How I got my Schengen Visa via Spanish Embassy in less than one week.
Schengen Visa via Spanish Embassy for Philippine Passport Holders
I received the invitation to fly to Barcelona a month before the proposed travel date.
I was literally jumping and smiling ear to ear when I got the invite.
I thought I would have enough time to prepare for this trip. Remember my travel to London when I only got my Visa days before my flight? Well, almost the same thing happened to me. I was preparing for so many things last month - #HarryBirthdayRuth, travels, travels and some gigs. Partly, I was attracting the wrong energy that I would be denied and I hated it.
Anyway, enough of side stories. Let me tell you about the things that you need to prepare and what you need to do to get your Schengen Visa from Spain Embassy in the Philippines.
A little background on my travel history:
I have been to several countries but not a lot. I have visited United Kingdom, Canada, some asian countries and I have a valid US Visa. BUT (a big BUT), that would not always guarantee that I (or you) would get your Schengen Visa. I have read a travel blog who has the same travel history as mine (even more impressive) but she still got denied. I seriously didn't want to tell the same story on this blog. This ends with a happily ever-after. Thankfully.
What Documents Do You Need for Schengen Visa Application?
First, you need to determine the kind of Visa that you need to apply for. It could be Tourist or Business. Since I was attending a conference, I applied for Business Visa.
- Completed Visa Application which you can download from VFS Global.
- Recent Passport-sized photo taken within 6 months.
- Current passport + old passport with stamps: I photocopied all my VISA and pages with stamps.
- Air Booking which includes all entries and exits to all countries (so yes, basically my flight has been paid and confirmed prior to Visa application).
- Travel Insurance with minimum coverage of 30,000 euros. You have to get insurance from the accredited insurers. I got a #PioneerTravelLight insurance from Pioneer Your Insurance which is super easy to apply. I just printed the copy of my policy and included in my application.
- Hotel Reservation and all Schengen countries (if visiting other countries).
Personal Assets and Savings
Spanish Embassy wants to make sure that you can live decently and pay for your meals while staying in their country. To give you an idea, a decent meal can cost you 10 to 15 euros. But there are some restaurants where you can get sandwiches for 6 euros.
What I have submitted?
- Bank Certificates from both my Peso and Foreign accounts. I offered to give my bank book but they said they no longer need it.
- Copies of my credit card bills for the last 6 months. Although this is not part of the requirements, I wanted to show them that I have a good credit standing and can pay for my expenses.
For the question "how much money do I need to have in my bank?"
I think you need to have enough to cover for the expenses and emergency during travel.
Proof of Socio-Professional Status
It could be Employment Certificate, ITR, Vacation Leave Approval, Business Permit or SEC Registration.
Business Visitor Visa Applicant
I submitted the Letter of Invitation from the company who invited me and the letter provided by the Mobile World Congress team. I got both in Spanish and English. I also submitted the email thread of the actual invitation.
Once I got all the documents completed. It was time to book an appointment. Luckily I got an open slot the following day. Make sure that you book early. I applied two weeks before my travel date.
Submission of Visa Documents at VFS Global
I was back at VFS Global and I made sure I came on time. I went on my own so I had to leave my bag and all other stuff in the cloaking room (charge Php 100). You can bring your mobile phone as long as it is turned off. I brought mine inside just for peace of mind.
The VFS team checked my documents. I paid the fee Php 3,1000 (and additional Php 1, 035 for email and SMS services). Then, I was called to do Biometrics.
Since this is the first time I was applying for a Schengen Visa, I was required to make a personal appearance in the Spanish Embassy in Manila (located in Makati).
They advised me to visit the following day - Thursday and not wait to be called for it (great tip since I only have less than two weeks to get my visa). Spanish Visa Application doesn't have expedite service for rush processing.
Personal Appearance at the Spanish Embassy
Thursday - the following day, I was at the Spanish Embassy in Manila (Makati office) before 8:30 am. There were so many people waiting outside. When the Spanish Embassy guards went down, they asked us to line up and we were given numbers.
One by one, they asked us to go up to the office. They got all the electronic gadgets. Make sure that you deposit them all because there's a xray machine at the 5th floor office :p
Waiting game. The first Spanish Embassy Consul who was assisting the applicants seemed nice and friendly.
The odds. Another consul went inside and started calling out numbers. My number was called. The lady seemed strict and not convinced about my application. I could tell. She was curious about what I am doing - blogging - and getting invited to travel to different cities and countries - to write about my experiences?
She asked me about how much I am earning from all of these. Like my annual salary. I told her I got bank certificates to support what I am doing and planning to do in the next 2 years :)
After all the questions, she handed me back my application form and told me to come back at 1:30 pm. I thought I heard her say "for pick up"?
Pick up?! She said, "for second interview".
It was 9:30 in the morning and she wanted me to come back at 1:30 pm! I needed to cancel my afternoon plans for it.
I was seriously thinking that there would be a second interview. When I went back at 12:30 pm, I got to talk to the guards and saw some people who were waiting for their pickup schedule at 1:00 pm.
They let everyone in and then the 4 of us who were asked to come back at 1:30 pm.
I was MORTIFIED when I found out that those who were asked to come back at 1:30 was for RELEASING.
RELEASING of passport - that swift and fast - meaning, they didn't need to process the VISA because it has been denied!!!
When I handed my application form, the staff looked for it and came back to me and said that it was probably in the VFS office.
VFS office - they probably sent my passport back to VFS because I told during my application that I would pick it up after decision.
So I left the office and asked the woman who just got her passport back. She told me, she didn't get it. I asked if that's her supposed first travel - she said yes. I was not surprised.
So many negativity was running on my mind. I am thinking I got denied and they sent my passport back to VFS Global for dispatch. I was so down that afternoon. I called my friend and I was cry-ranting. He told me that I should not expect so at least when I got a Visa it would be much more awesome and exciting.
I posted this in Instagram because I feel the need to..
I posted this in Instagram because I feel the need to..
Not the most beautiful picture.. because, today is not the most beautiful day. Life has been so awesome (!!!) and I dread that one day I would feel so disappointed about something. This might be that day 😕 I still want to stay positive 💖 Just doing quick microblog here because I need it now. Can I just be broken hearted instead? 😂 #thisisruth
I was thinking prolly because I was having so much awesome time and I needed a little disappointment in my life. I let it go but I got my back up plan. I needed to know ASAP the decision so I could re-appeal.
VFS Global Spanish Visa Application Email
Friday - they are closed for business. I was waiting for an SMS message or email.
Monday - I got a note in my inbox.
Dear RUTH, Processed visa application ref XXXXXXXXXXX is ready for collection at the Spain Visa Application Center, VFS Global, Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave Extension, Makati City from 14:00-16:00, Monday-Friday, except holidays.
I checked my previous UK Visa email that I received. I was thinking, they wouldn't say "processed visa" if there is no visa right?
My Schengen Visa!!!!
The following day, I went to VFS Global to pick up my passport. As usual, it was sealed in a courier envelope and even the VFS staff wouldn't know of the decision.
I was shaking and nervous unwrapping it. I flipped it immediately and the first thing I saw was the stapled note /annotation. It seems that I needed to present myself to the Embassy after I came back from the trip - which means ....
I got my Schengen Visa!!!
I left the VFS Global office exactly how I imagined it to be - smiling ear-to-ear and happy!
It was the happiest day for me after the #HarryBirthdayRuth!
So basically I got my Schengen Visa in less than a week of processing. I submitted my documents on Wednesday, did interview on Thursday and I got it on Tuesday.
You can find more information on Spanish Visa Application in Philippines on the link.
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