Since there are 20 plus countries in the Schengen area you can choose from to make that dream Euro trip of yours come to life, you have to choose and plan wisely! Parang love life lang ‘yan! Wahahahaha!
So first thing’s first! When it comes to applying for a Schengen visa, you need to determine the country where you’re staying the longest, so you’ll know which embassy to go to for your tourist visa. If they’re all equal (for example, three days in France, three days in Italy, and three days in Spain), you need to apply for a visa at the embassy of your point of entry (as in the first Schengen country in your itinerary and where your flight would land first!). So no, you can’t apply for a Schengen visa at any European embassy just because you heard it’s easier, faster, etc. there. 😛
In my case, I went to Central/Eastern Europe which included Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia. 😉 Munich, Germany was both my point of entry (even exit) and also where I stayed the longest, so it was really obvious that I had to apply at German Embassy Manila! Hahaha!
And if you happen to also decide that it’s Germany for you, here are the steps I did to acquire my visa for Schengener Staaten:
FIRST, schedule an appointment.
This can be done here, and it’s required because you need personal appearance at the Embassy to get your biometrics, etc. Don’t worry, it’s not as frightening as applying for a US visa wherein an American consul would be the one to really interview you and tell you right then and there if your visa’s approved or not! Hehe! (But don’t get me wrong, I love US Embassy Manila!!!) Anyway, in the case of German Embassy Manila, their Filipino staff would pre-screen your application requirements, capture your fingerprints, collect your visa fee, ask some clarifications, etc. They don’t bite, so relax!
But yes, this should be the first step, especially if it’s the peak season! My trip was in July 2017, and when I checked for slots in April 2017, the next available ones were in June 2017 already! Just imagine my shock! I knew I really should’ve checked for slots as early as February! Anyway, that’s a lesson learned on my part, so I already know better next time.
But yes again, I had my visa appointment exactly one month before my trip. I got my visa just a week after I applied, which was great! BUT!!! Remember that each embassy of each Schengen country has different sets of policies/terms/regulations/rules (I heard that it takes at least a month for a visa to be released at the Italian Embassy, and also just a week at the French Embassy), so it’s better to plan your travels accordingly.
SECOND, complete your documents.
The required documents are the following:
- valid passport (which must be valid for at least another 3 months upon the conclusion of travel to the Schengen area and must contain 2 empty pages)
- one photocopy of the current passport, as in all passport pages (and further valid / invalid passports, if applicable)
- one passport-sized photo with measurements meant for a Schengen visa — your local kodakan already knows this (taken within the last six months, with light gray background)
- application form (you can fill it out and print it here; make sure to indicate “multiple” in the number of entries, so you can hop from one Schengen country to another — otherwise, you can stay only in Germany!)
- signed Declaration form according to § 54 AufenthaltsG (which you can get here)
- travel itinerary / schedule in the Schengen area
- airline reservations
- hotel reservations
- original bank certificate / statements (for the previous six months)
- travel health insurance valid for all Schengen states and the full duration of your trip, with a minimum coverage sum of 30,000 euros (for the list of accredited insurance companies by German Embassy Manila, go here; I got mine from FPG)
- proof of employment (income tax return, certificate of employment, approved leave form signed by employer, etc.) — if you’re self-employed or still a student/minor, see the applicable requirements here
Just to be sure, I made photocopies of ALL of my documents. You can do this, too! Also, just a piece of advice. Even if you’re applying at the German Embassy, make sure that when it comes to your itinerary/hotel reservations, you include all the Schengen countries you’re traveling to. I made this mistake and just presented my hotel reservations for the ones in Germany, which required me to send my other hotel reservations for the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Austria via courier — it wasn’t really a big deal, except that it delayed my application a little bit due to “administrative processing,” not to mention it made me splurge a little more for courier fees! So learn from me, people, and DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME! Haha!
For the complete list of forms for a Schengen visa at German Embassy Manila, you can go here.
THIRD, go to the Embassy on the day of your appointment.
It’s recommended to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. The Embassy is located at :
25/F Tower 2, RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Ave (cor Sen. Gil Puyat Ave)
Metro Manila, Philippines
Upon arriving at the RCBC lobby, there are different receptionists for each embassy in the building (yes, there are other embassies in that location!). Just inform them that you’re going to the German Embassy. They’ll give you a pass and when you arrive at the 25th floor (where the Embassy is), you need to present your printed appointment confirmation letter (which would be sent to you via e-mail), and leave all your electronics with the guard on duty (there are available lockers for storage).
Once you’re through with the required security checks, you’ll be given a number until it’s your turn to be called at the window. When at the window, submit your requirements, and just follow the instructions of the person on the other side. Hehe! This was also the part where you’ll…
FOURTH, pay for the non-refundable visa fee.
The visa fee when I applied last June 2017 was 60 euros (for applicants older than 12 years). I paid it in cash (in Philippine pesos) at the window during my personal appearance/appointment.
FIFTH, wait for your visa to be processed.
As mentioned, I got my visa after a week! YAY!!!
SIXTH AND LAST (but definitely not the least), ENJOY YOUR DREAM EURO TRIP!
I went to Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria last July — and I’ve already posted my trip’s highlights HERE! I’ll write separate posts about each country SOON!! Until then!!! ❤
Have you tried applying for a Schengen visa in Manila or elsewhere? How was it?
Let me know what you think! 🙂