Have you ever dreamed of flying to Europe, breathing the European air while you casually eating Weisswurst and sipping a cold bier in a traditional and world famous Bierpalast in Bavaria, Germany? To make that dream com true, you would first need of a Schengen Visa.
SCHENGEN VISA APPLICATION GUIDE FOR FILIPINOS
Yes, breathe that sweet, sexy, European air!
(Updated as of September 24, 2017)
Traveling to Europe is probably everyone’s dream – but getting there is not easy as ABC. First and foremost, you would need a Schengen Visa to travel through the Schengen states. The Schengen Visa will allow you to do a short stay in Germany/ the Schengen-Area of up to 90 days. It covers 26 countries in Europe, but this still depends whether the consul will give you Single or Multiple entry visa.
APPLY AT THE GERMAN EMBASSY ONLY IF ANY OF THESE IS APPLICABLE AND TRUE:
- You will only going to visit Germany and will not visit any other European country.
- You will visit multiple Schengen countries but you will stay the longest in Germany.
- You will visit multiple Schengen countries but the main purpose of your journey is in Germany.
- Your point of entry is Germany (first in your itinerary).
Journey Freaks’ note: You can’t apply at the German Embassy when the only country you’re visiting is Italy. You can’t apply at the German Embassy if you’ll be in Italy for two weeks and in Germany for only two days.
Disclaimer: This guide is specifically curated for Schengen Visa with the purpose of visiting family and/or friends in Germany. If you’re planning to get a Schengen Visa with the purpose of tourism, kindly check Google and/or other blogs instead.
The application still depends on what will be the main purpose of your travel to the European states.
Is it to do business? Visit a fair? Visit family or a friend? For tourism purposes? For a language course? Each type of Schengen Visa demands different proofs and requirements. Read more here.
As for my experience, my main purpose is to visit my sister and her family in Germany. Since, I’m a graduating student, I have asked my family if I could visit my older sister and spend holidays with them as an advanced graduation gift. Fortunately, I got my family’s nod of approval!
Journey Freaks’ tip: You can book your interview as early as three months before your desired departure date. If you are already certain of going, I highly recommend that you start processing your application as early as you can. Better secure an appointment as early as possible so you will not feel rushed and stressed. Furthermore, you can book cheaper flights because there is still ample time prior your departure. Schedule your interview through here.
SCHENGEN VISA REQUIREMENTS
Getting a Schengen Visa is quite a pain in the ass because of the papers you would need to present and submit to the consul during your interview. Below are the main requirements for the Schengen Visa with the purpose of visiting a family and/or a friend in Germany.
Your identity as a traveler:
- Your original passport, which must be valid for at least another 3 months upon the conclusion of the travel and must contain two empty pages and one Xerox copy of the passport, and further valid / invalid passports, AND,
- Two current passport pictures
Your Visa application form:
- One fully completed application form signed by your own hand (online) AND,
- Declaration according to § 54 AufenthaltsG, fully completed and signed by your own hand
Your purpose of travel:
- Proof of relationship with the sponsor (e.g. birth- / marriage certificates, which substantiate the kinship, relationship or friendship). Written correspondence between you and your sponsor, proof of telephone connections and other evidence of relationship between you and your sponsor Written correspondence between you and your sponsor, proof of telephone connections and other evidence of relationship between you and your sponsor* AND,
Journey Freaks’ note: I submitted my PSA birth certificate as well as my sister’s to prove that we’re really siblings. Also, my sister sent me their Marriage Certificate from Germany. As for the written correspondence, I printed some of the screenshots of our conversation and video call as well as the photos when they visited Philippines back in 2015.
- If no formal obligation is submitted: An informal invitation by the host, in which information is given regarding the host’s exact address of residence, the purpose of travel and the full duration of travel and stay AND,
- Details regarding the means of travel for the outward – and return journey (details regarding the airline), no flight reservation is needed *
*Note: I used the app called SkyScanner for this one. A printed screenshot of your desired date departure and arrival would do.
- Children up to 6 years no fee
- Children from 6 to 12 years € 35 *
- Applicants older than 12 years € 60 **
Journey Freaks’ note: The visa is payable in Philippine Pesos (cash) at the current exchange rate. As of September 22, 2017, the visa fee is PHP 2125* or PHP 3640**.
