Traveling to Europe is a dream for almost everybody. When I got an opportunity to travel to Sweden in 2017, I didn’t expect that I will come to Europe that soon! The Schengen Visa application is quite lengthy and expensive, but once you get your Schengen Visa, everything is worth it!
Every year, Miguel, my husband, travels to Sweden since 2018 and I help him with his Schengen Visa application. So, this step-by-step guide on how to apply for a Schengen Visa is always updated.
Keep in mind that there are no shortcuts in the Schengen Visa application. No one should guarantee your Schengen Visa approval since it is highly dependent on the consul.
The Schengen Visa application could be overwhelming especially for Philippine Passport holders. Don’t worry, though! The requirements are straightforward so don’t feel overwhelmed on your Schengen Visa application.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa
- What is a Schengen Visa?
- What countries are in the Schengen area?
- Where to apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?
- Schengen Visa processing time
- How early can you apply for a Schengen Visa?
- How to apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?
- Schengen Visa Application Fees
- Frequently Asked Questions
- I’m going to another country in Schengen, do I need a double-entry or multiple-entry visa?
- Is there an interview?
- How much pocket money do I need?
- How to find cheap flights to Europe?
- Do I need to book the flight before I submit my Schengen Visa application?
- My Schengen Visa application is rejected. What should I do?
What is a Schengen Visa?
A Schengen Visa is required for Philippine Passport holders. This visa allows you to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days (short term stay). It is usually given to a person if the purpose of the visit is for tourism or business.
If you plan to stay for more than 90 days to study, work, or live in one of the countries in Schengen, then you need to apply for a residence permit.
Related: How to Move to Sweden
What countries are in the Schengen area?
- Czech Republic
Where to apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?
You should submit your Schengen Visa application at the embassy or consulate, or visa center of your main destination in the Schengen area.
Most of the Schengen Visa applications in the Philippines are processed through VFS Global Visa Application Center in Manila or Cebu.
If you are visiting more than one country in Schengen:
- Apply at the country where you spend most of the days, or
- If you will stay in countries with the same number of nights, then apply to the country where you first enter.
Sample itinerary 1:
5 days in Sweden → 3 days in Denmark → 5 days in Norway
- The length of time in Sweden and Norway are the same.
- Sweden is the first country in Schengen that you will visit, so submit your Schengen Visa application to Sweden.
Sample itinerary 2:
3 days in Denmark → 3 days in Sweden →3 days in Norway → 3 days in Finland → 5 days in Iceland
- Iceland is where you will spend most of the days, so submit your Schengen Visa application to Iceland.
For more information on where to submit your Schengen Visa application, visit the specific VFS Global per country:
- Belgium — also represent Luxembourg and Slovenia
- Czech Republic
- Netherlands — also represent Poland and Latvia
If Greece is your main destination, apply at the Embassy of Greece in Makati.
If Italy is your main destination, then you should apply to PIASI VIA Center, also located in Manila and Cebu.
Since my main destination is in Sweden, I sent my Schengen Visa application to VFS Global for Sweden.
Schengen Visa processing time
The processing is approximately 15 days. It may take longer if the embassy asked for more documents or information from you.
I had my Schengen visa approved within 3 working days when I applied in 2017. Miguel has also been approved within 3 working days when he applied in 2018. In 2019, it took him 7 working days to get his application approved.
How early can you apply for a Schengen Visa?
Schengen Visa applicants can now apply six months in advance of a trip. This is a recent change in February 2020. Before, you can only apply for three months in advance.
The latest Schengen Visa application, however, is still 15 calendar days before the intended trip.
Take your time in gathering the Schengen Visa requirements and make sure that it is complete. Apply as early as possible. It is possible that the consul will request more information from you.
How to apply for a Schengen Visa in the Philippines?
The Schengen Visa requirements depend on which embassy you are submitting your application. As long as you follow the steps properly, and you provide all the necessary documents, then your chance of getting your Schengen Visa application approved is higher.
1. Know the purpose of your visit to Schengen
When you apply for a Schengen Visa, there are required documents and general requirements for all applicants. Then each type of visa has specific additional documents that need to be submitted. So, before you prepare your documents, you should know your visa type.
