3-day schengen visa application

I Got a Schengen Visa in 3 Days With My Philippine Passport: Here’s How!

Let’s face it, visa applications are always a headache. Every Filipino traveler knows that getting a Schengen visa with a Philippine passport requires a lot of time, money, and emotional investment.  Sadly, even these preparations don’t always guarantee a visa approval.

So imagine my happiness when in July 2016, I was granted a 1-year short stay  (aka tourist visa) Schengen visa by the French Embassy in Manila, Philippines. Moreover, the visa processing time in VFS office only took 25 minutes, and I received my Schengen visa in 3 days! VFS Global France states on their site that processing time for Short Stay is ’48 hours from the time a complete application is received at the French embassy’. Processing time may vary according to applicant’s nationality and the time when the visa application is requested.

If you’re planning to apply for a Schengen visa, here are some helpful tips based on my experience. This will not guarantee the same results, but it can be a good starting point for your application. Good luck!

Check if you need to schedule an appointment.

schengen-visa-france-appointmentSince my point of entry was France and I was spending most of my time there, I scheduled my appointment online, as it is required. You may schedule your appointment for your French Visa through this link.

I applied to the French embassy via their visa processing office, VFS Philippines. VFS Philippines handle and consolidate all visa applications for the French embassy, but they don’t do any decision-making themselves.

Tip: Before anything else, check if the visa application office you want to apply to requires a scheduled appointment because not all Schengen State Embassies do. For example, if you apply through the Italian Embassy, they state on Via.phnot required.’

Find out what you need.

Once you have an appointment set up, learn all the applicable requirements. I am a single, employed Philippine resident who has a US visa. I also had a previous Schengen visa issued by the Italian embassy. If you are married, with dependents, the chances are high that you will be given a different set of requirements. These also vary between embassies, so make sure to check the ones relevant to you.

Tip: It is stated on VFS Global France that If you have a multiple entry Schengen visa that is still valid or has been expired for less than one year, you may present a shorter list of required documents.

Click here to find the list of requirements.

State your plans clearly.

france-map-schengen-visa-itineraryA cover letter is required when applying for a Schengen visa through the French Embassy. It must contain your purpose for visiting France, and a proposed itinerary of your trip. Take note, the itinerary doesn’t have to be set in stone. Its main purpose is to give the consuls an idea of what you’ll be doing during your stay. It also helps to emphasize that you will just be there for pleasure. This post is a great guide for creating a cover letter and helped me a lot when I was writing mine.

Tip: I gave additional information about my travel history i.e. the number of times I have been to Europe and which visas I currently have (US and Japan). I also explained why I did not have flights nor train tickets going from one city to another within Europe, as is usually the case. I explained that I planned to drive myself to these cities. Always be ready to justify circumstances on the application form that will seem suspicious.

Make fail-safe arrangements.

You are required to submit proof of accommodation. However, it’s not prudent to start paying for everything just in case something goes wrong. A good way to go about it so to make sure everything can be canceled. For instance, you can make hotel reservations through Booking.com, which allows you to cancel up to a few days before check-in. This way, you have something to show on your application, while still having a safety net.

Tip: When making reservations through Booking.com or Hotels.com, be sure to click the ‘pay later’ option. Some people do this so that in case they need to cancel; they wouldn’t have to go through the burden of getting their credit card charged and asking for refunds.

Make flight reservations, not purchases.

It’s common practice for Filipinos to buy tickets before getting a visa, even if embassies expressly state not to purchase one yet. A better, more economical, way to go about this is to make flight reservations. This allows you to show your trip dates without having to risk losing a lot of money. It is best to search for airlines with free cancellation policies so that you don’t have to wait days or weeks just to get refunds.

Tip: We have partnered with an IATA-accredited travel agency who can provide a flight reservation with a verifiable confirmation number with the airline. You don’t have to spend $1000 for a flight booking without a visa. It’s hassle-free and is a safe way to meet requirements without shelling out a lot of cash. For more information, email info@ellry.com.

Note: You do not need to have a PayPal account to purchase. Once you click buy now, you will be redirected to PayPal. Select quantity, and then click continue. Choose ‘Pay with debit card or credit card’ if you do not have a PayPal account. 

After your purchase, you will be redirected to a form where you will fill out your flight details.

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Buy travel insurance online.

You are also required to get travel insurance to make sure you are covered wherever you are, no matter what happens to you. We have partnered with World Nomads to provide you with an easy to book comprehensive travel insurance. Simply fill in your details below.