Journey Freaks’ tip: Always bring an exact amount because they don’t give change.
The financial coverage of the cost of your travel and stay:
- Statements of your account(s) for the previous six months, with a confirmation by the bank OR,
- Formal Obligation (original and a Xerox copy) according to §§ 66-68 of the German Residence Law, given by your host at the aliens authority “Ausländerbehörde”) in Germany that is responsible for his / her area of residence *
Journey Freaks’ note: Formal Obligation is a very important document better ask your German sponsor to get it for you. Know more about the Formal Obligation here.
Your travel health insurance:
- Travel health insurance, which is valid for all Schengen-States and the full duration of stay for which the visa is applied for, with a minimum coverage sum of 30,000 Euros. Philippine insurances must be accredited and given in the original with a Xerox, German insurances are accepted as a Xerox, Fax or scan *
Journey Freaks’ note: My sister was the one who bought my health insurance. She chose the German insurance called Hanse Merkur and she sent it to me via email.
Your rootedness in the Philippines:
- If you are employed: Proof of your employment, i.e. most recent income tax return, certificate of employment (including your employer’s full name, complete address and telephone number with area code details regarding your position or professional designation, income, duration of the working relationship); letter of approved leave of absence signed by your employer or
- If you are self-employed: proof of registration and commercial activity of your company in the Philippines, e.g. income tax returns, bank certificates, documents of the company accounts or other. or
- If you are a pupil/student: School certificate / University certificate; proof of enrollment (for students), if applicable: letter of exemption from studies and *
- If you own real estate property, e.g. original land title, deed of sale
*Note: Since I’m still a student, my mother will be the one to shoulder the airfare I presented her ITR, COE with compensation and a photocopy of her company ID. Also, I asked my school to provide me Certificate of Enrollment, Certificate of Registration and I just photocopied my school ID.
Additional documents for children below age 18:
- Personal appearance of both parents (if residing in the Philippines) during submission of the visa application with valid ID (passport or driver’s license)
- Original Birth Certificate of the child, issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA – former NSO) on Security Paper (SECPA) and
If traveling without both parents:
- Declaration of consent by the legal guardian(s), signed in front of a German consular officer as well aS Passports of the legal guardian(s) (original and Xerox copy of the data page) or Proof of legal custody (for minors with parents whose marriage was dissolved/ annulled) or Death certificate of the other parent or
- Travel Permit, issued by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); please contact the DSWD for further information. The according proof should be carried along and submitted to the border control.
- *If the person(s) having care and custody of the child is resident abroad, a declaration of consent, given before the responsible German (honorary-) Consul must be submitted. If the person(s) having care and custody of the child live(s) in Germany, this declaration must be given before a German Notary public or the responsible aliens authority (Ausländerbehörde).
Submit the following documents to 25/F, Tower 2, RCBC Plaza. 6819 Ayala Ave (cor Sen. Gil Puyat Ave). Note that the Embassy reserves the right to request further documents.
Journey Freaks’ note: The consuls in German Embassy Manila do not accept incomplete applications – if an application is submitted without the ascertainable documents for the purpose of travel, the application will be turned away at the visa counter and you will be requested to set a new appointment for your visa interview. The processing time is 1 to two weeks from date of interview.
Journey Freaks’ tip: ALWAYS BRING (2) PHOTOCOPY OF EACH DOCUMENT AND ARRANGE IT ACCORDINGLY. Better place the documents inside a clearbook.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. I will be traveling with my child to Europe. Do I still have to get an appointment individually?
– Yes, it is a requirement to get an appointment individually and do a personal appearance.
2. Do we need to book flights before applying for a visa?
– No, just don’t book your flights yet! Use can use the app called SkyScanner for this one. A printed screenshot of your desired date departure and arrival would do. See sample below:
3. Where to get travel health insurance for Europe here in the Philippines?
– You can get health insurance through Pacific Cross. My sister have tried Pacific Cross and as per her it went smoothly. Pacific Cross’ Executive Peso and Prestige Euro plans are both Schengen-approved.
4. What are the usual questions they ask at the interview? (We have listed down top 10 frequently asked questions during visa interview):
What is the purpose of your trip?
How long will you stay in (Schengen country)?
When will you leave?
When will you get back?
Will this be your first time to travel in Europe?
Do you know anyone in (Schengen country)?
How are you related to them?
When did you last see them?
