This is Part 1 of How to Plan a Euro Trip series which covers the essential details on how to apply for the seemingly elusive and dreaded Schengen visa and get it in 7 days. This article answers the following questions:

What is a Schengen visa?
What are the types of Schengen visa?
When can I apply?
Which embassy is easy on the visa?
Where can I apply?
How can I apply for a Schengen visa at the German Embassy?
What are the requirements for a Schengen visa?
How much is the Schengen visa processing fee?
What should I wear to the interview?
How is the interview like?
Are the interviewers really scary?
How long does it take for the Schengen visa to be released?
What if I get denied? What can I do next?

Please note that this is based from my own experience applying for a 3-month Schengen visa in the German Embassy in Manila. Schengen visa application is pretty standard so you can learn a thing or two here if you’re applying for one soon.

Are you applying for a Schengen visa in another embassy? Check these other articles:

How to apply for a Schengen visa at the French Embassy and get it in 5 days

How to apply for a Schengen visa at the Dutch Embassy and get it in 2 weeks

IMPORTANT REMINDER: As much as I want to help all of you, please remember that I am NOT an embassy. Please don’t comment, email or message me on Facebook asking if your visa application will be approved. I DON’T KNOW. I would approve all visa applications if I run an embassy because I hate anything that curtails freedom to travel!

So let’s talk.

Have you been dreaming of going to Europe? Have you saved for it, started planning your itinerary and can’t wait to fly to your dream European city and experience the trip of a lifetime? You’re about to make your dream a reality (that’s very exciting!) but first, you have to nail that Schengen visa application.

 

What is a Schengen Visa?

The Schengen visa is a 90-day tourist visa for Schengen zone countries that include 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.

For citizens of unfortunate countries, like the Philippines, we are required to apply for a Schengen visa for short stays in the Schengen zone. But even after you’ve fulfilled all the requirements, you might still not be granted a visa.

With a Schengen visa, we are allowed entry into the zone up to 90 days within a 180 day period. These days don’t need to be consecutive. This means that you can leave the zone to go to other neighboring countries and then come back again and the counting continues. The total is cumulative. Once Day 181 hits, the count resets itself.

If you’re from another country, you can find the specific rules regarding your country at this European Commission website.

If you’re going to study or work in Europe or getting married to a European, you can’t apply for a Schengen visa. Let me repeat it: It’s just for short stays up to 90 days. Please check the relevant embassy for more information on the type of visa and requirements.

 

What are the types of Schengen visa?

There is only one type of Schengen visa which is – tada! – Schengen visa but there are different reasons for applying for one which determines the requirements you need to submit. Some of the common reasons for applying for a Schengen visa are: tourism, business, visiting family and/or friends, attending a fair or participation in a language course lasting no longer than 3 months.

When can I apply?

You can apply as early as 3 months before your expected departure date. For example: if you want to fly to Europe on June 30, you can apply as early as March 30. If you are super sure that you are going, I suggest you apply the earliest possible time because (1) there are many people who are applying for visas and you might not get your desired interview appointment date and (2) you can then book a cheaper roundtrip flight once your visa is approved versus applying last minute and, consequently, booking your flight last minute which makes it astronomically expensive.

Which embassy is easy on the visa?

According to this statistics published in The Economist, 1 in 17 applications to visit the Schengen area is rejected. But not all destinations are equal. In 2010 Belgium turned away almost one-fifth of applications for transit and short-stay visas, whereas Finland rejected only 1.3%. In 2010 Poland issued 7% of all Schengen visas, but as many as one-fifth of long-stay ones. France gave out 2.2 million visas, the most of any Schengen country, but many had only limited territorial validity. So I guess the answer to the question is French embassy.

Where can I apply?

You can apply to the embassies of any of the 26 countries listed above. If you’re visiting more than one country, you need to apply to the country where you will spend your time most. Or you can also apply to the country that you’re entering first. Some people apply to embassies which they have heard were more lenient. However, the requirements for the visa application remain almost the same, regardless of the embassy you choose. The application process might be slightly different but the requirements are pretty standard across all embassies.

I filed my visa application in the German Embassy in Manila because I will be mostly in Germany and I am visiting my friends there.

How do I apply for a Schengen visa at the German Embassy?