For the visitor’s visa (Schengen Visa – Type), here are the visa types:
- Visiting Family or Friends
- Official Visit, Cultural or Sports Event
The naming of the visa type depends on the visa center where you will apply, but those are types I have listed above are what you will often see. It is important that you know the purpose of your visit before applying.
2. Schengen Visa Requirements
- Schengen Visa Application Form*
- Write your middle name in the Surname at the birth field.
- One recent color passport-sized photograph (45mmx35mm) with white background
- Original passport
- Valid for 3 months after departure from the Schengen area.
- Must have at least 2 unused pages.
- Photocopy of original passport
- The biodata page must be attached to your application.
- Photocopy of previous passports and past visa stamps to the Schengen countries (if any)
- Miguel was asked to submit his other visas as well aside from Schengen visa.
- Photocopy of Paid Travel Medical Insurance
- The travel insurance should be valid for all Schengen states and cover the entire period of your intended stay. It should also cover the cost of emergency treatment and transport home for medical reasons.
- The minimum coverage shall be EUR 30,000.
Accredited travel insurance for Schengen Visa in the Philippines:
- ACE Insurance Philippines
- Chartis Philippines Insurance, Inc.
- Pacific Cross (I recommend this)
- BPI — MS Insurance Corporation (I recommend this)
- Fortune General Ins. Corp
- MAA Insurance
- Malayan Insurance Company, Inc.
- MAPFRE Insular Insurance Corporation
- Paramount Life and General Insurance Co.
- PNB General Insurers Co., Inc
- Standard Insurance Co.
- UCPB General Insurance Co. Inc.
- Worldwide Travel Insurance Plans
- Everest International Group Administrators Inc.
- FPG Insurance Co., Inc.
- Philippine British Assurance Co., Inc.
- Starr International Insurance Philippines
- Oriental Assurance Corporation
- Philippines First Insurance Company
- Pioneer Insurance Company
- Liberty Insurance Corporation
- QBE Seaboard Insurance Philippines, Inc.
- Reliance Surety & Insurance Co. Inc.
- Prudential Guarantee PGA Insurance
- The Mercantile Insurance Co., Inc.
Source: Accredited Travel Insurance – VFS Global Sweden
General Requirements for all Schengen Visa Applications
- Proof of sufficient funds of the applicant for the entire visit (or parents/legal guardian if the applicant is a minor)
- Photocopy of bank certificates/statements/credit card statement or balance covering the last 6 (six) months. This is optional if the reference person has stated that all expenses are covered by him/her.
- Sweden requires you to have SEK 450 per day per person.
- Photocopy of Roundtrip Airline Ticket Reservation with Passenger Reservation Number
- Travel Itinerary
- Proof of will to return
- Photocopy of the employment contract or social security contributions (if applicable)
- Photocopy of Real Estate Property – title-deed (if applicable)
- Other proof of family ties in the Philippines (e.g. marriage certificate)
- Proof of occupation
- If employed
- Certificate of employment
- Statement from the employer that the applicant is granted a leave of absence
- If self-employed
- Photocopies of DTI (Department of Trade Industry) Business Name Registration Certificate or SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) registration
- Business financial statement
- Latest income tax return
- If currently a student
- Certification of enrolment from school.
- If employed
- If traveling with the spouse and/or children
- Photocopy of Marriage Certificate certified by PSA
- Photocopy of Birth Certificates of children certified by PSA
- If minor under the age of 18
- Affidavit of support and consent from parents or legal guardian
- Photocopy of parents’/legal guardian’s passport or government-issued ID
- Photocopy of the minor’s Birth Certificate certified by PSA
- Photocopy of DSWD clearance
Additional documents depending on the purpose of visit
- Photocopy of accommodation
- Detailed day-to-day itinerary of the planned trip
Visit family or friend
- Letter of guarantee or invitation form 241011 for Sweden
- Proof of relationship (birth certificate, marriage certificate)
- Photocopy of the biodata page of the passport and/or travel history of the sponsor in case of non-formalized relationship (boyfriend/girlfriend)
Schengen Visa Application Tips
- Arrange the documents according to the checklist.
