Before roaming the streets of Venice or buying croissants in Paris, you’ll need to have a concrete plan before heading to Europe. For some of us, especially Philippine-passport holders, it’s not as simple as booking a flight and just leaving! But that’s all alright since I made this handy guide for your pre-trip necessities!
Do I need a Visa to go to Europe?
If you’re a Philippine-passport holder or a citizen from one of the countries on this list then yes, you have to get a Schengen Visa.
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that allows you to travel to any of the countries in the Schengen Area for up to 90 days. In this blog post, I’ll be detailing the process of getting your Schengen Tourist Visa.
- Visa Application Form
- Two Recent Photos
- Valid Passport
- Roundtrip Reservation and Itinerary
- Travel Insurance Policy
- Proof of Accommodation
- Proof of Financial Means
- Proof of Paid Visa Fees
The Visa Application Form can be downloaded here, and you can check the Travel Insurance Policy through this website.
As for the rest, your photos must be taken within the last 3 months and follow the photo guidelines provided in this link. Your passport must not be older than 10 years and valid for ay least 3 more months after your planned trip.
Meanwhile, a proof of accommodation can either be one of the ff:
- A hotel/hostel booking
- A rental agreement
- A letter of invitation from your host
Proof of financial means, on the other hand, can be any of the ff:
- Bank Account Statement,
- Sponsorship Letter,
- Or a combination of both
Supplemental Visa Requirements
You will also be asked to provide supplemental requirements based on your employment status.
- Employment Contract
- Current bank statement from the last 6 mos.
- Leave permission from employer
- Income Tax Return (ITR) Form
- Copy of Business License
- Company bank statement from the last 6 mos.
- Proof of Enrollment
- No objection letter from school or university
- Pension statement of the last 6 mos.
Visa Process Steps
1. Figure out what kind of Visa you need.
As I previously mentioned, this blog post will focus mainly on the Tourist Visa. If you need more information on the other types of visas, click this link.
2. Find out where you need to apply.
This could either be at the embassy of your destination country, one of their consulates, or a visa center. This is mainly if you’re only going to one location but it also depends on the Schengen rules.
The rules state that if you’re going to multiple destinations for an equal number of days, you must apply at the embassy/visa center of the first country you’ll be landing in. However, if you’re going to multiple destinations for an unequal number of days, you must apply at the embassy/visa center of the country you’ll be spending the most number of days at.
To clear things up: Let’s say you’re a Philippine-passport holder and you’re planning to only visit Italy, you’ll have to go to the Italian Embassy in the Philippines. On the other hand, if you’re planning to visit Italy, France, and Germany for 3 days at each destination, you should still go to the Italian Embassy since it’s the country you’ll go to first. Finally, if you’re planning to visit Italy for 3 days, France for 5 days, and Germany for 2 days, you should go to the French Embassy since it’s where you’ll be staying the longest at.
3. Find the most suitable time to apply.
The earliest you can start the visa application process is 6 months before the trip. The latest is 15 working days before you travel. The recommended time to apply for a Schengen Visa is at least 3 weeks before your trip.
4. Book an appointment.
Most countries will allow you to book an appointment online, but there is a chance that you’ll have to book an appointment in person. If that’s the case you’ll have to visit the embassy or consulate of your destination country to book an appointment.
5. Fill out the application form.
Next up, we’ll be filling up the form that you can download here. Make sure you have the latest form, since that’s the only one they’ll accept. It’s also important that you fill out the form completely and accurately. If something doesn’t apply to your case, do NOT leave it blank! Just put NA for Not Applicable. Finally, don’t forget to print the forms twice and to sign both copies at the end.
6. Double-check your requirements.
Make sure you have everything on the list provided earlier from the Visa Application Form, Passport, and the visa specific requirements for your case.
7. Attend the Visa Interview.
So today’s the big day, and it’s super important that you arrive early (at least 10 minutes before) to your appointment. You’ll meet a visa consular to whom you’ll be submitting your requirements. As with most other visa interviews, you’ll be asked about your whereabouts, your itinerary, and other details about the trip. Be honest and accurate to what you wrote on your application form. This interview may take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Pay the visa fee.
When applying for a Schengen Visa, you’ll have to pay a non-refundable administration fee before your visa can be processed. Currently, this costs €80 per person, but can vary depending on your cases which will be specified in the Costs and Fees section below.
9. Wait for an answer to your application.
Finally, we wait. It usually takes no more than 15 days but there are some cases where it may take longer. Expect the process to be extended up to 45 days.
If your application is approved, CONGRATULATIONS! As soon as you get your visa, make sure you understand the labels attached to your sticker especially the period in which you’re allowed to stay in Europe.
On the other hand, if it gets rejected, don’t be disheartened. Read the reason/s for the rejection thouroughly and try to fulfill them by the next time you try to apply again. If you think the refusal was a mistake, then you can always appeal the visa application.
Costs and Fees Per Case
- Adult – €80
- Child between 6-12 y/o – €40
- Child below 6y/o – Free
- Holders of diplomatic, official, or service passports – Free
- Family member of an EU/EEA member – Free
- Students accompanying teachers on a school trip – Free
- Researchers travelling to perform scientific research – Free
- Armenian, Azerbaijan, Russian nationals – €35
Remember that the fees will not be refunded in case the visa is denied.
As soon as everything is set for your trip, plot your course around Europe through this article:
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