Are you traveling alone or with companion?
What do you do for a living? (Expect a lot of follow up questions about your studies/job.)
5. Can I bring and submit photos of my sponsor and I together as a proof of genuine relationship?
– Yes you may although it is not a requirement. Some examples of such proof are family and other photographs (old and recent) showing the parties together, letters, cards, correspondence, and telephone records.
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE DURING SCHENGEN VISA INTERVIEW
I’ve recently applied for the Schengen Visa at the German Embassy here in Manila last November 15, 2016. For my visa interview I wore something casual, a cashmere cotton long sleeves, pair of jeans and my black flats. No one at the embassy wore anything too formal, just look decent and presentable and that’s what’s important anyway.
When I arrived at the German Embassy’s reception located at the Tower 2, RCBC Plaza I was asked to surrender my umbrella, and one identification card. Then the receptionist gave me a visitor’s pass and told me to go to the 25th floor. When I alighted at the 25th floor, an army greeted me and asked me to surrender everything I have in my pocket and my small bag for inspection. After that, a person at the window asked for my passport for a quick inspection and validation of my interview schedule. Afterwards, I was instructed to go to the next area where in I was asked to turn off my mobile phone and put it in the glass locker, and then they gave me a key. Thereafter, the gave me a blue card with a number and then I was asked to go to the interview area where in a handful of people were also waiting for their turn. The card number corresponds for your turn for the interview.
The interviews are held in 4 counters with a consul behind each window. The consuls speak in microphones so you hear them properly, and you get a vague idea of why each person is applying. I was sitting closest to window 4, so I heard majority of their interviews and somehow got an idea whether these people got denied and approved. (Note: German Embassy will not tell you on the spot whether your application is denied or approved. As a rule, processing is about 1 to 2 weeks. But clearly, you will have a hint just by listening to the questions and how each person responded.)
I was interviewed by the consul farthest to me. The consul asked every document both original and photocopy. My interview went like this:
Me: Hi, good afternoon!
Consul: Hello. So what’s your main purpose on traveling in Germany?
Me: Visiting a family. I’ll be visiting my sister who resides in Germany with her family.
Consul: Who will sponsor you?
Me: My brother in law.
Consul: When is the last time you saw them?
Me: They went here last year for vacation and baptism of my nephew.
Consul: So, what is your sister’s current job in Germany?
Me: She’s a registered nurse, but since she just gave birth a year ago she wasn’t able to practice it but the recognition of her license is already on-process.
Consul: Is your brother in law a German?
Me: Yes. He’s half-Filipino too but he was born and raised in Hamm, Germany.
Consul: So how long have they’ve been together?
Me: 3 years.
Consul: Who will shoulder your plane ticket?
Me: My mother. She’s a medical doctor.
Consul: Okay no problem with that since they gave you a Formal Obligation.
Consul: Are you still studying?
Me: Yes, I’m a graduating student from the FEU Institute of Technology. We’re on trimester that’s why we have a long gap for the graduation.
Consul: So your graduation day would be February?
Consul: Have you traveled outside the country?
Me: Not yet because I’m a trimester student and we don’t have ample time for vacation.
Consul: Okay, we will just deliver your passport and visa in a week.
Me: Alright. Thank you so much.
After that, she scanned and got my biometrics and I was off to go. Overall, the Schengen Visa application experience was a very pleasant one. I personally thought that I nailed it since I answered her questions confidently and have backup papers to support my claims. I guess, it varies from person to person. One thing you should remember when applying for a visa is that ALWAYS BE HONEST AND COME PREPARED. Remember the visa fee is non-refundable. You wouldn’t want to flush € 60 down the drain. You can bring documents to support your claims, but they almost always never ask to see them. Also, every consul is different, some will give you a chance to explain while others will not.
So there you go folks have it for my personal Schengen visa interview experience. I hope that this will enlighten and somehow help you prepare what you should do and bring if you ever apply for a Schengen Visa (for the purpose of visiting a family). Waiting for the visa to be delivered is the hardest part. But luckily, after 4 days of waiting and non-stop thinking 2GO mailed the visa at our doorstep. YES, MY APPLICATION IS APPROVED! Thank God they granted me a multiple entry visa! I’m living for this European trip!
JAAAAAAAA! Danke schoen, Botschaft Manila! Bis bald, Europa!