How I got my Schengen Visa

Inked20171101 142014 LI 1 600x280 - How I got my Schengen Visa

Even though it would be my second time to apply for a Schengen visa, I was still doubtful whether to pursue it or not. My first Schengen visa application at The Netherlands embassy was sponsored by my company after all.  So, technically, this would be my first time to try applying this visa on my own. And my fear of rejection was real. You wouldn’t want to invest an amount of time and money for that visa stamp only to find out in the end that it was rejected. Due to this doubt, I had to move my scheduled trip from September to October, until finally November, since I cannot decide yet.

Although I have applied fearlessly quite a few visas in the past {Korean visa, Japanese visa, Taiwanese visa (when it was not yet visa-free for Filipinos) and Mexican visa}, Schengen visa seems to be very hard for me. At least, with what I have read so far in some websites. To add my doubt, it says in one source that it’s advisable to submit the application 3 months before the intended entry. And mine was only more than a month apart.

OVERCOMING FEAR

I was like crazy doing the same things all over again every month because I cannot help but be hesitant: rebooking hotels, changing flights and rearranging the itinerary. But I kept thinking, “No, I should push this. I want to see Europe before the year ends!” Then, I reflected. “This is a gamble anyway. You wouldn’t know unless you try.”

IMG 7700 - How I got my Schengen Visa

Finally, before embarking on my Japan vacation last September, I gathered all my documents and set an appointment online via VFS-Global. I chose the France embassy as I heard that it‘s one of the easiest consulates where to lodge your visa application. Furthermore, France was also one of the main countries in my Europe tour.

PREPARING THE REQUIREMENTS

At first, when I skimmed the requirements, I found them a bit overwhelming. However, after reviewing it further, I realized that it was almost the typical documents that I had prepared in my previous visa applications before. I should have mastered it already. This is the good thing. Submitting visa application is like facing a job interview. The more you are used to it, the more it becomes a walk in the park.

If you have seen the list of requirements that I noted from my previous posts, “How I got my Mexican visa or my Korean visa”, they are almost the same except for some few details. Here are the requirements I organized and some tips on where or how to get them:

  1. Signed and filled up Application form. (I got it at the VFS France office as the one I passed was not the updated one.)
  2. Passport with 3 months validity from the end of visa period.
  3. Cover letter indicating the purpose of your trip and itinerary.(Anna La Viajera Sample Itinerary)
  4. Round trip reservations. (I booked via Turkish Airlines website since it is free of reservation charges and is valid up to a week’s time)
  5. Hotel accommodation (I booked via Agoda with pay later option at no extra cost)
  6. Certificate of Employment (My COE only contained my monthly and yearly salary but did not state my approved leave of absence)
  7. Income Tax Return (An important file that I always keep every time I receive the updated one from my company)
  8. Bank Certification (My BPI bank easily issues them but with a fee of 100Php. Bank balance must at least be sufficient enough to cover you entire Europe trip)
  9. Travel Insurance covering your entire stay with minimum of 30K EUR (this is the prerequisite that I don’t normally avail. I got one though from Trawick International since it was the cheapest one I found online for as low as 15 EUR)
BEFORE GOING TO THE VISA CENTRE
  1. Booking an Appointment.

Now that I photocopied and printed all the necessary requirements, I right away booked an appointment through the VFS-Global website . After a few minutes, I received the Appointment confirmation which I printed to bring along with other documents at the reserved date.

 

  1. Checking the Centre address.

The address of the VFS France looked familiar. I think this was also the same building I went to when I applied a Schengen visa at The Netherlands Consulate. And I was right.

How to go to the VISA CENTRE
Alight at Magallanes station. Proceed to Alphaland Southgate Mall. On the side of Chino Roces avenue opposite the mall, there are jeepneys waiting with signs “DPC Extension Eco Plaza Mantrade” or “DPC”. Board one of these and inform the driver to drop you off at Eco Plaza which you will see on the left side of the road.

MAKATI

VFS Global Office Address:
France Visa Application Centre,
Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City
1231 Philippines

 

  1. Preparing the visa processing fee.

I made sure to bring enough money for the visa processing fee of 60 EUR and for other fees that they might charge.

 

AT THE VISA CENTRE
  1. Store my bag at the locker room area.
  2. Security check
  3. Got my token number and waited for my number to be called
  4. Passed my requirements at the submission counter
  5. Cashier counter advised me to pay the visa fee plus other service fees.
  6. Did the biometrics
  7. Got my bag back at the locker room area.
HOW MUCH DID I PAY?

Visa fee–  60 EUR/3,610 Php (based on the exchange rate at that day)

Logistics fee- 1,570Php (service charge for short stay application which means that they will process it in 5-15 working days)

Courier fee– 330Php (my passport will be delivered to my address within Metro Manila in 24-48 hours)

SMS Fee– 110Php (they will send a confirmation to both my phone and email for the application status)

Locker room rental– 75Php (so make sure you don’t bring bag except the papers with you so you won’t need to pay this)

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR THE RELEASE OF SCHENGEN VISA?

I got surprised when on the following day after I applied for the Schengen visa, my passport was already delivered at my doorsteps. Their application time is only from 7am to 2 pm, so my scheduled interview was at 9 am. Then, in the afternoon, I immediately received their text and email confirming the receipt of my documents by the France consulate. The next day in the morning, I got a text again from them stating that the passport will already be released on that day. It was fast actually.

Inked20171101 142014 LI 1 - How I got my Schengen Visa

 After all the doubts and hesitations at first, there you go, I got my Schengen visa in no time. Good thing, I gave it a try.

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Anna La Viajera
Anna is a travel buff, logophile, choreophile, an adventurous foodie & glossophilia.She loves writing, dancing, traveling & learning languages. She speaks more than 5 languages and have been to more than 20 countries so far. In her leisure time, she loves to listen to music, dance & try cooking.

