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Applying for a Schengen Tourist Visa: The DIY way (For Filipinos)

Dreaming of going to Italy, France, Greece or any of the Schengen States?  Here’s my guide for Filipinos who want to apply without passing through any travel agency (thus saving money).

What exactly are we applying for?  A brief definition of the Schengen Visa

The Schengen Visa has made traveling between its 25 member countries (22 European Union states and 3 non-EU members) much easier and less bureaucratic. Traveling on a Schengen Visa means that the visa holder can travel to any (or all) member countries using one single visa, thus avoiding the hassle and expense of obtaining individual visas for each country. This is particularly beneficial for persons who wish to visit several European countries on the same trip. The Schengen visa is a “visitor visa”. It is issued to citizens of countries who are required to obtain a visa before entering Europe.

The purpose of the visit must be leisure, tourism, or business. Upon the issuance of the visa, the visa holder is allowed to enter all member countries and travel freely throughout the Schengen area. It is strongly recommended to plan your journey within the timeframe of the Schengen Visa as extensions can be very difficult to obtain, thus forcing you to leave to stay in compliance with the Schengen rules and regulations. A Schengen visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen countries for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.

The following 25 countries are Schengen Visa members:
Schengen Visa Countries
  1. Austria
  2. Belgium
  3. Czech Republic
  4. Denmark
  5. Estonia
  6. Finland
  7. France
  8. Germany
  9. Greece
  10. Hungary
  11. Iceland
  12. Italy
  13. Latvia
  14. Lithuania
  15. Luxembourg
  16. Malta
  17. Netherlands
  18. Norway
  19. Poland
  20. Portugal
  21. Slovakia
  22. Slovenia
  23. Spain
  24. Sweden
  25. Switzerland

Important: The Schengen Visa holders are not allowed to live permanently or work in Europe. Schengen Visa holder only have the right to travel as a temporary visitor to the member countries.

Now back to business.

The first thing to do is go to the Italian Embassy Philippines website www.ambmanila.esteri.it/

Download the Schengen Visa application form.  It would also be good to browse around the site for updates on the procedure and requirements.

http://www.ambmanila.esteri.it/Ambasciata_Manila/Menu/In_linea_con_utente/Modulistica/

Now its time to fill up the form and gather the supporting documents needed for the application.

REQUISITE DOCUMENTS FOR TOURIST VISA
 Application form duly filled in block capitals. Application must be signed and dated by applicant on submitting the application.
 Two recent colour passport-size photographs (white background)
 Passport valid for at least 3 months after the expiry date of the requested visa and containing at least 2 empty pages.
 Copy of the passport page containing holder’s data and those mentioning an extension of validity.
 Copies of any previous and current visa (if applicable).

A. DOCUMENTATION RELATING TO THE PURPOSE OF THE JOURNEY
 documents relating to the itinerary:

a) confirmation of the booking of an organised trip or any other appropriate document indicating the envisaged travel plans: flight booking (Please note that no ticket should be purchased);

(For this, I went to our local ticket agent and booked a round trip manila –  italy flight.  They gave me a booking certificate with the flight details and a note that i have a genuine booking with them)

b) in the case of transit: visa or other entry permit for the third country of destination; tickets for onward journey;

 hotel booking or

(I made bookings online and printed the booking confirmation)

 original letter of hospitality from a hosting person living in Italy. In this case, the following documents should be submitted: copy of the identity card or passport of the hosting person plus photocopy of Residence Permit (Permesso o Carta di Soggiorno) if the host person is a foreigner). The model of this letter of hospitality can be downloaded from this web site;

 proof of family ties with the host/inviting person (if applicable);

 Letter from the applicant’s employer stating:

a) Professional status of applicant;

b) period of leave;

(Being employed by Papa, I made a letter stating that i was an employee of my father’s business.  I also placed the date that i started working, my monthly salary, my position and that i would resume my duties when I return.  I placed the business name on the header and let my father sign on the bottom as my employer)

 Overseas Medical Insurance with minimum coverage of Euro 30,000 (including repatriation flight and hospital care) issued by a local insurance company (listed by the Schengen Diplomatic missions) or one based in Europe.

Here is a list of Accredited Travel Insurance Company in the Philippines.

  1. ACE Insurance Philippines
  2. Chartis Philippines Insurance, Inc.
  3. Assist-Card
  4. Blue Cross
  5. BPI – MS Insurance Corporation
  6. Fortune General Ins. Corp
  7. MAA Insurance
  8. Malayan Inssurance Company, Inc.
  9. MAPFRE Insular Insurance Corporation
  10. Paramount Life and General Insurance Co
  11. PNB General Insurers Co., Inc.
  12. Standard Insurance Co.
  13. UCPB General Insurance Co. Inc.
  14. WorldWide Travel Insurance Plans
  15. Everest International Group Administrators Inc.
  16. Federal Phoenix Assurance Co., Inc.

