Filipinos Guide on How to Apply for Schengen VISA
It has always been my dream to travel Europe whilst experiencing its beauty and rich history. Living in the Philippines, which is quite far away from Europe, I did not expect that it will only took almost 25 years of my life to finally realize that dream of mine. Well, I was expecting that it will take long considering the distance and the costs of travelling. Anyway, just this September of 2019, I was able to travel to two European countries, specifically Hungary and Italy. I would not have the opportunity to do so if only my brother was not in Europe. He recently graduated from his master course in one of the prominent universities in Budapest, Hungary, Corvinus University of Budapest. I attended his graduation in Hungary to show my utmost support and admiration in one of his greatest achievements in his life. And ofcourse, I did not waste the opportunity of touring around Budapest, Rome and the Vatican City. Well, of course, thanks to the Hungarian Consulate’s approval of my Schengen VISA, I was able to fulfill one of my dreams.
Is this your first time applying for a Schengen VISA?
What is a Schengen VISA?
A Schengen VISA is a document required to enter any of the following countries covered in the Schengen Area:
Austria,Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland
The Vatican City is a separate state from the countries mentioned above. However, you are able to enter the state if you are able to enter Italy. Thus, if you have a Schengen VISA, then you are definitely able to enter the Vatican City. Afterall, the only way to enter the Vatican City is through Italy.
What type of Schengen VISA should I apply?
Regardless if you are a Filipino or not, the types of Schengen VISA you are able to apply should be the same among all nationalities. The requirements for applying a Schengen VISA significantly depends on the type of VISA you are going to apply. Most of the requirements should be the same among all the types of VISA; however, a few VISA types would require more specific requirements. Well, for example, a business VISA might require a guarantee letter from your company. Or a VISA for visiting a family or friend might require a letter of sponsorship signed by the consul. Therefore, it is necessary that you know what type of VISA you are going to apply.
For example, if you are applying for a business VISA, you probably need to have a guarantee letter from the company. Or, if you are visiting a family or friend, then a letter of sponsorship signed by the consul might be required.
In my case, I was visiting Europe mainly for tourism and for my brother's graduation so I applied for a Tourist Schengen VISA.
When should I apply for Schengen VISA?
The recommended date of application for Schengen VISA should be 90 days before the date of travel. For Filipinos, it usually takes 15 business days or more to get approved so it is therefore necessary to apply for VISA at least 30 days before the date of travel. Although it is stated in the consul’s site that VISA approval may take 15 days, in my case, it took me 23 days to get my VISA approval. Thus, the earlier you apply for VISA, the better it is.
How to Apply for Schengen VISA in the Philippines?
Schengen VISA Application should be submitted to the consulate of the first Schengen Country you’ll be visiting in the period of your travel. If you are going to visit multiple countries covered in the Schengen Area, then you shall submit your application to the consulate of the country of your point of entry. In my case, I visited Hungary and Italy. My point of entry was Hungary so I applied for Schengen VISA in the Hungarian Consul. There are lots of consulates under the Schengen Area in the Philippines. You’ll just have to do a search in Google to find out where is the consul located in the country. The Hungarian Consul is located in Taguig, Metro Manila so I had to fly to Manila from Cebu just to submit my Schengen VISA Application.
An appointment to the consul must be booked in order to submit your Schengen VISA Application. You can view how to book an appointment to the consul by viewing their website. Once you have an appointment, prepare all the required documents you need to submit.
What are the Requirements for a Schengen VISA?
The requirements for your Schengen VISA application can be found in the consul’s website. They will also send it to you via email once your appointment has been confirmed. Anyway, here are the requirements:
1.) Schengen VISA Fee - EUR 60
2.) Duly signed VISA Application Form - The Schengen VISA Application form should be available in the consul's website.
3.) Letter describing the purpose of your travel - Make sure you thoroughly discuss, in the letter, your main intention of travelling in the Schengen Area. It should be accurate and precise. Let them know why you want to visit, which countries are you going to visit and how long are you going to stay in the Schengen Area.
4.) Passport with at least 3 months of validity after the intended date of departure from the Schengen Area and photocopies of passport pages with VISA
5.) Schengen Travel Medical Insurance - The policy should cover the entire period of your stay, valid for all Schengen states and must cover a minimum amount of EUR 30000. In my case, I applied for a Schengen Travel Medical Insurance online through AXA. They offer insurance at affordable rates. I definitely would recommend getting your travel medical insurance from AXA.
6.) Documents indicating the detailed itinerary - Create a detailed list of your travel plan. I recommend putting a list of the places where you are going to stay, the places you are going to visit, the activities you are going to do and the transportation means you are going to use in travelling between places in the entire period of your stay. Try researching the best places to visit in the country to give you an idea on what to write on your itinerary. If you’ve pre-booked travel experiences or activities like tours, you can find these activities from sites like Klook, then print out copies of your bookings as well.
7.) Documents in relation to accommodation - It is strongly recommended that you book an accommodation for your stay in the Schengen Area. Letting the consul know that you'll just be crashing on someone's place is a bad idea. Do online bookings or reservations for accommodations. You can try Booking.com to do online reservations without even having to pay anything.
8.) Proof of sufficient means of subsistence - Secure a bank certificate, bank history for at least 3 months, Certificate of Employment (indicating the starting date of employment, position, annual salary and leave approval), payslips for at least 3 months, income tax return, credit card statements, paypal statements for online jobs, etc. Submit anything that supports your financial capability. The consul needs to know that you are capable of financing yourself not only during your travel but also after your travel.
9.) Documents in relation to your company (for employed applicants) - Submit a copy of your company registration, tax return, company photo, google maps position.
10.) Simple round trip ticket reservation - It is strongly advised that you do not buy the ticket before approval of your Schengen VISA. However, if you are able to grab a budget ticket trip, then why not. You'll probably be able to save money if you buy a ticket earlier and get approved. But if you are not able to buy one, you can also submit a dummy flight ticket.
11.) Documents in relation to your purpose of travel - Are you travelling to visit someone for vacation? or travelling to visit an event, conference, or special gathering? Submit any documents that supports your purpose of travel. In my case, I was attending my brother's graduation so I submitted my brother's graduation invitation and certificate of completion.
What to do after your VISA Application?
Congratulations! You've just submitted your Schengen VISA Application. Should I start preparing for my trip? Well, yes, of course, you can. However, your Schengen VISA application is far from over yet. The consul will still have to decide if your Schengen VISA is approved or denied. So what are you going to do after your Schengen VISA application?
- Wait - The consul's website states that it takes about 15 business days to process your VISA so you'll just have to wait. As I've mentioned above, it took 23 days to get my Schengen VISA Approval.
- Follow-up - If its beyond 15 business days already, send an email to the consul. As usual, be polite as possible when contacting the consul. It generally takes them a bit long to process your Schengen VISA Application because they need to properly screen your application and also, you are not the only one applying for one.
- Hope - Just continue to be positive. For as long as you are able to submit valid and genuine documents, your application should get approved.
Were you approved? Or do you have Questions?
Please feel free to leave your questions, comments and experiences regarding your Schengen VISA Application in the comment section below.