Visiting Sweden in 2017 was never really part of my plan. In October, I was thinking about preparing my documents to apply for a Korean tourist visa since Miguel and I had plans to visit it in December. Little did I know, I am actually preparing for my Schengen visa application to Sweden! I received an invitation to visit Sweden, and I have to leave in 2 weeks.
A year later, Miguel applied for a Schengen visa so he could visit me in Sweden, and stay for up to 3 months. It’s his first Schengen visa, and, luckily, he was granted a 90-day visa. Yay! In this post, I’m going to share how we applied for a Schengen visa—my visa type is Business, and Miguel’s visa type is Visit Girlfriend.
If you are planning to visit Sweden, or if Sweden is your entry point, then you should apply for a Schengen visa via Norway Embassy with VFS Global.
Although the Swedish government just reopened its embassy in Manila, they are not handling the applications for any visitor’s (tourist) visa. VFS Global handles all visa applications to Norway, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden.
How to apply for a Schengen visa
- How to apply for a Schengen visa
- My visa application experience
- Miguel’s visa application experience
- Schengen Visa Application Expenses:
- VFS Global – Manila Address & contact
1. Know your visa type
Each type of visa has a different set of requirements that you need to submit. So, before you prepare your documents, you should know your visa type. When I applied for a visa, the main purpose of my visit to Sweden is business; that’s why my visa type is Business Trip. As for my boyfriend, his main purpose is to visit me, then tourism follows. In that case, his visa type was Visit Girlfriend.
For the visitor’s visa (Schengen Visa – Type), here is the following visa type:
- Business Trip, Official Visit, Cultural or Sports Event
- A family member of EU/EEA national
- Seafarer Joining Vessel
- Visit Boyfriend/Girlfriend,
- Other Relatives/Friends
Click here for more information about each visa type.
2. Gather the necessary documents
You can find the checklist per visa type here. It’s easy to understand and follow since there are descriptions per requirement.
I’ll also share here some information about the requirements listed in the checklist.
Cover letter from the application portal
Register your visa application to Norway Application portal. You will receive a confirmation email including the cover letter after registration. See step 3.
Visa Application Cover Letter or Letter of Explanation
Although they do not require you to write a visa application cover letter, I recommend you to write one.
Applying for a Schengen visa via VFS does not have an interview with the visa officers. So, their decision will be based on the documents that you submitted.
What could be the content of the visa application cover letter?
- The main purpose of your travel. Make sure that you could justify the visa type and the main purpose of your travel.
- Employment details and approved leave of absence. This could show the visa officers that you have a reason to come back to the country.
- Planned itinerary.
- List of documents supporting your visa application.
- If you cannot submit one of the required requirements, write an explanation of why to help the visa officers understand why the document/s is/are not submitted. In my case, I was unemployed, so I had to explain that I could not provide a COE (certificate of employment).
Please try to make your cover letter as short as possible — one-page at most.
If your visa type is visiting someone in Sweden, you need to submit a letter of invitation. For Sweden, the person you will visit should submit the invitation form 241011.
Proof of Sufficient Funds
Original bank certificates/transcripts and photocopy of credit card statements for the last 6 months.
One thing I like about this is Sweden has a specific amount of money required per day. Currently, applicants should have 450 SEK (about PHP 3,000) per day. If you already paid your accommodation and food, the amount required can be lower. In my case, I already have my accommodation and breakfast covered. So, I only have to spend on my food for lunch & dinner and transportation.
Just to be sure, provide an original bank certificate that has enough money for the entire duration of your stay (450 SEK * # of days in Sweden).
Credit cards are also considered as proof of sufficient funds.
Roundtrip Airline Ticket Reservation
Each airline has its own policy regarding ticket reservations. I didn’t reserve my ticket before my application; I paid it right away. But, Miguel contacted an agency to reserve tickets for him.
I want to compare the prices and flight time between different airlines, so I always visit Skyscanner. This is how Miguel got a good deal despite booking 2 weeks before his flight!
Travel Medical Insurance
This may be bought from an insurance company in the accredited list; it should be valid in all Schengen States and cover the entire period of the person’s intended stay or transit. The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30,000.
Check the list of accredited insurance companies here.
I bought my insurance from BPI/MS Insurance Corporation. I bought the policy online, and BPI emailed it to me. The cost of insurance depends on the duration of stay and plan. Currently, BPI/MS Insurance Corporation has three plans: Gold, Diamond, and Platinum. Since the minimum coverage is EUR 30,000, my plan is Diamond which only costs PHP 1,161.55 including taxes.
- Arrange the documents according to the checklist.
