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Schengen Visa 101: A Guide for Philippine Passport Holders

Europe can easily be labeled as one of the most sought after travel destinations. From the picturesque streets of Paris, France to the romantic canals of Venice, Italy, it’s safe to say that Europe boasts incredible sights and exciting experiences that can definitely be on anyone’s bucket list. 

For Filipinos, Europe seems like a world away, not only distance- and culture-wise, but also because of the whispers going around about how strict European embassies can be when it comes to visa applications. But we’re here to show you that the world is at your fingertips and that any adventure is possible. Just like how uncomplicated and doable it actually is to apply for a Schengen visa.

Venice
Venice, Italy

But what is a Schengen visa and why should you get one? With 26 member countries, the Schengen zone covers the majority of European states and can easily be traveled via plane, car, or train. With countries being close to each other, it’s the perfect place to start your European adventures.

What is a Schengen Visa?

Schengen Visa Guide

Schengen is the biggest free travel area in the world. It’s an EU passport-free zone that covers most of Europe. 

A Schengen visa is the most common European short-stay type visa that allows a person to travel to its member countries and stay for up to 90 days for tourism or business purposes. 

Which countries are members of the Schengen area?

The Schengen area is made up of 26 countries:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
Kirkjufellsfoss Iceland
Kirkjufellsfoss, Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Do you need a Schengen visa to enter Europe?

All Philippine passport holders are required to apply for a visa when traveling to a state in the Schengen area. Note that a Schengen visa cannot be used in other European countries outside of the zone like the United Kingdom and Russia. 

Eligibility

Neuschwanstein Castle Germany
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

To be eligible to apply for a Schengen visa in the Philippines, you must be:

  • A Philippine passport holder, or
  • A third-world national required to have a visa to Europe, living in the Philippines under a temporary or permanent residency permit.

How to Apply for Schengen Visa

  • Determine the type of Schengen visa you need: Depending on your purpose, there are several visa types for Filipino travelers. Most people apply for either a tourist, business, or transit visa.
  • Find out where to submit: If you’re visiting only one state, submit your application to the embassy / consulate / visa center of that country. If you’re traveling to more than one Schengen state, submit to the diplomatic representation of the country where you’re staying the longest. In cases where you’ll be spending an equal amount of time in each state, you will have to apply to where you will arrive first. 
  • Get the 411 on the application process: Know the best time to apply, location of the embassy, how to set up an appointment, and the documents they require. Application periods are usually done in the mornings, while releases are in the afternoon. Check the specific embassy or visa center of the state you’re applying for to confirm the details. 
Paris France
Paris, France
  • Gather the required documents: Make sure to fill up your application form correctly and properly.
  • Set an appointment: Depending on the embassy or visa center, you can do so through online registration, via phone, or in person.
  • Attend your scheduled interview: Double check your documents. Be punctual, and dress well.
  • Pay the visa fee: All Schengen states have fixed rates based on the type of visa, age of applicant, and other exceptions. Adult applications cost EUR60, while children aged 6 to 12 years old cost EUR35.
  • Wait for the release: Embassies and visa centers have different time frames for releasing, ranging from days to weeks. Make sure to take note of the release date that will be given to you after payment or wait for the reminder, which is usually sent via SMS or email. 

Filing your Schengen visa: The basics

Requirements vary among embassies and are dependent on the state you’re applying to and the type of visa you’re applying for. To get you started, here are some of the basic documents that are required for Philippine passport holders:

  • Visa application form: Most of these can be filled up online, so check the website of the country or embassy you are applying to.
  • Valid passport: It should not be older than 10 years and must be valid for at least three more months after your planned exit date from the Schengen area. 
  • Two identical passport-sized photos: These must be taken during the last six months. It should also be 35x45mm, with a colored background, and with the applicant having a neutral expression. 
  • Residency documents: For Philippine nationals, these include valid ID cards while internationals can present a residency permit. 
Prague Czechia
Prague, Czech Republic
  • Flight and accommodation itineraries: A round-trip flight itinerary must include your entry and exit dates from the Schengen zone. Accommodation documents include hotel bookings or the address and contact information of the place where you’ll be staying at. Note that hotel reservations need to cover the entire duration of your stay in the zone. If you’ll be traveling to more than one Schengen state, a travel itinerary with details of your trip with train or bus bookings may also be required. 
  • Europe travel insurance: It should have a coverage of at least EUR30,000.
  • Proof of income / Means of subsistence: A document that proves you have the financial means to support your stay in Europe. These include bank statements and your Income Tax Return (ITR). 
  • Cover letter: A formal letter addressed to the consul where you’ll have to give more information about your trip: like why you want to visit that specific Schengen state or the amount of time you’ll be spending within the territory. 
Santorini Greece
Santorini, Greece

There are also other required documents based on the applicant’s employment status in the Philippines:

For Employees:

  • Employee contract or certificate of employment
  • A bank statement that covers the last six months
  • Leave certificate from the employer
  • Income Tax Return (ITR) or Certificate of Income Tax

For Self-Employed

  • Certificate of registration or the a copy of your business license
  • Company bank statement that covers the last six months
  • Income Tax Return (ITR)

For Students

  • Proof of enrollment
  • No Object Letter from the school or university, which states that the student is currently enrolled and must return to complete their degree

For retirees:

  • Pension statement of the last six months

If unemployed and married to an EU citizen:

  • Spouse’s Certificate of Employment, stating the position and start date
  • Spouse’s valid passport
  • Official marriage certificate

Important reminder: Always look for the checklist and confirm the required documents of the embassy you are applying to.

Schengen visa release

Vienna Austria
Vienna, Austria

If your application is approved, you’ll find your visa sticker on one of the pages of your passport. Read the visa sticker and take note of the entry period when you’re allowed in the state. 

On the other hand, if you have been rejected, some embassies will give you a reason for the decision. If the reason is justified, re-apply and make sure to correct previous mistakes. If you believe there has been a mistake, you can also write an appeal letter. 

Where to file and schedule an appointment for my Schengen visa?

Once you have prepared your documents, it’s time to set an appointment at the specific embassy of the state you are traveling to. 

Take note that some states in the Schengen zone outsource their visa submissions to a visa application center, which means you will have to set up an appointment and submit your documents there. Here’s where you should file your Schengen visa applications per country.

1. VFS Global

For visa applications to Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and The Netherlands.

Addresses:

Manila: Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City

Cebu: Unit 503, 5th Floor, Keppel Center, Samar Loop, cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City

2. BLS International

For visa applications to Spain.

Address: 10th Floor Unit 1004 Liberty Center Building, 104 H.V. de la Costa corner Leviste Salcedo Village, Makati City

Madrid Spain
Madrid, Spain

3. The Embassy of Greece

For visa applications to Greece and Portugal.

Address: Embassy of the Hellenic Republic, Unit 701, SEDCCO 1 Building, 120 Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City

4. The Embassy of Italy

For visa applications to Italy. 

Address: 6/F Zeta II Bldg, 191 Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City

You may also file your application via the PIASI VIA Center.

Addresses:

Manila: 3rd Floor, Allegro Center, 2284 Chino Roces Extension, Barangay Magallanes, Makati City

Cebu: Unit 1004-B 1oth Floor, Keppel Center Samar Loop corner Cardinal Rosales Ave, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City

 

Start your European adventures this 2020! Prepare your Schengen visa application by completing your flight booking and hotel itineraries today. Check out Traveloka to get amazing deals!

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:
The information contained in this article is up-to-date as of January 2020 and may be updated occasionally. Given the changing nature of laws, rules, and regulations of visas, there may be outdated information in this article. The information contained on this webpage is intended to provide general guidance on matters of interest for the personal use of the reader only. 

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