For application at the German Embassy in Manila, you must follow their Visa Appointment System. You have two options. Option 1 is to call their call center and set an appointment. Option 2 is by going to the embassy directly and set an appointment for free. Both requires money, the call center charges at least Php 32 per minute while the other option, even though it’s free, requires you to spend money for transportation to the embassy.

Option 1 is more convenient because you can set an appointment from Monday to Saturday by phone from 8am-6pm. While in Option 2, you can only set an appointment on Wednesday and Thursday from 2-3pm. And even then, there are limited slots. I tried doing this the first time and the next available schedule was almost 2 months away. Que horror! So if I were you, save your sanity and call their call center!

How to set an appointment though their call center:

1. Keep at hand all required documents for the visa application (more info in the next subsection).

2. Call their Call Center (numbers and other details are here) available from Monday to Saturday (8am to 6pm).

3. Answer all the questions. You’re basically giving out all info for your application form which makes processing time and setting of appointments more efficient. In my case, it took around 15 minutes so better load up that mobile phone.

Important note from the German Embassy: The period of time from the setting of the interview appointment via the Call Center to the interview appointment in the Visa Section of the Embassy can take up to 4 (four) weeks. In addition, the processing time of the Visa application is 1 (one) week from date of interview (as a rule). You should therefore plan at least 6 (six) weeks from the setting of the interview appointment to the possible issuance of the visa.

You don’t want to call? Bring your passport and another I.D. (for the security guards) and head over to the German Embassy to set an appointment:

25/F Tower 2 RCBC Plaza
6819 Ayala Avenue, 1200 Makati City
Metro Manila, Philippines

Pause. Picture yourself here:

What are the requirements for a Schengen visa?

1. Your Identity

a. Passport, which must be valid for at least another 3 months upon the conclusion of the travel it must contain two empty pages, and one Xerox copy of the passport, and  further valid/invalid passports.

b. Two current biometric passport pictures, face recorded frontally, light background, to be submitted during the interview. Check this for the photograph specifications.

2. Application Form

a. One fully completed application form signed by your own hand.

b. One Security Questionnaire declaration signed by your own hand.

If you set your appointment through the Call Center, you don’t need to fill out the application form because you already did this through the phone. When you go to the embassy at your appointment time, the receptionist will give you your printed application form with all your info and you just have to check if all the info are correct and sign it. You then get a copy of the Security Questionnaire to fill out and sign. It’s free. You can also download it in advance here.

3. Purpose of travel

a. For those visiting for tourism, you need to submit your itinerary and reservation of a roundtrip ticket and confirmation of hotel/guest house that the accommodation has already been paid for.

Flight reservation: Note that the round trip ticket should just be a reservation and not confirmed tickets! You can get this flight itinerary from some travel agencies. Here’s how you can get a flight reservation asap without leaving your house.

Hotel confirmation/reservation: You don’t need to pay for the full price of the hotel/hostel but you need to reserve them. You can reserve accommodation that you can cancel via Booking.com or Hostelworld.

b. For those visiting family and/or friends (which is what I applied for), you need to submit proof of relationship, reservation of a roundtrip ticket and informal invitation by the host (if no Formal Obligation is submitted – see next requirement).

For the proof of relationship, you can use birth or marriage certificates, written correspondence between you and your sponsor, proof of telephone connections and other evidence of relationship between you and your sponsor.

I submitted an invitation letter even though I have a Formal Obligation. I printed email conversations and our flight bookings when we traveled together in Europe which shows that I really know this person.I also submitted a copy of my friend’s passport and Philippine stamps when he visited me in the Philippines. The interviewer even asked for photos but I thought you can’t show photos as evidence but apparently you can. So bring those photo albums!

The informal invitation is just a letter written and signed by your host/sponsor. There’s no specific format for this but I think it should state that he/she is inviting you, how you know each other, how long you are visiting and where you will be staying (their address).

4. Financial Capability

Regardless if you’re visiting for tourism or visiting family/friends, you can prove your financial capability by submitting any of the three:

a. submit xerox copies of your credit cards (no debit cards) and account statements for the previous six months or

b. statements of your bank account(s) for the previous six months, with a confirmation by the bank or

c. if you know a friend or have a family in Europe, then you can ask them to get you a Formal Obligation (or Verpflichtungserklärung in German). You have to know the person as they have to go to the city hall to get this paper for you and then they have to send the original copy to you which you will submit in the embassy. I did this for my application. Effort right? Are you still with me?

