The World (TRAVEL)

How to Apply for a Schengen (Tourist) Visa at GERMAN Embassy Manila

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)
Makati City
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! 🙂

The World (TRAVEL)

How to Apply for a Japan (Tourist) Visa in Manila

So you’ve watched (or at least heard of) the hit Filipino indie movie Kita Kita, and you can’t help but notice how picturesque their location is? Well, it’s no secret that the entire movie was shot on location in Sapporo, JAPAN! And guess what? Traveling to Japan isn’t that impossible now, thanks to airline promo fares and the Japanese government for granting Filipino citizens free tourist visas! Yes, you’ve read that right! FREE! As in GRATIS!! But… there’s a BUT!!! Haha!

This post will mostly focus on how to apply for a tourist visa to Japan when you’re in Manila, Philippines. And just like my other visa-related posts, I don’t know much anything about other types of visas because most of the time, when I apply for a visa, it’s because I’m going to that country as a TOURIST. So as early as now, if you have questions about other types of visas, I SUGGEST YOU CONTACT THE CONSULATE/EMBASSY DIRECTLY. Okay? Okay!

Based on my experience, here are the steps I did to acquire my Japan tourist visa:

FIRST, choose an accredited travel agency by the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines.

This is the “but” part I’ve mentioned earlier. Even if the Japanese government doesn’t collect any fees from tourist visa applications, you can apply for a tourist visa only to one of their accredited travel agencies! And lo and behold, of course these travel agencies charge fees to process tourist visa applications. It’s all up to you to choose the travel agency that’s most convenient for you because each agency has different prices.

The list of accredited travel agencies can be found here:

Personally, I chose RELI Tours & Travel agency because it was the most convenient for me at that time. For a Japan tourist visa (with no guarantor), they charge Php950 per application. My trip was in June 2017, but as early as April 2017, I already applied for a visa. I chose RELI because they have a branch at SM Mall of Asia (MOA), which means they’re open on weekends! They also accept walk-ins, and that’s what I did. I just made sure that I was at the mall when it opened, so I was the second in line when I went to RELI. Even before I entered RELI’s office, one of their representatives already pre-checked if I had the complete requirements, which brings us to…

SECOND, complete your documents.

The required documents are the following:

  • valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of travel to Japan)
  • application form printed on A4-sized paper — the Embassy’s strict with this size (you can download the form here or get from your preferred travel agency)
  • one 2×2 photo pasted on your application form (taken within the last six months, with white background)
  • original birth certificate (ONLY IF you’re a first-time applicant!)
  • original marriage certificate (ONLY IF applicable to you — well, it’s not applicable to me… at least not yet! HA HA HA)
  • daily schedule in Japan (you can download the form here)
  • original bank certificate
  • copy of Income Tax Return (ITR)
please excuse my "resting b*tch face" pose! LOL!

please excuse my “resting b*tch face” pose! LOL!

Other optional documents you may submit (just make sure you’re willing to give them away because the Embassy won’t return them anymore):

  • letter of intent (a.k.a. explanation why you want to go to Japan)
  • original Certificate of Employment (COE) or other proof of income
  • other proof/statements of your eligibility to travel/ties to the Philippines (e.g., investments, properties, stocks, etc.)

For RELI’s complete list of requirements for a tourist visa (with no guarantor), you can go here.

THIRD, pay for the non-refundable handling fee of the travel agency.

As mentioned, the fee will depend on your travel agency. RELI charged me Php950, which I paid in cash when I was at their MOA branch.

FOURTH, wait for your visa to be processed.

Once you submitted everything, the waiting game starts. After about a week, I received a text message from RELI informing me that I can already pick up my passport at their branch. They haven’t told me then whether or not I was granted a visa. When I arrived at their branch, that’s the only time they told me that I had the visa. YAY!

Something you should know about a Japan tourist visa: If it’s your first time to apply, the Embassy usually grants only a single-entry visa. If you want it to be a multiple-entry one, you may try to submit a letter of request (you can ask your travel agency for the correct format) OR just apply and apply for a visa (as in use it, go to Japan, back to Manila, go to Japan, back to Manila, and the cycle goes on! Haha!). Then again, you have to understand that the Embassy always, always has the last say when it comes to deciding whether a visa applicant will be granted a single entry or multiple one. K?!

FIFTH AND LAST (but definitely not the least), ENJOY YOUR #JAFUN TRIP!

I’ll write about my Tokyo trip SOON! Even before leaving Japan, I already promised myself that I’ll go back and include Osaka in my itinerary — and thanks to Kita Kita, I’mma include Sapporo, too, next time!!! 😉 Now, where’s my “Empoy,” huh?! Wahahahaha!

beside the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station, Tokyo

beside the statue of Hachiko at Shibuya station, Tokyo

Have you tried applying for a Japan visa in Manila or elsewhere? How was it?
Let me know what you think! 🙂

The World (TRAVEL)

How to Apply for a (Tourist) Visa for Ireland… if you’re in Manila!

