I’m using a speech to text program because I know that this post will be super long. I wanted to be as detailed as possible because like you, I had no idea before how to get a Schengen visa if you’re from Philippines. All I know is that it was super hard especially for a citizen from a developing country like me. Let me tell you now, it’s hard but it’s not impossible. I really hope that by end of this post, you will learn a lot on how to get your own visa.
Just a background about my profile: I’m a 21-year-old Content Writer and Marketer – Digital Marketing for Bolton International since July 2015. I graduated a year ago and I landed my first job as a Search Engine Optimization Writer for Lazada Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore where I worked from March-July, 2015. I have no kids/dependent and I’m not married.
Ask me six months ago and I would tell you how it’s my dream to go see the world and travel. Ask me six months ago and I’ll also tell you how I think it’d be impossible for me to do so because I know it’s hard. Sure, I know that I will eventually get my dreams of traveling around the world but I would have never guessed that I will be able to accomplish it at the age of 21 years old and without the help of anyone financially.
This might not be a big deal to some but let me tell you, I didn’t come from a well-to-do family and to top that, there was an error in my birth certificate. It took me 3 years to finally correct my gender from male to female (but I’m a legit female, okay lol) and those 3 years, you have no idea how many buckets I cried. I can’t get my passport and travel because of that stupid error which I have no idea why it took so long. I missed the opportunities in New York City last year, Dubai, and New Zealand this year because of this gender error.
Long story short, God knows the right timing and weeks after I had my birth certificate error corrected and after I hit my financial goal, I received my multiple-entry Schengen visa.
Everybody wants to go to Europe. Germany, France, Netherlands, Greece, and Spain are just some of the countries you’ll find in there. Everything in Europe speaks of class, culture, and art! However, not just because you have a money and can afford the plane ticket doesn’t mean you can visit those places. You will need a visa to do so and today, I will teach you how you can obtain one.
What is a Schengen Visa?
This is basically a pass or a permission that allows you to travel to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Unlike first world countries, citizens from our country need to apply for this visa in order to travel Europe. They say that it’s harder to get a Schengen visa than a US visa because a single visa will allow you to travel to 24 freaking countries in a maximum span of 90 days / 3 months. By the way, this visa is only allowed for tourism. There’s a different type for work/marriage/study.
I only know how to get one for tourism.
When can I apply?
You can start planning for your trip, completing the requirements, and booking your interview 3 months before your trip. I planned for my trip the first week of November 2015, asked for my employer’s approval for my leave around the first week of January 2016, booked my visa interview by the 30th of January, and completed the requirements by the 26th of February.
For the full timeline on my visa progress, refer to this post.
Is it hard to get one?
Obtaining 150 pages of document is hard but the effort was so worth it.
Do I need to be super rich to be granted a Schengen visa?
Nope. Don’t believe the Internet and the naysayers telling you that your chances are low because you’re not rich. I am not rich! I live near a highway and vulcanizing shop, my parents are teacher and driver, I studied at a public school, I don’t have a car, nor do I have a rich boyfriend to finance me. So, no! As long as you can prove that you won’t stay there illegally, then you’re safe. Just be sure to have a job and a decent savings on your account. My sister applied for a visa last 2013 and unfortunately, she was denied. We think it’s because she didn’t have a job back then when she applied. To secure your chance, look for a job, save some money, and then apply for your visa. Don’t rush because Europe will wait for you. Do it slowly but surely.
Do I need to have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe to be granted a Schengen visa?
Nope. If you can do it yourself, it’s nice to do it yourself. I do have a relative in Europe but the embassy didn’t even ask me to submit a document showing that I do have one. It still depends, though. If you think you lack the money needed for your Europe tour, you can declare that you have a boyfriend/friend/relative in Europe who will support you. As for my case, I am really blessed to have an aunt in Europe who is so supportive and willing to make their home my home base while I travel (I love her so much!) but even if family is family, I still don’t want to cause inconvenience to anyone and ask for money just for my dream.
I’m glad to say that I financed this whole trip 100% using my own money from hard work but I won’t judge you if you need help from someone. Whatever floats your boat just as long as you’re not hurting anyone and you’re happy.
How much money do I need to show the embassy?
It depends upon the embassy. France is an expensive country to live in and they require 56.20 euro per day. The German embassy requires that you’ll have 45 euros or PHP 2,385 per day exclusive of your flight ticket. So for example, I’m planning to stay for 30 days, I need to have PHP 2,385 x 30 = PHP 71,550 + the flight ticket of let’s say, PHP 52,000 = PHP 123,550. Of course, you need to have more than that because the embassy might think you’ll have nothing left when you return from your trip. In my opinion, you need to have at least PHP 200,000 for a 30-day stay in Europe as PHP 123,550 excludes accommodation and activities.
Can you tell me the step-by-step process on how to get my Schengen visa?
- Plan your trip.
Where in Europe would you want to go first and for how long? This is important because you have to apply in the embassy of the country you’ll stay at the longest.
What if I want to go to Germany for 10 days and then Netherlands for 10 days?
If you’ll stay at different countries at an equal time, you should apply at the country you’ll go to first. In this scenario, apply in German embassy.
- Google, Google, and Google
…or Yahoo. Whatever floats your boat but research and read travel blogs to answer your questions. My favorite Schengen visa blog post is by Dream Euro Trip. DJ Yabis is an amazing person and he is very helpful answering people’s questions through the comment section. His post on how to get the visa is actually my homepage for 3 months. It’s so detailed and you will learn a lot from the firsthand experience of the commenters.
- Read the embassy’s requirements
Different countries included in the Schengen zone have a lot of similarities with their requirements but there are still some that differs. I applied in the German embassy and I’m glad that the website is very detailed and it answers a lot of questions.