Ever dreamed of taking a trip through your favorite countries in Europe? If the answer is yes, you’re going to need a Schengen Visa. Here are some tips to ensure that your application will be approved.
1. Apply for a Schengen Visa at least three months before your trip.
Embassies that handle Schengen Visas are often very careful and thorough when looking through the applicant’s documents. They read through them to ensure that they know what you plan to do in their country and that you enough to finance yourself throughout your stay. It’s a meticulous process.
Given this, make sure to allot the embassy enough time to process your application. It can take a week to two months. What good is a Schengen Visa if it’s approved weeks after your planned departure?
NOTE: Wondering about what embassy you should apply to? If you’re heading to multiple Schengen countries, apply to the one where you’ll be staying the most number of days. If you’re staying in all the countries for the same number of days, apply to the first country on your itinerary.
2. Accomplish all of the requirements.
The documents and letters you need to submit vary depending on what embassy you’re going to apply to, but here’s a list of what you can expect:
• Identification documents
• Application documents
Accomplished application form (acquired from the embassy)
Other forms as per the request of the embassy
A document detailing what you plan to do on each day of your stay
A letter explaining the purpose of your trip and why you wish to visit that country (optional)
Hotel reservations (alternatively, if you’re staying with a relative, show birth or marriage certificates as proof of your familial relationship with them)
• Proof of financial capacity
A bank statement that shows records of the past six months
Other documents that show proof of income such as invoices
• Travel insurance
Original and photocopied documents of which the coverage spans your entire trip and is no lower than €30,000.00 (approximately Php 1,706,000.00)
• Proof of having lived and worked in the Philippines
Any document that shows that you currently work in the Philippines such as a certificate of employment or a letter from your company approving your leave of absence
For students, a letter of exemption from studies
• Other documents for minors
Once you know the exact requirements of your chosen embassy, acquire the documents that you need and pass all of them. Make sure you have everything on the list before submitting it. Embassies might not accept your application if they find that your documents are incomplete.
NOTE: Include as much information in your application. The more supporting documents you can include, the better.
3. Include relevant details when writing your itinerary
Relevant details include the number of days you plan to stay in Europe, the start and end dates of your vacation, the cities you plan to visit and your activities while there, and the place you’ll be staying in. Try arranging these things into a neat table.
For the activities section, you don’t have to be too specific. Simply stating that you’ll be visiting a landmark or taking a tour is sufficient.
NOTE: As much as possible, stick to the itinerary you submitted. It’s alright to deviate from it, but keep in mind that you might be asked questions about your original itinerary when you enter another country.
4. For the interview, answer all their questions clearly and concisely
Not all embassies require applicants to go through an interview. They might seem intimidating, but there’s nothing to fear. Most of the questions asked are basic and require little effort to answer. For example, “Why do you want to visit the country?”, “How long will you be staying?”, or “What do you plan to do in the country?”
When you’re called in for an interview, here are some things to remember:
Arrive on time and wear something presentable.
Be honest with your answers.
Answer in a straightforward manner.
Don’t give the interviewer information they didn’t ask for and don’t start telling them unnecessary stories.
Be confident and, if possible, answer the questions in English.
NOTE: If the embassy you’re applying to does not require an interview, consider passing a letter explaining your purpose for traveling. It’s optional but can greatly increase the chances of your Schengen Visa being approved. In the letter, explain your reason for visiting the country and what you plan to do.
5. Show solid proof that you will not be overstaying.
This is important. No embassy wants you to prolong your stay in their country illegally. They need to be assured that you have a legitimate reason to want to go back to the Philippines.
Here are some documents you can pass to ensure them that you will not overstay:
An approved letter of your leave of absence
Proof of possession of real and/or personal property
A letter where you explain why you cannot overstay in the country
For students, a school enrollment certificate
NOTE: Usually, one of these is enough to prove that you don’t intend to overstay, but adding supplementary documents won’t hurt.