I love being a Filipino, I’m proud of being one. But don’t despise me if I say that I HATE being a Philippine passport holder. Applying for a Schengen visa can be difficult at times for Philippine passport holders for reasons quite known to us.
WHAT IS A SCHENGEN VISA?
Schengen visa has made traveling between 26 countries (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) much easier and more convenient. The Schengen visa is just a “visitor visa”. I applied for the short-stay one, which is valid for a maximum of 90 days. This visa can’t be used for employment/business purposes.
Choosing where to file depends on some factors. For a visit to one Schengen state, visa applications must be lodged at the Embassy/Consulate of that particular Member State. If the visit includes more than one destination, visa applications must be lodged at the Embassy/Consulate of the Member State whose territory constitutes the MAIN destination of the visit(s) in terms of purpose or the length of stay.
I filed in the Embassy of the Royal Netherlands because my sponsor is a national there. And since I have a sponsor, the type of Schengen visa I chose was “Visit a Friend/Family”.
REQUIREMENTS IN FILING FOR A SCHENGEN VISA:
Requirements of the Dutch Embassy for Visit a Friend/Family Visa includes (but not limited to) the following:
1. Personal appearance. Applicants are required to set an appointment first. In my experience, I called VFS global (their 3rd party outsourcer) to reserve a date. I need to pay the VFS fee first (4400PHP) at Unionbank before I can set up an appointment. After 24hrs, I called them again to book an appointment.
2. Passport (valid for at least 3 months after your return).
3. Recent passport size picture.
4. Completed and signed Schengen visa application form (can be downloaded at the embassy’s website)
5. Medical Travel Health insurance, coverage minimum 30,000 Euro or equivalent amount in PHP. (I can’t recommend any since it was my partner who bought one for me)
I also submitted the following:
FROM MY SPONSOR:
– Proof of Sponsorship and/or private accommodation (“Formulier Garantstelling/Logiesverstrekking”), legalized at his Municipality.
– Certified true copy of his Employment Certificate and Payslips as proof of his income/sponsorship.
– Certified true copy of his Passport (with PH stamps).
FROM MY SIDE:
– My cover letter stating why I wanted to go to the Netherlands.
– E-ticket reservation for my flight via KLM for Manila – Amsterdam – Manila.
– Employment and leave certificates showing approved leaves and the date I am expected to return to work
– Payslips, ITR, Savings account as proof of my income.
– Photocopy of my passport + all visas and entry/exit stamps of all countries I’ve visited.
Eventhough they didn’t ask for it, I also tried to submit Proof of Relationship with my sponsor (e.g flight bookings under our names, email conversations and photographs) just to establish the fact that I know my sponsor personally. Also, don’t forget to photocopy all your documents. In the embassy’s website, they stated that photocopies are necessary. However, the person who interviewed me just took all the original documents.
Fast forward. On the day of my appointment (07-February-2014), I arrived 30mins early. Mobile phones are not allowed inside so I have to deposit it to the guard outside. The Dutch embassy is located at 26th Floor BDO Equitable Bank Tower 8751 Paseo de Roxas, Makati City. I was asked then to be seated and wait for my name to be called.
When my name was called, I submitted all the original documents first. They will look at it and hand over those that are not needed. The embassy officer will interview you on the spot (in full hearing of everyone else), so make sure you know all the documents you submitted and answer the questions truthfully. Some of the questions thrown at me that I remembered were:
– Reason/purpose of my visa application.
– Details about my relationship with my sponsor, how we met, how long we’ve been together and if we’ve seen each other in person.
– What’s my partner’s job and for how long is he working for his current company.
– My employment history.
– My family background and if I have relatives living abroad.
– Our itinerary once I’m there.
After the question and answer portion, she proceeded in recording my biometric data (fingerprints).
That’s it! I’m done in 15mins. The embassy officer said that the processing normally takes 10-15 business days, and that the embassy will call me if they need more documents. She also added that my application will be forwarded to their Regional office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for further processing.
14-Feb-2014, 5:30 PM. The delivery guy from 2Go was outside our gate. He said that he is delivering a package from the Netherlands embassy. WOW! That was fast I told myself..
I was trembling while opening the package. I saw my passports right before my eyes, and there it is! The Visa stamped in my Passport (I only applied for a single entry but the embassy granted me a multiple entry!) HOORAY! I’m leaving for Europe in 10 weeks!! This is the most unforgettable Valentine’s day of my life! And the most wonderful gift I ever received on a Heart’s day, thanks to Mijn Liefje :*