Do I still need proof of income if the one who invites me will shoulder all my expenses during my stay in their country?

No. The Formal Obligation covers this.

How much money should I have in my bank?

You must have at least 45 euros per day for your trip if you’re applying through the German Embassy. Other embassies have different monetary requirement.

Check the updated requirements here and here.

5. Travel Insurance

Valid travel health insurance for the full duration of stay for which the visa is applied for, with a minimum coverage sum of 30,000 Euros valid for all Schengen countries. There’s a list of accredited travel insurance companies in each embassy so check their website. But you can also buy insurance online.

I have been using Care Concept insurance for the last 2 years. It’s an affordable German travel insurance you can easily buy online within 5 minutes and you will receive your insurance documents via email. A 30-day Care Economy travel insurance would cost you only 46 euros. It fits the requirements of the embassies perfectly. The best part? You can get REFUNDED FULLY if your visa get denied. Most travel insurance companies don’t do this. Choose Care Economy or Care Visa Protect. Don’t forget to include the liability and accident insurance when filling up the form.

6. Proof that you will not run away and stay illegally in Europe

a. if you are employed: income tax return, certificate of employment (including name, complete address and telephone number of your employer with area code, details regarding your position or professional designation, income, duration of the working relationship, approved leave of absence signed by the employer)  OR

b. if you run your own company: proof of registration and commercial activity of the company in the Philippines (if self-employed: e.g. income tax returns, bank certificates, documents of the company accounts or other,  OR

c. if you are a student: School certificate (for pupils), University certificate: proof of enrollment (for students), if applicable a written exemption from studies by school or university,

d. if applicable, proof of real estate property.

If you are unemployed and would go back to work right after your trip, you can also show your Job Offer if you have one. Save your sanity and make sure you submit any of these documents that prove that you will come back to the Philippines. The people working in embassies are paranoid androids and they would deny you outright if you don’t submit a complete application. Heck, they wouldn’t even accept your application if its incomplete in the German embassy. Just please make sure you have all these documents before applying. Don’t even try if you are missing one. Don’t give them any chance to shatter your dreams!

God knows I die a little every time I hear of someone who just truly wants to travel to Europe or anywhere gets denied a visa.

And if you have intentions to stay illegally anywhere, please don’t! You’re killing yourself and the dreams of many people by doing this. Do you know what it’s like to be an illegal immigrant? It’s not fun that’s for sure. And you get jobs like cleaning toilets and mopping floors. Like in the dark. When no one can see you. Coz you don’t exist. So don’t. OK?

Lots of stuff to prepare right? Don’t get frustrated, imagine being here:

How much is the Schengen visa processing fee?

The visa processing fee is 60 euros and you pay in pesos depending on the day’s exchange rate. I paid Php 3,350. The Call Center normally advises you how much to prepare. Please try to bring the exact amount because the interviewer will eat you alive if you don’t.

What should I wear to the interview?

Most people probably don’t think of this but you should consider how you look when you go to the embassy for your interview. Please wear decent clothes and look respectable. Wear shoes and not slippers! For sure the interviewer is already judging you by how you look. So don’t give him/her the chance to think you’re someone who will stay illegally in Europe to clean toilets for a living. Look your best. Look your most fabulous.

How is the interview like?

The interviewer can ask you any question about your trip and your documents so be ready to answer him/her. Just relax and smile and say “Good morning!” when you get to the window. Don’t show her you’re nervous because you shouldn’t be. You’re great. You’re amazing and you want to go to Europe for an epic vacation. You’re not planning to stay illegally in Europe to mop floors – in the dark! – for a living, right? Right. So relax.

After the interview, they will ask for the visa application fee and your passport and give you a receipt.

Are the interviewers really scary?

Not really. They’re just humans who have a boring, repetitive job of interviewing people to check if you’re planning to stay illegally in Europe. So if you will talk to one who looks bored and can’t be bothered, just smile and be polite and answer the questions confidently. I find the Filipinos who are stationed by the interview windows in German Embassy a bit unfriendly and clueless (?). They don’t smile and they look mean and bored. And when I ask them valid questions which I couldn’t find in their website, they answer with a shrug and told me to check the website. BUT I CAN’T FIND IT IN THE WEBSITE that’s why I’m asking! Ugh. Never mind. Obviously I’m not a fan of front desk employees who give you the look like you owe them your life for being there.