(We got our isurance from Chartis, its P4, 300 for 45 days.  The general rule of thumb is the number of days you will be staying plus 15 days allowance.  We had a harder time looking for isurance for my dad who is over 70, we got rates ranging from P12,000 to P15,000.  We finally went for Blue Cross had it for P6,800 for 45 days.)

B. PERSONAL DOCUMENTATION PERTAINING TO THE APPLICANT’S PERSONAL FINANCIAL MEANS
 proof of financial means in the country of residence:
a) personal bank statement covering the last six months

(I got this from the bank statements sent to me, BPI sends statements that spans 6 months.  If you dont have those, ask your bank or if youre enrolled in online banking it can be printed from there)

 b) documentation pertaining to financial investments (if applicable)

(Photocopies of Time Deposit certificate and SDA’s will do.  The bank can also be asked to give your certificates that lists all your investments)

 c) certificate of payment of tax on personal income (ITR)

(Photocopy of your current ITR)

 proof of employment:

a) letter of employment stating duration of employment and financial terms

 b) pay-slips covering the last six months (if applicable)

 in case the applicant is the owner of a company or an individual tradera) Certificate of Incorporation + Memorandum and Articles of Association or Certificate of Business Name Registration

 b) Form C.O. 7 or equivalent (listings of the Company’s Directors)

 proof of real estate property (if applicable);
 proof of integration into the country: documents attesting the applicant’s professional status
 In the case the applicant cannot provide evidence of personal income, a bank guarantee (“fidejussione bancaria”) established by the host person in Italy should be submitted. The amount of this bank guarantee has to be established in accordance with the relevant decree of the Italian Ministry of Interior;

C. DOCUMENTATION IN RELATION TO THE APPLICANT’S FAMILY SITUATION
 marriage certificate (if applicable)

IN CASE OF A CHILD APPLYING FOR A TOURIST VISA
 the visa application form has to be signed by both parents.

The following documents should be provided:

 marriage certificate of the parents or Sworn Affidavit;
 birth certificate of the child and also any other document providing proof of the identity of the child’s parent;
 letter from the school stating the class attended and giving permission of absence;
If the child is travelling with one of the two parents
 The parent who is not travelling with the child should give a written consent in the form of a Sworn Affidavit issued by a High Court including the parent’s identity photograph and copy of his/her passport

APPLICANTS SHOULD NOTE THE FOLLOWING : Additional documents may be required in certain cases. All the documents should be provided in original and copy. Original documents (except bank statements) will be returned to applicants while copies will be kept with the visa application. Any forged/fake document or passport submitted will not be returned to the applicant who might be prosecuted in both the Italian and the Nigerian Court.

You may also call their toll-free number for inquiries on Visa Requirements:

•  (0063-2) 845 9200

At this point, do not get the managers check for the visa payment yet, wait after you called their hotline.

When you have all the requirements, its now time to call the PIASI call center.  Have your Passport Number, Birthday, Phone Number, Email, Number of days stay, address, purpose of trip written down for easy reference.  The call would be about P32 per minute.

You may get in touch with the PIASI Call Center that will take care of collecting the necessary documents from your residence.
You may contact the PIASI Call Center through the following numbers:

• 1909-101-2200 using PLDT and NDD;
• 1903-101-2200 using BAYANTEL;
• 1900-101-2200 using GLOBE.

When we called, we were asked if it is a travel agency calling for us.  They are not allowed to call for you, it must be personal or made by a relative.  Our call lasted 22 minutes for the three of us.  Our pick up date was scheduled one month later, we asked if it could be sooner and they gave us an earlier date.  The Documents should be placed in a brown envelope to picked up by 2go.  We were told to prepare two checklists of the contents of the envelope and at the bottom should be a disclaimer stating that “Incomplete requirements maybe grounds for the refusal of my application then sign it. The pictures should also be signed at the back.

The visa fee was P4,475  (July 4, 2012).  It should be a manager’s cheque payable to PIASI.  The name of the applicant and Reference Number (given upon calling for the pick up) should be written at the back.

When everything is complete, seal the envelope with clear tape.  We were told to label the envelope:

1st line:  ITALIAN EMBASSY VISA APPLICATION

2nd line:  Tourist Visa for

3rd line: Name of applicant

4th line Passport Number

5th line: Reference Number

Our documents were picked up on July 12, 2012 by 2go.  The waiting time should be about 3 weeks or 15 working days as stated by PIASI.  We got our passports back on July 25, 2012 with approved visas.  We just got our passports and they didnt send back all the documents we sent.

Hope this helps,but please check the embassy for requirements.  If you want a personal interview, you can request it with PIASI.

Total cost per applicant: P10,000 to P12,000 (includes visa fee, insurance, bank certificate fee, call to the embassy and photocopy fees)

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