- Write a cover letter stating why you are visiting the country.
- If you have documents you cannot submit, add it to your cover letter.
- All documents should be in A4 paper size.
3. Submit the documents and provide biometric data at VFS Global
Some embassies require you to book an appointment with the VFS Global due to the high volume of applicants.
Starting in 2019, Sweden no longer requires applicants to book an appointment with the VFS Global.
The visa fees should be paid in cash inside the visa application center. For other destination’s visa center, credit or debit card is allowed.
All visa applicants will also need to provide their biometric data (fingerprints) at VFS Global. This will only take a few minutes.
VFS Global Visa Application Center Philippines
Ecoplaza Building, Mezzanine Floor, Don Chino Roces Ave, Extension, Makati, 1231 Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines
VFS Global – Cebu
503, Keppel Center, Samar Loop, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines
Schengen Visa Application Fees
Schengen Visa Fee
|Child between 6-12 years of age||40 EUR|
|Child younger than 6 years of age||Free|
VFS Service Fee
- This depends on your main destination’s visa center. But it varies between PHP 900 to PHP 1,600.
Optional Additional Services
Some services may or may not be available in all VFS Global. Also, the prices vary. Visit your main destination’s visa application center website for accurate prices.
|Two-way shipment fee||PHP 1,460||For Sweden Embassy only. Applications are sent to the Embassy of Sweden in Bangkok.|
|SMS Solution||PHP 120||Get an update on each process of your application.|
|Courier||PHP 370||Have your passport delivered straight to your door.|
|Photobooth Service||PHP 170||Have your photo taken based on the requirements.|
|Photocopy (per page)||PHP 5|
Frequently Asked Questions
I’m going to another country in Schengen, do I need a double-entry or multiple-entry visa?
Single-entry Schengen Visa means you are allowed to enter the Schengen area once. As long as you are not leaving the Schengen area, a single-entry visa should suffice.
If, for example, you are traveling to Sweden (part of Schengen) then you want to visit the UK (not part of Schengen) and go back to any Schengen country, then you need to get a double-entry visa.
So, if you are traveling to another country in the Schengen area, then you only need a single-entry visa.
Is there an interview?
It’s possible that you will be asked to provide additional documents to support your application. If deemed necessary, you might also be invited for an interview.
How much pocket money do I need?
The rule of thumb is you should have enough money to support yourself during your stay and for the return trip home. Check with the embassy’s website if the exact amount is specified.
In Sweden, for example, SEK 450 per day or approximately PHP 2,400 is required. It could be lower if the cost of food and accommodation is paid in advance, or if you are going to stay with relatives or friends.
How to find cheap flights to Europe?
It is usually cheaper to travel on weekdays. The price depends on how close the travel time is and it varies from time to time.
Do I need to book the flight before I submit my Schengen Visa application?
It is not advisable to book the flights beforehand. You should wait for the decision from your Schengen Visa application. You can reserve flight tickets through travel websites or travel agencies.
Once your Schengen visa is approved, the visa validity is based on the reserved flight you submitted.
We get reserved tickets from Great Wall International Travel, Inc. in the Philippines.
My Schengen Visa application is rejected. What should I do?
I haven’t experienced this, but in most cases, Schengen Visa applications are rejected if they cannot see that you have stronger ties to the Philippines. If your application is rejected, you will get a note that indicates why it was rejected.
You can send an appeal letter if you think your Schengen Visa application shouldn’t be rejected. I’ve gathered the information that needs to be in the letter:
- Personal Details
- Date when your application was rejected
- Reason why behind your visa refusal
- Why you believe the rejection was incorrect
- Your signature
You can also attach supporting documents together with the appeal letter.
Where is your next destination in Europe? How was your Schengen Visa application?
I hope this guide on how to apply for a Schengen Visa helps you! If you have any questions on how to apply for a Schengen Visa, just comment below and I will try my best to help you. ?
Also, you can always contact VFS Global if you have any inquiries. In my experience, they usually respond fast (sometimes within hours) and gives a clear answer.
Good luck with your Schengen Visa application!