How long does it take for the Schengen visa to be released?

It’s pretty fast these days. In the German Embassy, you will receive your Schengen visa in 7 days. They will send it through courier to your address. I paid the courier 160 pesos. I think you can pick it up at the embassy after 7 days too but you’ll have to talk to them how to do this. If you’re denied, they will send you passport back through courier too.

What if I get denied? What can I do next?

If you’re denied, you can file an appeal. The embassy is required by law to give you a valid reason for denying you and they are also required by law to give you an advice regarding the legal remedy on what you should do to get approved. But there’s no guarantee that you will get approved. They will check your application again including your appeal papers and this can take at least one month.

The deadline for filing an appeal is only 1 (one) month after receipt of the rejection. Example: On June 8th you received your passport and the letter of rejection of your visa application. On the letter of rejection the date of submission (June 8th 2012) is stamped. Your remonstration/appeal must therefore have been received by the German Embassy before or on July 7th 2012 at the latest.

More information about Schengen visa rejection and how to appeal here.

For those getting this rejection reason: your intention to leave the territory of member states before expiry of the visa could not be ascertained, you should send more proof that you are going back to the Philippines like a job or a job offer or proof of your own business.

P.S. I am not making fun of people who clean toilets and mop floors for a living. I respect them. I disapprove of illegal immigration. Just saying. OK.

Go chase your dreams!

P.P.S. Follow me on Facebook or Instagram!

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DJ Yabis is the poster boy of Dream Euro Trip and a modern day renaissance man. Originally from the Philippines, he loves throwing dinner parties and stalking rock stars in music festivals. Subscribe or follow his adventures LIVE on Facebook or Instagram. Learn how to plan your own eurotrip.

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1,285 Responses to “How to apply for a Schengen visa and get it in 7 days” Subscribe

  1. kristel April 24, 2015 at 5:17 PM #

    I’ve already called the hotlime to schedule for an interview. She asked me questions but i noticed that she didnt ask everything in the application form that can be filled out online. Should i still fill out the application form online?

  2. Elisha April 22, 2015 at 2:40 PM #

    Hi!

    The care concept insurance isn’t included in the List of Schengen-accredited insurance companies in the Philippines since it’s Germany-based. Is there a list of insurance companies accredited by the German Embassy?

    • DJ Yabis April 22, 2015 at 7:15 PM #

      Yep its not but it doesn’t mean you cant use it. I used it for the last 2 years. The German embassy have a list on their website

  3. Tara April 19, 2015 at 2:25 PM #

    Hi.. Ive been searching for a blog that can help me for my plan to visit my bf in Germany.. This blog is so helpful to everyone.. Hmm, I read almost the comments here but its not yet clear for me which is better before I start preparing all the requirements.. Ok here goes my situation:
    My bf wants to invite me to germany but he is also planning of coming here i think Sept this year, but he wants to come back with me in Germany, so we are thinking if its better to process my visa 3mons before his flight back to germany or better he comes here and process my visa later then?? He is thinking that if he reserve a seat for me same as his, and my visa granted earlier than our flight, will my visa activated automatically or on the day i enter germany? Thanks for sharing this info and i hope someone helps me with my question ..thank you and Godbless all

    • DJ Yabis April 22, 2015 at 7:17 PM #

      Doesnt matter. Just apply 3 mos before your trip.

  4. Jan April 18, 2015 at 8:31 PM #

    Hello DJ,

    I just scheduled an interview at the German embassy and I was given a 12p.m. slot. Is there really a schedule at that time?

    And another thing: My interview is going to be on May 5. I plan to fly to Germany on June 1. Would there be enough time?

    Thanks!
    J.

    • DJ Yabis April 22, 2015 at 7:18 PM #

      Yes you have to be there 15 minutes before. A month is enough.

  5. Julieth April 10, 2015 at 8:25 AM #

    Hi DJ, good day.Julieth here, i have this situation now, this man from Switzerland offers me a travel, through his company and in the company where am working, we talk for months now and agreed this trip, his company in Swiss will invite and sponsor for a business visa. Sounds too good to be true, right? ha ha
    Now, i hate to say this but pride wise i don’t want to look like a shit mouse in the corner, he he , may i ask you DJ how to lodge a Swiss visa application? should i call them or what? am so totally clueless.
    I had this trauma of a Germany visa pp though grrr
    Tnx a lot DJ, please ill wait for your reply.