How to Apply for an Ireland Visa in Manila

It has been a little more than a quarter since I arrived from my UK-Ireland trip, and I still have to write a lot about it! Including applying for a visa for Ireland — so here it is!!! Haha 😛

Most people think that when it comes to traveling to Europe, acquiring a Schengen visa is the be-all and end-all of it. That may be true for some. BUT for someone like me who has been an Anglophile since I was seven, the Schengen visa wasn’t the answer to my dream Euro trip simply because the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the UK for short) and the Republic of Ireland (Ireland) are NOT covered by the said visa. So yes, my friends, my dream Euro trip involved applying (and paying) for two separate visas: one for the UK (which I already wrote about here) and one for Ireland. Yes, ganun ko ginustong pumunta sa Inglatera!!! 🙂

Before you ask me why there are separate visas for the UK and Ireland (even if geographically, they’re like one country!), let me already tell you that it all dates back to their history. Now, I’m not going to tell you a history lesson here, so let’s just accept and respect the fact that they’re two separate countries. In short, if you want to go to Belfast (where the infamous Titanic was built), you will need a UK visa; if you want to go to Dublin (the capital of Ireland, and where my favorite boyband of all time — Westlife — was from), you will need an Ireland visa.

If that’s already clear, I can tell you that applying for an Ireland visa is somewhat similar to the process of applying for a UK visa (only with slight differences). In fact, having a UK visa prior to applying for an Ireland visa actually has its advantages! So what are the steps you need to do in order to be able to see the Cliffs of Moher or maybe even bump into one of the members of Westlife?!

FIRST, complete your documents (original and three photocopies of each — yes, this includes photocopying your passport pages three times!!!). I’ll divide this into two categories: the required and the others.

The required documents are only three actually:

  • application form (more on this later)
  • valid passport (for at least 6 months from date of travel to Ireland)
  • 2 photos (45mm high by 35mm wide or passport size, with white background)

The others, or what you call your supporting documents. ALL DOCUMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO HAVE THREE PHOTOCOPIES. As mentioned in my UK visa blog post, these documents will help you “convince” a consular officer that you have strong ties to the Philippines  (a.k.a. hindi ka magtatago sa Ireland dahil may babalikan ka sa Pilipinas!) and that you have enough funds for your trip. Since the Irish Consulate in Manila is document-dependent when it comes to their visa applications (unlike other embassies that require personal appearance/interview), I believe it’s crucial that you really don’t lack any of the following:

  • cover letter explaining your intent to travel to Ireland and itinerary
  • proof of previous travel (i.e., passport stamps)
  • bank certificate/statements or payslips (for the last 6 months)
  • certificate of employment (or proof of business/self-employment, whichever applies to you)
  • booking details/itinerary (it’s not really advisable to book your airfare/accommodation without having a visa first, so make sure that your bookings are not yet final to the point that you can’t refund them anymore)
  • others (any other document that you think might be helpful to your visa application)

More information about their accepted supporting documents can be found HERE.

SECOND, accomplish the application form. The Irish Consulate in Manila doesn’t really have an official website, so all Google searches will always redirect you to Ireland’s government site, Just click “Continue” and follow the instructions. Make sure to remember your application number because you will need it later on.

An important note to remember is when it comes to the Ireland visa, you have the option to choose if you want single entry or multiple entry. Of course, choosing the latter makes the visa fee more expensive. (I just chose the single entry because our itinerary involved going back to London after our Dublin trip. And besides, it was my sister’s decision to visit Ireland anyway, so why spend more?! Haha!)

THIRD, pay for the non-refundable visa fee. As of this writing, the single-entry visa is Php3,600 (but if you have a valid UK visa, it’s around Php4,600); the multiple-entry visa is Php6,000. If my memory serves me right, you can do this on cash basis at the Consulate itself. Which brings us to the next step…

FOURTH, book an appointment (by calling the Irish Consulate in Manila at +63 2 896-4668). Once your documents are ready, you need to set an appointment at the Irish Consulate in Manila for them to schedule you when you can submit your documents and pay for the visa. Upon calling them, you need to give your application number (the one generated in your application form) for easier reference. If you don’t want to go there directly, you may also send your documents via courier. Still, it’s better to call or e-mail them to ask about their preferred couriers.

The e-mail address of the Irish Consulate in Manila is, and their address is:

Consulate General of Ireland
3/F Max’s Bldg. 70 Jupiter St.
Bel-Air 1, Makati City
1209 Philippines

I suggest you call the Consulate a week before your preferred date. Also, make sure to submit your documents 8 weeks or earlier prior to your planned travel date because that’s how long it takes to process the Ireland visa. If you have a valid UK visa, it takes only 6 weeks — which is probably why the visa fee is more expensive if you already have a UK visa (consider it an expedited process). The reason why it takes long is because in general, consulates are only for citizens; embassies process visas. Since there’s no Irish Embassy in Manila, the Irish Consulate in Manila still needs to submit visa applications to the nearest Irish Embassy — which is in Singapore.

The step-by-step visa application process for Filipinos by the Embassy of Ireland in Singapore can be found HERE.

FIFTH, wait for your visa to be processed. Once you submitted everything, the waiting game starts. After 6 or 8 weeks, you need to call the Irish Consulate in Manila again to ask for your visa status. This is required because no status will be given if you don’t call. If they give you good news (meaning, your visa has been approved) and go signal, you can go back to the Consulate for visa stamping. If the Consulate gives you a go signal on your agreed date and time, the visa stamping can be done within the day — as in submit your passport in the morning, and get it back in the afternoon of the same day with your visa already! YAY!!!

SIXTH AND LAST (but definitely not the least), ENJOY YOUR IRELAND TRIP! And speaking of which, I still have to blog about my own trip!!! Wait for it and read it, please! Haha! 😉

Have you tried applying for an Ireland visa in Manila or elsewhere? How was it?
Let me know what you think! 🙂