A trip to Europe is every traveler’s dream. Who wouldn’t want to go to a place rich in culture, history, and art? Home to fine cheese, gelato, risotto, pasta, coffee, and wine, it's a place Filipinos dream to visit and experience someday.

Europe falls under the Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Greece. This means that you will need a Schengen Visa if you want to visit these countries. Before making travel plans, you should learn more about the Schengen visa and how to get one. Fortunately for you, GoBear has prepared a simple guide that will help you get one.

What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen Visa is the document issued by the appropriate authorities to travelers who wish to visit countries within the Schengen Area. People who aren't residents of one of the Schengen member countries are required to have a Schengen Visa in order to enter said countries.

A Schengen Visa provides entry to 26 countries, meaning you only need one visa when traveling to these countries. This is perfect for people who want to cross countries during a European trip.

If you want to apply for a Schengen Visa, you can apply as early as 3 months before your intended travel period. It's recommended that you apply as early as possible, however, to allow some headroom for delays. You can travel to the Schengen region up to a maximum of 90 days with a single-entry, short-stay visa.

Which countries fall under the Schengen region?

Some countries in Europe, like the United Kingdom and Ireland, are still not part of the Schengen region agreement, but there are countries outside Europe that are part of the region, like Switzerland and Norway.

The following is a list of the Schengen member states:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein

Where do you get a Schengen Visa?

You can apply for a Schengen Visa at the Embassy/Consulate of the country that you intend to visit. If you’re planning to travel to several countries, your application must be made at the Embassy of the main destination country—where you are going to spend most of your days in. If your length of stay in each country is almost the same, apply for the country of first entry.

How do you apply for a Schengen Visa? 

Getting a visa can be a daunting task, but before you give up hope, you must take into account that embassies can be strict to protect their citizens. That’s why the embassies are thorough to their process.

The good thing about applying for a Schengen Visa is that you don’t need an appointment to submit your document at a VIA center, since the facility handles the visa application and there are VIA offices in both Makati and Cebu. So, you can go to the nearest VIA convenient for you.

When you’re applying for a visa have to know which visa you should be applying for. The type of visa will depend on your purpose of travel so you must check the information about Visas which can be found in every embassy’s website.

If you’re traveling, you will either need a Tourist Visa for visiting a friend/private person or a regular Tourist visa. The difference between the two is the intent of travel. If your purpose is to visit your friend and the friend would shoulder parts of the expenses during the travel then you should go for a visit a friend or private person tourist visa. If you’re going to travel and youwill shoulder all your expenses then opt for a tourist visa. 

What are the requirements for a Schengen Visa? 

In every embassy, general requirements are more or less the same but they might require different supplementary requirements, so you should focus only on the visa type you are applying for and the specific embassy you are applying at. Before you apply, it’s helpful to check and research more information regarding the exact visa type you are applying for at the embassy you are applying for.

For a tourist applying for a Schengen Visa for 90 days or less, below are the requirements including the list of general requirements:

Proof of financial means of applicant

- Bank certification, ban books
- Personal bank statement, credit card statements or balance covering the last six months.
- For minors: proof of economic means of parents or legal guardian.

Proof of travel

- A copy of the roundtrip airline reservation with Passenger Registration Number and travel itinerary

Proof of Return 

- Copy of employment contract or social security contributions
- Copy of real estate property – title-deed (if relevant)
- Proof of family ties in the Philippines (e.g. marriage certification)

Proof of Occupation

- If employed: 

- Certificate of employment
- Certificate of leave absence

- If self-employed

        - ITR
        - Business Financial Statement
        - DTI/SEC Registration of business

- If student

        - Proof of enrolment
        - Certificate of leave absence if traveling during school year

If traveling with spouse

        - Marriage Contract
        - Birth Certificate

For non-Filipino application who are valid resident of the Philippines

        - Copy of Alien Certificate (ACR)
        - Re-entry permit

For Minors

       - Affidavit of support  & consent of parents or legal guardian
         Copy of passport of parents or legal guardian
       - NSO birth certificate
       - DSWD Clearance

Tour Travel

       - Proof of accommodation: Hotel confirmation or voucher
       - Detailed day-to-day itinerary of the planned trip 

You might also need: 

       - Cover letter, addressed to the Italian consul, explaining the purpose of your trip
       - Transfer tickets (train/coach/plain/etc) within Schengen cities
       - Latest ITR 

You will be needed to make a personal appearance since your biometrics will need to be taken. There will also be a “show money” which will increase your chance of approval where you can find a guide here.  

Most of the consulates of the Schengen countries are generally fair and will consider all the information and requirements you’ve submitted carefully. Just prepare your application as meticulously as you can and you will have a shot at getting a Schengen visa.

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