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.

NOTE: This post is updated last October 9,2015

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 new online Visa Appointment System. Just click continue under the Visa section and then click Schengen Visa so you can get the link for the online application form. Here is the link for the online application form.

Important tips:
1. A printout of the form is only possible if all the required mandatory fields have been completed. So make sure you fill out the form as much as possible.
2. Make sure you print it and bring it for your visa interview. This is a very important document. The most important part for the data processing is definitely the last page with the barcode.
3. Book early special during peak season between March and August! Schengen visa applications may be submitted three months before departure date. For example, if you’re planning to fly to Europe on July 1 , you can already apply for a Schengen visa as early as April 1. And since it’s peak season, you should already fill out the online application form so you can set a date for your visa interview as early as January or February to make sure you get the schedule you wanted.
4. Each applicant – including children – needs their own appointment.

You don’t want to do it online? Bring your passport and another I.D. (for the security guards) and head over to the German Embassy to set an appointment. But usually they have limited slots and the dates available are usually super late already. So it is better to do it online. Their address is:

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. A travel agency can easily prepare your flight reservation for a fee. Email below if you need help.

confirmed hotel reservation for visa application


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. Your other option is buying your travel insurance online easily via World Nomads, trusted by Lonely Planet and Hostelworld.

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.

What do you think?


1,525 Responses to “How to apply for a Schengen visa and get it in 7 days” Subscribe

  1. J January 30, 2016 at 11:38 PM #

    HI DJ, what if I made a mistake on my visa application and I already printed it. Can I make a new one and print it still? Will they see my past mistakes?

    • DJ Yabis February 2, 2016 at 1:03 AM #

      Sure. Just make a new one.

  2. Ashley January 25, 2016 at 1:54 PM #

    Sir can you help me what kind of visa if I stay only 10 days visit my family in Germany should I need visa

    • DJ Yabis January 25, 2016 at 3:11 PM #

      Yes apply for schengen visa

  3. chryl January 13, 2016 at 9:48 PM #

    Hey guys!

    I think I owe this forum an entry about my visa challenge experience. But first, I really want to thank Dj for this blog post which really helped me during my application. I recieved my visa (via a courier) like an hour before writing this post (of course, I had to celebrate.. haha). GOT A BIG FAT SCHENGEN VISA ON MY 3RD WORLD PASSPORT AND IT FEELS SO FREAKIN GOOD.

    So here’s the deal. I was planning to visit my partner who is in Germany for work. The main reason is to visit him and meet his parents in another schengen country (he is not german, just there for work). He got me a letter of formal obligation. The planned visit is for about 40 days. My advice to everyone is to prove your relationship with your sponsor is geniune. My backed it up with a lot of supporting docs I could think of like his job contracts, his income statements, rent contract, city residence. I prepared pics also, in my case, the visa officer just looked some of them and gave them back to me. Oh, print this skype log calls and some emails too. They want it. It’s my first Schengen visa application and well, my first visa application of any kind. Maybe it’s better to stay less than 2 months or so? I don’t know. Up to you.

    Aside from the proof of relationship you have to REALLY prove you are coming back here in the Philippines. In my case, I think my advantage was that my family and I have a registered business. Prepare your business permits, ITR’s, Corporate General Information Sheets, Certificates from SEC, bank statements, bank certifications, etc. A LOT OF HASSLE but it was worth it.

    Complete the documents, guys. The German embassy has a general checklist on their website. Print it. Freaking read it and dont miss anything! Ya hear? If you completed everything, at least it wont give you an idea that you are gonna be rejected coz of some missing docs. The German embassy is pretty strict.

    Interview. Super basic questions. Everything about your application. Just be honest. Know everything by heart. If you have nothing to hide, of course, it will be a breeze. And yes, wear something decent. Haha nothing crazy ok? This isnt a job interview. Business casual is fine 😂

    I really wish you all well. I know the papers you have to prepare are endless but dont get discouraged. What you will see inside your head, you will have it on your hand.

    😗 besos!

    • DJ Yabis January 13, 2016 at 9:59 PM #

      Thanks for sharing your experience! Enjoy Europe! You will love it!

  4. Nurse kenn January 11, 2016 at 3:50 PM #

    Hi guys,

    I would like to ask if i can still apply for Schengen visa bound to Germany on March even I’m waiting for my new passport till feb 11, 2016. Im currently working in bkk thailand.

    How many percent of chances that i can apply for visa on march noting that my passport is still on process now in Thai Embassy?

    I have no Idea thats why I’m reading the forums here and getting some useful informations. this really helps a lot.

    • DJ Yabis January 11, 2016 at 3:58 PM #

      You need to submit your passport when you go to your visa interview. As long as your visa interview is after you get your new passport, it should be fine I think.

  5. GWEN CORDON January 7, 2016 at 9:47 PM #

    Hi DJ. I would like to inquire about which visa type should I get. I will be visiting my Belgian boyfriend and his family together with my parents next March. I will not need any financial support from him though. Also we will be touring Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain). My question is which visa type should I get? Tourist or Visit a friend? Thank you in advance!

    • DJ Yabis January 10, 2016 at 12:50 AM #

      If you’re not going to get an official invitation letter from him then you can just get tourist visa and mention you will also visit him in Belgium I guess.

      • GWEN CORDON January 11, 2016 at 12:06 AM #

        Thank you for replying. I also availed your services for flight reservations. I have a question about it, will they still need a flight reservations for every leg trip (Paris-Rome, Rome-Barcelona)? And also with the train tickets from Amsterdam to Antwerp. Because I’m not so certain about this.

        • DJ Yabis January 11, 2016 at 1:29 AM #

          No. Roundtrip flights will do and then just show your itinerary. No need for flight reservations for all legs of the trip.

  6. Giann January 4, 2016 at 9:42 PM #

    I have another question, i saw the image of the visa above. Does it mean that i could only travel during those dates?

  7. Giann January 4, 2016 at 3:07 PM #

    Hi DJ. I am planning to submit my requirements on feb 5. When should a get a round trip ticket reservation? Can i get one now?

    • DJ Yabis January 4, 2016 at 8:51 PM #

      Yes you can get one now or best is 2 weeks before your interview

  8. Eric January 3, 2016 at 11:27 AM #

    Nice post…I am planning to go to Italy with my wife and 3 kids. It’s our first. Would all of us need separate application forms? My wife is a homemaker. Would she also need proof of income or establish that she too has money? Do we all need separate travel insurance? Thanks a lot.

    • DJ Yabis January 4, 2016 at 8:52 PM #

      Yes each one needs all this but maybe they have a family application form? Never tried but check it

  9. G December 31, 2015 at 10:50 PM #

    Hi DJ! Would you know how long one should wait to reapply for a Schengen visa if one gets rejected? I opt to reapply instead of appealing at the dutch embassy since i hear it may take one month for it to be processed.


    • DJ Yabis January 2, 2016 at 9:20 PM #

      I think you can apply again as soon as possible

  10. Mariz December 30, 2015 at 1:20 AM #

    Hello Mr. DJ Yabis,

    This blog is so helpful! Thanks so much for the time you took to write this. I have a concern though. My French boyfriend wants me visit him in his country. But I’m only a student, and I will be going there around the summer break of my university, so technically, I won’t be enrolled in that period. How do I prove that I will come back to the Philippines and won’t stay illegally in France? (I don’t know if this will help but, I am under a local scholarship, although the foundation is not strict at all.)

    Thank you so much for your help and happy holidays.

    • DJ Yabis December 30, 2015 at 9:34 PM #

      Try to get a letter from your department or something or from your scholarship provider. that would help.

  11. Sandy December 19, 2015 at 6:59 PM #

    Hello Dj,

    Thank you for sharing your experiences during your Euro travel. These are indeed helpful. I have a slightly complicated case. I hope you can give me an advise.

    How can I establish my ties to the Philippines when I am currently unemployed, do not have any business nor lands owned? I left my corporate job May 2015 to watch over our dad, who is a senior citizen (but still able), because my siblings are in their university dorm during school days. I have regular monthly source of income by doing some research jobs for my cousin in UK (appearing like a remittance in my bank account), and luckily, was able to save enough for my planned Euro trip (planning to go to Paris with my sister, who is currently in China).

    My older sister in China sends monthly remittance (through Western Union) to our family (under my name) coz I am the only one available to receive it. Do you think I could use this as a proof my ties as well?

    Also, I have only traveled to six countries in Southeast Asia prior. Do you think should I continue with the application? Or shall I travel more?

    FYI: I never stayed more than 5 days outside the country because I cannot leave my dad for so long.

    Thank you in advance!

    • DJ Yabis December 27, 2015 at 12:41 AM #

      thats kinda tricky. get a job offer as proof that you’re coming back

  12. EILLY December 18, 2015 at 10:40 PM #

    Hi, I don’t know if this forum still receives answers. I applied for a Schengen visa to visit a friend, I handed in my Formal obligation letter, because I won’t be funding my own stay.
    I received an email from the embassy asking me to send them my bank statement amongst other things. Which I did, today I received another email saying they need my bank statement for 3 months and not just for the current month.
    I am hesitant to send them a 3 months bank statement, because although I am employed and I do receive monthly payment. It is not reflected on my bank statement as I sometimes receive my payment in cash. I don’t understand why they are asking for my bank statements if I already handed in a formal obligation together with all the other documents. It’s my first time applying. Besides on the website it states that if you will be funding your self they will need your bank statement alternatively if you won’t you need a formal obligation. but now they are asking me for both, why is that?

    • DJ Yabis December 27, 2015 at 12:41 AM #

      don’t know. just send them if they are asking for it.

  13. J December 17, 2015 at 3:26 AM #

    How does an approved leave of absence look like? Should it be addressed to the embassy or to me? Does it look like this?

    • DJ Yabis December 27, 2015 at 12:42 AM #

      address to you. any letter that comes from your boss or HR with an official logo of your company should do

  14. Sekar December 13, 2015 at 9:55 PM #

    Hey buddy I missed to take print out of application form… Is there anyway I can get it

  15. Gazel December 10, 2015 at 12:23 PM #

    I am planning to visit my uncle (my mom’s half brother) in Marseille France, tentatively in August 2016. My question is, can I apply a Schengen Visa in Manila (I suppose, I need to apply there as I am holding a Philippine Passport) while I am working here in Singapore? I was trying it online, but the website says I need to book an appointment via PLDT customer service only. I have limited time in January 2016 to do the interviews if I manage to book an appointment.

    Can you advise me, the best way to apply it?
    Thanks a lot.

    • DJ Yabis December 12, 2015 at 1:12 PM #

      Book your appointment asap and do your interview when you re in the Philippines. If you have residency permit in SG i think you can apply there as well

  16. buddy December 10, 2015 at 2:35 AM #

    hello i apply for a spain shengen visa in muzambique and i was told is going to take 15days but to my surprise is more than 15days and am yet to receive my passport….pls advise

  17. Anne December 9, 2015 at 11:08 AM #

    Hi dj its my third time on german embassy this is the first they ask for my itr and bank statement i wonder why they still need those i have my formal obligation.

    • DJ Yabis December 12, 2015 at 1:12 PM #

      thats weird

      • Anne December 27, 2015 at 6:36 PM #

        Ja, I find it weird as well at the beginning but they explain me why after i came back and submit those docs. They say that the consul change as well as the system and everything is back to basic. The embassy got quiet tight as well with applicants. Thanks God i was able to get the visa and spent the holiday here Germany. I am just quiet dissapointed becoz i am expecting for a white christmas but the weather here is crazy feels like spring. 😀 looking forward for snow in the next few days tho. MERRY CHRISTMAS!

        • Kimi January 4, 2016 at 10:59 AM #

          Hi Anne,

          What did they ask you on your interview if you dont mind? And how long did you wait for the results? Thanks!

          • mj January 9, 2016 at 7:40 AM #

            hello good morning i have italian boyfriend is easy to get a visa..if wee both come at italian embasy becous he come here next month he whant me to come when he go back to italy

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