  6. kentoy April 3, 2015 at 9:07 PM #

    pm kita sa fb fan page mo

  7. kattrinna April 3, 2015 at 2:11 PM #

    Hi dj, your blog is very helpful. I want to travel for the maximum allowable stay in Europe (3mos), but I know for a fact how difficult it would be to ask my employer to place it in my COE. Do they really require for it to be placed there? Chances are, I’d be allowed to travel for a month (maximum) and it is a bummer if I only get the visa duration for that period.

    • DJ Yabis April 3, 2015 at 5:39 PM #

      Yep your vacation leave letter from employer should state how long they are allowing you to go on vacation. but why do you need to apply for a 3 month visa when you can only go for a month anyway?

      • kattrinna April 3, 2015 at 6:16 PM #

        Ideally, Schengen will just be a part of my intended (long overdue) backpacking trip. Ideally. And it would be a waste if I could only explore it for a month. And given the circumstances, I need a job to get a visa, but I can’t tell my employer that I will be leaving for a long time (/quit) because that would mean that I won’t be able to get the coe. And the best chance I have to prove that I won’t go boinkers sa embassy is to have that coe which most likely would consist of an approved month long vacay lang (and let the rest unfold). Thinking about asking my employer for a longer vacay gives me that guilty feeling too.

        • kattrinna April 3, 2015 at 6:21 PM #

          I just realized that I have just responded publicly. Hmm can you delete my previous comment/”announcement”. Dyahe baka someone could read it and self destruct my plans? Pero please reply pa rin if it is possible. :)

          • kentoy April 3, 2015 at 8:42 PM #

            Hi Kattrinna same tayo ng situation. i want also to maximize the 3 months allowable stay sa schengen visa but my boss will allow me 1 month so i convince them to allow me for 3 months and they offer me a condition and i did accept it and now waiting for my interview next week heheh.

            if you want to know more details about the condition pm me.. heheh sana maka tulong …

            • kattrinna April 3, 2015 at 8:52 PM #

              Yes please :) how do i get in touch?

              • kentoy April 3, 2015 at 9:21 PM #

                pm kita sa fb fanpage ng blog mo

  8. myz April 2, 2015 at 8:26 AM #

    good day!
    Any idea po kung ano po ba ang dapat masunod ung reservation Ko Ng flight Kasi ay Aug 2-September 10, 2015.. 41 days po un din po BA dapat kong ilagay Sa intended to stay?

    Ung nakalagay naman po Sa obligations letter Ko ay allowed akong mag stay Ng 60 days. Ano po ang dapat kong sundin?

    • DJ Yabis April 3, 2015 at 5:40 PM #

      Yep your dates should be the same for your visa application form and your flight reservation.

      • Kat April 21, 2015 at 8:50 AM #

        Hi Dj, your blog is really helpful. But like the recent inquiries, us employed will be having a hard time getting a 3month-long leave of absence. Would it even be easy to get a visa if I blurt out I’ll be staying for 3mos? We’re fixing the Letter of Obligation, at least that would be more substantial,but we’re unsure if the Embassy will only grant me a specifc visa for a time period and would monitor it and use it against me in the future, if in case my application states 2mos but I stay for 3? I hope you can reply with whatever knowledge you have of it. Thank you!

        • DJ Yabis April 22, 2015 at 7:16 PM #

          You cant stay for 3 months if you only apply for 2 mos. They will only give you what you apply for. It doesnt matter how long you want to apply for (max 3 mos) as long as you have all the required documents.

  9. Julieth April 1, 2015 at 9:01 PM #

    Hi DJ, happy holiday.., today i got a strange email, the email address is, Shengen Visa …oh-oh … it says, did you reapply for a German visa? What happened? Just curious cos am planning to reapply after my first attempt failed. With a strange name below and a flower art lol
    Sounds weird, or a trap or mockery ..my bad grrr i never publish my email, is is a scam? sounds one he he
    Wow, how on earth can someone having an email address from Shengen asking me what the hell happened to my application grrr..

    • DJ Yabis April 1, 2015 at 9:38 PM #

      LOL weird. I don’t know how that happened. Sounds like spam.

  10. Ayien March 31, 2015 at 1:37 PM #

    Help nmn po. Wala po kse akong work. Kinakabahan po kse ako baka madenied un visa ko

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