- Complete the requirements
Make sure you complete the following requirements for a higher chance of being approved. Even if you have a complete requirement, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be granted a visa. I read horror stories that they passed everything the embassy asked for and they were still rejected. You have to prove that you are coming back and won’t stay as an illegal immigrant so pass documents that prove your rootedness here. I submitted the ff.:
- Passport – must be valid for 6 months upon the conclusion of travel. I photocopied this twice, as well.
- 2 current passport pictures – I had mine taken at Picture City in Market! Market! I asked for a Schengen visa format and when I went home to check it, I realized that they didn’t print it as instructed by the German embassy. I had to go back and show them the accepted format. I’m glad they didn’t charge me for it.
- Visa application form – you can answer the form here. Make sure that you answer it completely because it can’t be printed unless you answered all that’s required. You can fill out the form even if you still haven’t completed your requirements. Do so as early as now.
- Signed declaration – I printed and signed this.
- Original birth certificate – You can order it online for PHP 350 and it will arrive in less than 5 days.
- Flight reservation – I got mine from Dream Euro Trip. It cost me around PHP 1200.
- Bank statement – I have two Unionbank accounts (personal savings and payroll). I went to a branch to ask for my bank statement for 3 months and it costs 50 pesos per page. I spent around PHP 600 for this. (I know, I spent a lot in the past few months LOL)
- Bank certificate – This one is different from the bank statement as this one’s signed by the branch manager. It’s a one-page document acknowledging that you have an account in that bank and it also states how much your current balance is. This costs PHP 150.
- Health insurance – I purchased mine from Care Concept and it cost me PHP 6000+, I guess? It’s nice because they will refund you in case your visa got denied.
- Income tax return – You can ask this from your employer. I presented my current and previous employer’s ITR.
- Certificate of employment – This should indicate your position, how long how you’ve been working for them, your salary and benefits, and your employment status. I presented my COE from my previous employer, as well.
- Leave of absence – Ask this from your HR and they should write that they acknowledge your leave and that you’ll have your job back when you returned from your trip.
- Cover letter – I just wrote a letter explaining my reason to travel Europe and told them that I have a job here blah blah… Just explain your own reason but don’t make it sound you’re desperate lol. One page is more than enough.
- Itinerary letter – Mine’s not that detailed since I have no idea where I’ll go after I arrived in Germany. I just put where I intend to go in Germany. For example, first week would be in Cologne then second week would be Dusseldorf. The more detailed, the better.
Download the cover letter and itinerary letter template here.
Optional documents that the embassy didn’t take:
- Airbnb/ apartment listings – I think I submitted some apartment/dorm listings that I fancy in Airbnb. No need to purchase or reserve one. Just print screen the listings you think you’ll stay at once you’re there.
- Written invitation – I have a relative in Europe and just to be on the surer side, I asked if they could write me an invitation stating that they take full responsibility of me. Surprisingly, the embassy didn’t take this as well as the other documents/identification of my relative. They also didn’t ask about them in my interview.
- Job offers – I know. I am hardcore. I also printed out job offers from companies in the Philippines who wanted to hire me. I want to show the embassy that digital marketing in the Philippines is a booming industry and that I am compensated well that’s why I don’t need to go TNT there. LOL. They didn’t take this one.
- Bills – I photocopied our bills (electric, Internet, phone) just for the heck of it and to prove that we have our own house here in the Philippines. They gave it back to me.
- Book your appointment
Once you have completed the following requirements, you can book your interview appointment here. Be aware that interview slots are booked almost immediately. I booked mine by January 30, 2016 and the whole month of February was already booked! Checking it today (February 26, 2016), the next available appointment is April 19, 2016! Wow, right? Almost 2 months of waiting. So book as early as possible!
- Prepare for your interview
By prepare, it doesn’t mean that you should memorize and rehearse your answer. It means that you should be ready for the questions they’ll ask you. Click here for my German Embassy Manila experience so that you’ll have an idea what to expect on the day itself.
- Waiting game
I got interviewed on a Wednesday and I got my visa the following Monday. Those 5 days? The worst few days of my life! I was paranoid that I’m not going to get it so I visited 5 churches and asked God that if it’s for me, it’s for me. The time I received it via 2Go package, I think the whole street went deaf because I screamed out loud. HAHAHA. Best day ever!
To top that, the embassy added more days in my visa and made it multiple entry even if I just asked for single entry!!! I love you, German embassy!
I don’t want to write a post on what to do if you get denied because I want you to believe that you won’t. Believe in yourself and you will get it.
BTW, please prepare PHP 170 to give to the 2Go deliveryman. It’s cash-on-delivery and I remember being too nervous handing the cash that I kept on dropping the money. LOL. I also gave a PHP 50 tip to the deliveryman and I guess that’s really one of my good luck charms in this visa. Haha!
- Book your flight
I booked mine immediately after I received my visa to avoid expensive last-minute-flight costs. Check out www.skyscanner.com or www.cheapflights.com for cheaper flights instead of booking it directly from the airline. I got my roundtrip ticket for PHP 45,000. Not bad.
- Pack your clothes because you’re going to Europe!
You are going to Europe! Let that sink in! A lot of people dream of this but you’re one of the lucky people who’s blessed with that chance.
10. Thank the Lord and the Universe!
You are in Europe! Go ahead and have the best trip of your life! If you don’t have an itinerary yet, try checking out coach trips where it visits multiple cities in Europe so you don’t need to worry about where to go next. Tour Radar is a good example and they always have codes that can slash 5 percent off of the original price. You can use the code TRIPCOMETRUE for that discount. I am not paid to say this LOL but Tour Radar will remove the stress of planning for your trip.
Have fun and don’t feel guilty on how much you’ll spend! You worked hard for it and you deserve this blessing!
If you have any questions, comment below and I will gladly answer it!
You can also follow my Facebook account for Europe pictures and videos. Thanks and good luck!