Hi guys! Just in case you are new here in my blog, I’m Linh an expat been living and working here in Makati Philippines for 5 years. Last June, I took my dream trip to Europe which I have dreamed of since ever. I’m going to share my experience on how to apply for Schengen visa for foreigner in Philippines via France Embassy.
I have been travelling to some Asia countries such as South Korean, Japan (twice), Taiwan… before applying for Schengen visa.
What is Schengen Visa
A Schengen Visa is a permit for visiting/travelling to and within 26 countries belong to Schengen Area.
Why do you apply Schengen visa via France Embassy
The Schengen visa can be done via any Embassies of member countries listed above. If you would like to apply via France Embassy, you need these following conditions:
- France is your first entry and last entry point.
- You have to stay in France longer than other destinations
- or You only visit France, no entry to other Europe countries.
One of the reason why people keep going to apply via France Embassy is it seem easier and much faster to get visa approved than other Embassies. It takes only 2 – 5 days of processing time.
Where to apply Schengen visa via France Embassy
Due to huge number of applications, France Embassy hired VFS Global Service handling documents process on behalf of them. Mean to say, you need to go to VFS Global office to submit your required documents instead of France Embassy.
Mezzanine Floor (2nd floor), Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave Ext, Makati City.
Submission time: Monday – Friday (from 7AM – 2PM)
Release time: Monday – Friday (from 2PM – 4PM)
What are the required documents to apply for Schengen Visa for Foreigner in Philippines
Note: You MUST hold a legal working visa in Philippines in order to apply for a Schengen visa here.
Before prepare your application you need to check if your passport:
- Remaining passport’ validity must be more than 3 months,
- Passport must be contained at least 2 successive unused pages,
- It must have been issued less than 10 years before the date of application.
All good ? Then its time to prepare your documents !
1.Download and fill up a Short Stay Visa Application Form . This form is used for those who apply for tourist visa.
2 .01 Colored white background ID picture Size: 35mm x 45mm, maximum head length: 25mm.
3. Your original passport.
4. Photocopy of bio page, any page with immigration stamp or visa. (Yes ! If your passport is full of stamp, then copy them all)
5. Photocopy of page with your working visa.
6. Photocopy of your ACR card.
7. Cover letter explaining the purpose of the trip and proposed day-to-day itinerary. ( Download my cover letter here).
8. Proof of accommodation for entire stay in Europe.
Tips: go to booking.com then make reservation of hotel/hostel with “Pay later” and “Free cancellation” option. Print the booking confirmation and submit it.
9. Roundtrip airfare Philippines – France – Philippines.
Tips: Qatar Airways allows you to make a reservation ticket without payment up to 72 hours. This reservation is valid to apply Schengen visa.
10. Transfer tickets within Schengen countries (train, coach, flight reservations, etc).
Sad news: Despite of my day-to-night searching, there is no train/airlines within Europe allow me to make reservation without payment. I had to pay all transportation tickets (airlines + buses) within Europe first in order to get booking confirmation applying for Schengen visa. It was risky ! But no choice !
Tips: You may make a slightly difference itinerary to submit for visa by remove some destination or change to others which have cheaper connection. So the risk is lower! Bus is way cheaper than Train, and most of the time train is expensive and longer journey then Plane. Just adjust your itinerary to make the most out of your trip and you may save more. See my actual Europe Itinerary in 15 days.
11. Latest personal income tax return. If your company is not able to issue this for you, ask them to make a justification letter and submit this letter to the Embassy.
12. 3 months bank statement and Bank certificate.
13. An international travel insurance (medical expenses and repatriation) covering the entire period of intended stay and valid for all Schengen states. Minimum coverage should be EUR 30,000.
Tips: You may purchase your travel insurance online on Malayan Insurance website . This company is belong to RCBC bank. Base on my observation, this is the cheapest option among other insurance companies which are approved by Schengen countries: 15 days insurance is 1100 peso , 24 days is 1500 peso.
14. Visa fee is €60 = PHP 3140 ( Cash only).
How to apply for Schengen Visa for Foreigner in Philippines
So what to do next after you got all required documents on hands ?
Firstly, Book an appointment online to submit your application. Actually you can book an appointment earlier before done with those documents. But make sure you are ready when the time comes or else it might take an other 2-3 weeks for the next available date to submit.
Tips: Like I said they got huge number of application, you should prepare your documents and submit it as soon as possible. My advise is 3 months ahead of your departure date.
Next, Once you got your appointment date confirmed, print the confirmation and submit together with your documents. You must arrive VFS Global office earlier at least 15 mins before your appointment time. The security guard will check your appointment. If you late, you will have to reschedule and it takes an other weeks to wait.
You will get your number and be asked to wait for your call. After handling the documents to VFS staff, she/he will help you double check if all are valid. If not, you have to bring back to fix it and make an other appointment.
After that, you will pay visa fee in an other counter. They only accept cash, no credit or other mode of payment allowed.
Finally, You will be processed to other room for Biometrics. They will take your picture and fingerprints. When it done, A claim letter will be given to you. That’ all ! Now just relax and wait for your visa status.
You may find more details about Schengen visa application process here
Tips: What if you don’t have enough time to wait for long appointment date granted. VFS Global does have a service call Premium Service in which you can pay higher fee to submit your application at anytime. There will be a staff assigned to you helping you check your document and serve you in a VIP room.
Good luck !