is flown to another country, at my own risk.
I live in a country with the highest inequality levels in the world. This means the gap between rich (who are very rich), and poor (who are very poor) is extremely wide.
Not only that, our rich-poor divide in South Africa, is also racially aligned. So, if you are a white South African, chances are great that you are pretty well off. If you are a black South African, chances are great that you are having a tough time. (The fact that I can complain about the challenges of travelling to Sweden to participate in an art residency, is indicative of my privilege).
This divide in inequality is largely due to the lasting impact of our former regime’s apartheid policies, which were extremely divisive, corrupt and inhumane.
(Did you know: Sweden was the first country – back in the day – to denounce apartheid, the apartheid government, and all its manifestations; and for being the biggest financial supporter (80%) of the resistance movement against apartheid.)
Inequality, migration, and corruption has already begun to dominate global politics, and will climax in one way or another, within the next decade.
Travelling from Africa and other poor parts of the world will become increasingly difficult for us in the years to come – while, for those in wealthier countries, travelling to poorer parts of the world will become potentially more dangerous.
It is my view that passport rankings have little to do with the value of the passport itself, and more to do with the quality of life enjoyed within that country. If you are a rich, stable and peaceful country with lots of opportunities and high quality of life, chances are there are a lot of people in the world who want to escape their dire situations in order to experience what you have.
Countries are no longer simply place holders of cultural and traditional heritage. They are becoming hotels of safety and security. And, if the hotel you are living in is in poor shape, you will, for the sake of your children, try by all means get to one that’s better.
It’s only human.
As if visa matters are not complicated enough, there are now a growing number of visa-assist agencies across the world, who will handle all your visa applications for you. They position themselves between government policies and the traveller – for a fee, of course. These agencies are privately owned and, as such, profits are their highest priority. My visa application costs SEK 1900, non-refundable, and there is no guarantee I will be granted a visa.
Recently, one such agency in South Africa, closed its doors for the Christmas and New Year holidays. A total of 16 working days were lost. This has an enormous impact on people applying for all kinds of visas, not to mention dealing with the backlog of applications.
So, because of all this, I now arrive at the (X)sites Landart Residency in Uppsala, two days before it ends, to begin my month-long work. Please come back here, during this month and say, “Hej!” and come see how my art turned out.