How I got Schengen visa the easy way
By James Z. Carpio
FOR some countries their citizens need not apply for a visa, they can stay in Schengen- States for a number of days. But for Filipino passport holders you have to go through a rigorous process to travel to a Schengen-State.
The Schengen area is a group of 26 European countries that have lifted passport and immigration controls at their common borders. It operates like a single nation for international travel purposes, with a common visa policy. The Area is named after the town of Schengen in Luxembourg where theSchengen Agreementwas signed. These are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. My destination: Germany.
Take note that some of these countries do not have embassies here in our homeland. Germany has an embassy here in the country. It is located at 25/F Tower 2, RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Ave (cor Sen. Gil Puyat Ave) Makati City Metro Manila, Philippines. Their website is www.manila.diplo.deand phone number (02) 702 3000.
The first thing that you have to do before anything else is to get a reputable travel agency. They will help you with everything and will make your application a lot easier. In my case I availed for myself the services of World Wings International Travel and Tours Corporation. Their office is at G/F K-Plaza Building, 18 Kamuning National Road, Quezon City. Since I live in Naga City.we communicated or transacted business through texts, phone calls and electronic mails. I highly recommend them.
Here are the application requirements for a visa for the purpose of visiting family and/or friends in Germany:
(Please keep in mind that I only included items which applied to my application.)
Your identity as a traveler:
Your original passport, which must be valid for at least another 3 months upon the conclusion of the travel andmust contain two empty pages and one photocopy of the passport, and further valid / invalid passports.And two current passport pictures. (Please check German website for photo specifications.)
Your Visa application form:
One fully completed application form signed by your own hand and completed by you or by the call center. Declaration according to 54 and 55 AufenthaltsG, fully completed and signed by your own hand.
The Embassy checks the purpose of travel:
Proof of relationship with the sponsor (e.g. birth- / marriage certificates, which substantiate the kinship, relationship or friendship).Written correspondence between you and your sponsor, proof of telephone connections and other evidence of relationship between you and your sponsor. (Here I presented a big family photo.)
If no formal obligation is submitted: An informal invitation by the host, in which information is given regarding the host’s exact address of residence, the purpose of travel and the full duration of travel and stay.
Details regarding the means of travel for the outward – and return journey (details regarding the airline), proof of reservation of a round-trip ticket. (Here is one of the reasons you need the help of a travel agency.)
The financial coverage of the cost of your travel and stay:
Formal Obligation (original and a photocopy) according to 66-68 of the German Residence Law, given by your host at the aliens authority “Ausländerbehörde” in Germany that is responsible for his / her area of residence.
Your Travel health insurance:
Travel health insurance, which is valid for all Schengen-States and the full duration of stay for which the visa is applied for, with a minimum coverage sumof 30,000 Euros. Philippine insurances must be accredited and given in the original with a photocopy, German insurances are accepted as a photocopy, fax orscan. (Again here, you need the services of your travel agency.)
Your rootedness in the Philippines:
If you are employed. (Here I just showed a copy of my article in Bicol Mail newspaper.) If you are self-employed. (Here I provided a proof of registration from DTI.) If you own real estate property, e.g. original land title, deed of sale.
The next step is to set an appointment with the embassy for a meeting. My transaction was arranged through their call center. On the date of the interview please be early. Look presentable. And relax. Make sure ALL your papers are complete. Original documents must have accompanying photocopied copies. Be familiar with travel details eg. date of arrival and departure.The duration of your stay. My visa fee was 3,180 Pesos and they do give change. The lady consul was so friendly and accommodating. After ten minutes I was done with everything. It was a pleasant experience. The German embassy staff was very efficient and professional. They provided excellent quality service.
Finally, after five working days, my passport arrived with an approved visa. Success!