23 comments

  • Helllo Anna,

    Did you apply especifically for a Multiple Entry or not? and How much would be a desirable salary and bank account statement? Also, how many days did you apply and what where the countries convered?

    Hoping a reply from you. Thank You

    Warm Regards,
    Emman

    • Hi Emman,

      Yes, I applied for multiple entries since I’ll travel to 12 European countries for a month.
      1. France
      2. Spain
      3. Portugal
      4. Greece
      5. Italy
      6. Vatican
      7. Andorra
      8. San marino
      9. Luxembourg
      10. Czech Republic
      11. Slovakia
      12. Germany

      • Aren’t all those countries covered by the Schengen visa?

        • yes, except Micro states like San marino, Vatican.

          • Then why did you have to apply for a multiple entry visa? A single entry would do as far as I know… as long as you don’t leave the Schengen territories.

          • just to let you know, i had plans to visit microstate nations such as MOnaco, San Marino and Andorra which are not part of Schengen area. And I also had to pass by Bulgaria since I found a cheaper flight via this country to return back home. So, these are the reasons why I had to apply for Multiple entry visa.

    • It’s hard to speak as to what a desirable salary would be. I don’t think they(the embassies) specify on this as long as you have a regular job or steady income. In my case, I’m just a regular employee with non-managerial position. As to bank account statement, the staff at the embassy told me that it should cover your expenses for the entire trip. So, basing on the accommodation and flight reservations that I presented to them plus calculating the daily food expenses, train and bus tickets,it summed up to 100K Php although in reality I spent only around 50-60K Php which was really on a budget in spite of the fact that I was constantly traveling by plane, ticket or bus.I believe I would have spent less if I just stayed in fewer countries. I think it would really depends on your activities and length of stay. If you’ll travel only for a week, 50K Php would be a decent show money. Based on my experience in applying for a visa, if its 30K below, you would know from their reactions that this amount was not enough. So I guess it should be 30K above, at least 50K php to be safe, for a week trip. But for a month-long trip, 100K php would be the minimum in my calculation. At that time, I was able to show to them more than a 100K Php even though I thought it can be deemed insufficient,I still gave it a try. good thing they still approved my visa.
      I hope I answered your inquiries Emman.
      Have a nice day.

      • Hello Anna,

        Thank you for that informative information. Im planning for a sidetrip in morroco so that I can ask for a mutiple entry. I was thinking double entry would be enough but ill try multiple entry instead. Can you give me an idea on your conver letter on how you state and justify if that a multiple entry is necessary instead of a double. I know Andorra and San Marino are the only two countries that aren’t part of schengen. A sample cover letter would be a great help. I was issued a single entry visa before by belgium and it was a family visit visa.

        Hoping from a reply from you soon!

        Warm Regards,
        Emman

        P.S. God bless on your trip!

        • Thanks! I suggest that you just add one more country in your itinerary so no need to justify why a multiple entry is necessary. they will also check on your itinerary if you need multiple entry or not. it will come out very suspicious if your itinerary indicates only 1 EU country , then 1 non-EU country, then, you have to justify in your letter as to why it should be multiple. anyway, when you’re already in Europe, you don’t necessarily need to follow evey detail of your itinerary. btw, I added my sample cover letter in this post for your reference.
          Hope this helps 🙂

  • Nice! Thank you once again., Anyho., I also envy your knowledge in speaking Spanish. I really wish I can speak Spanish as well! hahaha huhuhu

    Adios Senyorita!

    Gracias para informacionis., Estoy Feliz de la respuesta., Hasta Luego! hahah sorry for the wrong spanish!!

    All best!
    Emman

  • Hello anna,

    Sorry for the later reply., I didnt see the video but i saw your mexican passport application and you stated there that you talk to the consul in Spanish!! WOW! amazing!! also Portuegese and French!! Damn you are Polyglot!!! hahah I envy you!!

  • Hi Anna,

    Is transfer ticket from one city to another really needed for the visa application? I only have roundtrip ticket to manila-paris-manila but not the city transfer. Can i just explain to my cover letter that i will buy my transfer ticket (train or airline) after visa is approved?

    • Hi Mhy,

      Actually,I didn’t bring those documents when I applied at the embassy. I just booked them in advance after my visa was approved. But according to the staff at at VFS, it is required as plane and accomodation reservations are since there are nights wherein I didn’t have the hotel reservations. I explained to her that I’ll take night trains instead. So, she asked me if I will still submit the application or not? I told her, besides I did’t find any resource online where I can just reserve these tickets, so I asked her to give me 5 minutes and I went at the computer shop just outside the office and reserved the hotels for those nights. When I came back, she said, the embassy might still ask for these train tickets although it will be within their own discretion already. I replied to her(again), that there are no reservation option online , you really have to pay for these train tickets beforehand, so just go ahead and submit them anyway.

      I think, it’s up to you already if you want to include these docs upon application. It won’t hurt if you ‘ll explain about the transfer tickets ( esp about the train ones as you can always reserve your flight bookings).In my case, I didn’t justify it in my cover letter but good thing is they still approved my visa. Good luck

  • ‘Submitting visa application is like facing a job interview. The more you are used to it, the more it becomes a walk in the park.”

    So true! Last 2015-2016 I applied like crazy for visas as well. Got approved in all of them naman, but man, I have like 8 visas in one passport by 2016, then end of 2017 I have 12 visas na.

  • wow, amazing! It seems that you travel harder than me. hehehehe. How did you do that? so, every month you applied for a visa? Please share us some tips naman. 🙂

  • Nice to read from you people I love travelling so I am happy to read your experiences . Nice to know you .

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