Pinoy Travel: How to Get a Schengen Visa
Includes pro tips!
by Leigh Bagtas | August 20, 2015
Every wanderlust wishes to travel to every country in the world, and if not all, at least most of them. This means going from one continent to another, meeting new people, trying out new food, seeing new sights and getting to know different (maybe even odd) cultures and histories.
While that sounds interesting and fun, you first need to have the proper documents and traveling papers before you can pack a bag and go. Some countries, like in America, Australia, or Cambodia, only need the basic requirements for you to be able to travel there. But countries in the Schengen Area require a specific kind of visa for you to travel around Europe.
But don’t you worry, the most common questions asked when applying for a Schengen Visa are debunked below:
What is a Schengen Visa?
It is the travel document you need to go to most of the countries in Europe’s Schengen Area which includes France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to name a few. You can also use of this visa to travel from one Schengen area to another. Just make sure not to go beyond the travel period time stated in your visa!
Unfortunately, places like Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Ireland are not yet part of the agreement. United Kingdom is also not included in the Schengen Area and requires a different visa processing.
What type of visa do you need?
The Uniform Schengen Visa allows you to stay in the member states for up to three months or 90 days every six months. This is best for tourists who only want to travel for a short period of time.
Under this visa, you also have to specify if your visa allows you for a single, double, or multiple-entry in the country/ies you hope to visit. Another thing you need to specify is the type of category under this visa.
Category A (Airport Transit Visa) allows you to travel from one non-Schengen state to another through a connecting flight in a Schengen state airport. Category B (Transit Visa), meanwhile, allows you to go through the Schengen countries by car, coach or plane to a non-Schengen country within five days. Category C is for a short-term visa, allowing the traveler to stay in a Schengen state for a certain period of time.
Then there’s also the Limited Territorial Validity Visa, which allows you to visit one state or certain states within the Schengen Area. The National Visa, on the other hand, is best for those who wish to study, work, or migrate to one of the Schengen countries.
What are the requirements you need to have in order to obtain a Schengen Visa?
- Print-out of duly filled and signed application form
- Passport, which is valid for at least three months
- Two biometrical passport photos attached to the application form
- Visa fee of 80 Euro, 40 Euro for applicants from 6-12 years old
- Flight and hotel reservation for the entire stay
- Proof of financial coverage of the cost of stay
- Bank statements for the last six months or a formal obligation according to §§ 66-68 AufenthG with a confirmation of the declarant’s financial capacity by the local Immigration (“Ausländerbehörde”)
- Proof of rootedness in the Philippines (e.g. work contract and bank statements showing transfer of last six monthly salaries), proof of enrollment for students, marriage certificate, etc.
- Proof of health travel insurance
- Cover letter, stating reasons why you wish to visit the Schengen area.
Fees and insurances you need to settle
The visa fees vary depending on the type of visa you are applying for and the age of the traveler. But the regular visa fees are EUR80 for the airport transit visa and EUR80 for a short stay visa (less than 90 days). Children between the ages of 6-11 have a visa fee of only EUR40, while children between the ages of one to five are free of the visa fee.
Travel health insurance is needed, especially for the elderly or people who have predetermined medical conditions, to cover up or help with any medical expenses during your trip.
Travel insurances are also a must in order to make up for losses experienced during the trip, like lost luggage, cancellation of flights, or travel agency bankruptcy.
Now, the pro tips:
- All transactions must be done through the corresponding embassy of the country you wish to visit. Be sure to set an appointment at least 15 days before your planned departure. The earliest you can apply is three months before your scheduled trip. Do it as early as you can!
- Always make sure to hand in the documents yourself to the legit clerks and personnel to avoid travel scams.
- Answer the interview questions about your travel truthfully.
- Always purchase your ticket after you have been granted a visa and after personally obtaining it from the agency.
- You can always return to the embassy should you wish to extend your stay in the Schengen country.
- Some countries of entry require a list of countries you’ve visited in a given time frame (usually five years). The more countries you visit and visas you acquire, the bigger your chances are of getting a Schengen visa.
- Bring your updated/financial financial documents (e.g. Income Tax Return, bank statements, land titles, car registration documents, and/or audited financial statements if you have a business).
There, all done! All you need now is to book your flight and see the world! Happy traveling!