- Aside from the checklist, there is a questionnaire that you need to fill out and submit. You can find it on the next page of the checklist. Do not leave anything blank. If the question is not applicable, just simply write “N/A”.
- Attach a letter of explanation if you have document/s that you cannot submit. I didn’t have work by the time I applied, so I explained it in my letter.
- All documents should be in A4 paper size.
3. Fill out the visa application form at Norway Application Portal
- Create an account in the portal. This account will be used in registering an application and booking an appointment where you can submit the documents.
- Register your application. Once you are logged in, you will see two options on the start page: Want to apply and Want to book an appointment. Since you have not registered your application yet, select Want to apply.
- Select the applicable options to your application.
- Fill in the application form. Always double check your information to the application form, and provide the correct details.
- Pay fee. The application fee at Norway Application Portal is EUR 60. You can only pay using a credit card. Also, there is another fee at VFS Global once you hand in your documents.
- Submit the application form. After you submit the application form, check your email for the confirmation email including the cover letter. Print the cover letter.
4. Book an appointment and submit the requirements at VFS Global
- You will then see a list of your applications that is ready for booking. Select Book appointment button.
- Before you proceed with the booking, you will see the steps that you have completed:
- You have filled in the application form for Visitor’s visa
- You have paid the fee of 60 EUR
- Your application has been sent to Royal Norwegian Embassy, Manila
- Next, you will see the steps that you must complete to hand in your application:
- Book an appointment
- Print cover letter
- Print checklist
- Hand in the documents in person
5. Hand in the documents in VFS Global
… and now hope that your application is approved! The processing time was 3-5 working days, but now they changed it to 7-10 days; maximum of 15 days including the weekends.
My visa application experience
October 19, 2017 – Appointment Date
Appointment at 11:00 AM. I arrived at 10:30 and they processed my application as soon as I got there. I guess because there weren’t many people who were applying that time.
The VFS personnel checked my documents and asked about the purpose of my visit before submitting it to the embassy for review. It was a quick one, then I paid a fee of Php 1,612. I also opted to pick up my passport, instead of having it delivered to me.
Next step is the biometrics. I had a quick interview (or probably just a conversation) while doing my biometrics. I told him that I was just invited to Sweden for a final interview. He asked about what I do and assured me that I already got this job, that I should no longer worry. I was really hoping that that was the case. He congratulated me after!
Once done with the biometrics, I only have to wait for their email and text message regarding my application.
It took me only 30 minutes for everything. It could have been a lot faster, but they had to get my biometrics again because of some issues with the machine.
- Applicants can only pay the VFS fee in cash.
- An additional fee of Php 370 for the courier.
October 24 – Decision date
After 3 days, I finally received a text from Royal Norweigan Embassy Manila! I was really nervous because the text says, “Please check your e-mail regarding your application.” Lol! When I checked my email, I haven’t received any yet!
Anyway, I got the email on the same day and my application was approved! This means I can pick up my passport the next day.
October 25 – Pickup passport
Applicants can only pick up their passports at VFS Global from 1:00 to 5:00 PM (pick up time now is from 2:00 to 4:00 PM only). Just bring your ID and receipt upon pickup, then the VFS personnel will give your passport.
Miguel’s visa application experience
November 23, 2018 – Appointment Date
He booked an appointment at 9:00 AM. He came early, but he was allowed to submit his documents before his appointment time because there were a few people only. According to him, it only took him a short while to finish the entire process. Same as before, VFS personnel checked the documents, and removed some documents that are not needed.
After that is the biometrics.
November 29 – Decision date
Even though it was his first Schengen visa application, he was granted a 90-day visa! Yay! He found out immediately his visa duration because the email contains,
The visa has been issued in accordance with the flight ticket reservation and Travel Medical Insurance (TMI) submitted along with the application. The visa cannot be issued for additional days.
December 3 – Pickup passport
The time in getting the passport was changed; you can only collect your passport from 2:00 to 4:00 PM, from Mondays to Fridays, excluding the holidays. Just bring your original receipt and a valid ID.
I only stayed in Stockholm, Sweden for a few days. Sweden is the first country in Europe that I’ve been to! The last time I had an international trip was in 2011. I never imagined that my next international trip was Sweden!
A few months after my stay in Sweden, I wrote about what I love in Sweden.
Schengen Visa Application Expenses:
- Application fee – EUR 60
- VFS service fee – PHP 1,612
- BPI/MS Insurance – PHP 1,161.55
VFS Global – Manila Address & contact
- Norway Visa Application Centre, VFS Global Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Building, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila)