TravelThursday: How to Apply for Schengen Visa at the German Embassy

Barring a few stressors in life, I consider myself an advanced visa applica-tor?, despite being no travel agent. In the past five years, I have applied for several tourist visas, some of which I've written in this blog. While it is initially not a fun thing to go through, I ended up just looking for the silver linings {they look nice inside the passports} and that a visa always means one thing: travel.

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 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. - DreamEuroTrip

I'm on my way to places in my travel bucket list as you read this, so I thought I'd share the info, since some readers and friends were asking how to, as well as inspire you to pack your bags and apply for a visa and head on to Europe! In my case, I was going to explore mostly the German cities of Berlin, Munich and Bavaria and others, before proceeding to the Netherlands and Belgium. It was kind of a given to get my visa from the German Embassy. Remember to try to get it in the earliest day possible, that is three months before your arrival in Europe.

  1. Gather all your documents, source: German Embassy website. I admit taking document-gathering a wee bit seriously so I don't have to panic when the three months before arrives. I have a folder with a label Travel, which contains the following:
    • Passport size photographs {check here for the guide and here for my tips on the perfect ID photo}. Bring adequate copies.
    • Valid national passport {at least six months after your arrival}
    • Bank statements for the last three months {BPI was a wonderful option of letting you print your SOA online}; Also, the minimum requirement of financial budget for Germany is at least 45 euros a day {approx. PHP 2,621/day of stay}. I personally would recommend more, just to be on the safe side.
    • Confirmation letter from your health insurance stating coverage for emergency medical treatment with a minimum of €30,000 {I get mine from Assist America}
    • Reference letter from your employer, proof your Vacation Leave is approved {This is my extensive template, one consul said it's really comprehensive!}
    • Proof of group travel/hotel reservation/airline reservation and one copy
    • ITR {as proof you're a legit citizen with regular income}; proof of business registration, commercial activity, ITR for the company
    • Your driver’s license and/or utility bill in your name as proof of residence in the consular where you plan to apply for the visa
    • Bring exact change. The Schengen visa is 60 euros, so I bought PHP 3,000 and several hundreds, fifities and twenties. I think I paid PHP 3200.
  2. When all your documents are complete, call the German Embassy hotlines:
  3. 1-909-101-7777 (PLDT: only landline, SMART: only mobile phone)
  4. 1-903-101-7777 (Bayantel: only landline)
  5. 1-900-101-7777 (Globe: landline and mobile phone)
  6. (Accessibility: Monday to Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
  7. In my case, I used the one for Globe and spent about PHP 900+ for the bill because I had a lot of questions.
  8. Within Metro Manila: PLDT: 32,- PhP/Min; Bayantel: 32,- PhP/Min; Globe: 32,- PhP/Min
  9. From outside Metro Manila: PLDT: 37,- PhP/Min; Bayantel: 36,50 PhP/Min; Globe: 37,- PhP/Min
  10. When you have an appointment already, arrive to the embassy on time. The German embassy in Manila is located at 25/F Tower 2 RCBC Plaza 6819 Ayala Avenue, 1200 Makati City Metro Manila, Philippines. The building security will ask you to leave all your belongings at the ground floor and for your mobile phone, a guard will have you put it in a small locker at the 25F. I came in with just my documents so I didn't have to leave anything.
  11. Your appointment may or may not have some questions, these will be mostly about your trip, the documents you're submitting and how valid they are. Bring all original copies and one set of photocopied ones. This is not the part where you know whether your visa is approved or not so just answer as truthfully as you can. In my case, we already bought our tour package from Trafalgar so I had a lot of documents on hand, and I had a list of hotels where I am staying.
  12. Wait. My appointment was on a Friday and by Tuesday noon, I already had my visa. Normally, I believe, it takes about 5 working days. I guess my notes worked! :P

Note: There is no guarantee that completing all documents will guarantee you a visa but it does help to be complete in all requirements and to be honest in everything. Remember, consuls know everything {I believe in this!} so be truthful at all times.

Good luck and enjoy your Eurotrip! :D
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