Show your strong ties to home.

schengen-visa-france-tiesWhile most embassies require proof of will to return, the French embassy does not. That said, including documents for this won’t hurt. In my case, I thought adding this in my application can help speed up the decision-making process. This document lists “proof of will to return” as the following:

  • Copy of Employment Contract or Social Security contributions (if relevant)
  • Copy of real estate property – title or deed (if relevant)
  • Proof of family ties in the Philippines (e.g. marriage certificate )

Fill up all the relevant forms.

When all your supporting documents are ready, fill up all the relevant forms for your application. You can find the updated application forms for a short stay visa in France here.

Tip: If you’re applying through a travel agency, double check that their forms are the most recent. Some are given old forms and have to redo everything when they get to the VFS office – an unnecessary hassle.

Submit your Schengen Visa application in person.

On the day of your appointment, you have to make an appearance at the VFS Philippines office. Only wallets and a powered-off cellphone are allowed inside, but they have lockers for rent to keep your bags safe.

Tip: If your schedule is tight or you just don’t want to go through the long lines, you can avail of their Premium Lounge Service for an additional Php2000 to accelerate the submission process. Not only was I given juice and ensaymada while waiting in the lounge, but I was also done within 25 minutes. All it took was submitting the application package, paying for fees, doing biometrics, and it’s done!

Wait for the results.

Now the agonizing part. According to the VFS website, Schengen visa processing times may vary. On average, Short Stay visas take 48 hours to process after a complete application is received at the French embassy. However, if your application has mistakes or if the consul needs to see more documentation, this may get delayed.

Tip: You will receive an email from VFS Global about your application status (once your application has been dispatched, and once it is ready to be picked up or mailed to you). You can track your application to the French Embassy online here.

Smile. You are now ready to finalize arrangements!

schengen-visa-france-departures

Once you are granted a Schengen visa, you may finalize and confirm all your bookings and reservations. You will have the option to pick up the passport or send it to your home or office via courier.

Tip: If you chose to have your passport mailed to you but suddenly had a change of heart, you can call the VFS France office and inform them that you would like to pick up your passport instead. I did this, and it took me only 5 minutes to get my passport. I had gone to the VFS office 30 minutes before they closed and there was no line.

With all your travel details ready and your Schengen visa on hand, it’s just a matter of time before you’re on your way. Oh, the places you’ll go!

79 thoughts on “I Got a Schengen Visa in 3 Days With My Philippine Passport: Here’s How!”

  1. Hi. I’m also about to submit my requirements for Schengen visa thru vfsglobal and embassy of Denmark. My dilemma is that the insurance policy I got, even though it mentions all of Schengen area, it did not specify all the Schengen states. It did not mention as well the re-insurer and contact details, plus the company in charge of cashless settlements of claims. The insurance company is listed as accredited by the embassy. Do you think these lack of info would still give me problem with the visa approval? Thanks.

    1. Hi Phoebe, the company where you purchased your insurance policy is usually the one who is in charge of settling the claims. My insurance policy also did not specify which Schengen countries are covered in the document they emailed although I was able to find it through their website. If they are accredited by the Danish Embassy and you bought the policy specifically for Schengen states, with the dates that cover the same dates in your application, you should have no problem. Have a great trip!

      1. i have a question, for example my intention date for travel is september 8 to 24, 2017 going to france, the travel insurance should have allowance for example (september 6 to 26 in the travel insurance cover dates)? 2 days prior to departure and 2 days allowance after the arrival date? Should i need more allowance? Thank you. Hope to hear from you

        1. Hi Mike, if you’re applying via the French Embassy, they require ‘An international travel insurance (medical expenses and repatriation) covering the entire period of the person’s intended stay and valid for all Schengen states. Minimum coverage
          should be EUR 30,000.’ They do not require an allowance although I do add allowances to my travel insurance just to be safe.

          1. Hi Ellry, i have a question my dates going to France is on September 9 to 17 from Manila. Regarding the hotel booking my departure in Manila to Paris is september 9, then my date of arrival in France is on september 10. Should i book a hotel starting on September 10 to 17? or starting on September 9? This question is for embassy purposes as requirement. Hope to hear from you

          2. Hi just submitted my requirements last july 19 til now my visa not arrived yet my trip is on sept 14 when i arrived the grl asked me to rewrite my application but i remembered its only 2 page is it right? I didnt bother to ask because i was nervous its only the first and the 3rd page.

          3. Hi Tina, the number of pages would depend on which embassy you applied to. You can call the embassy or the application center to check on the status. It is also possible that you used an old form that’s why they asked you to rewrite the application.

  2. Hi. I am planning to visit my friend in switzerland on April. I wiss spend most of my time with him and i will stay at their house too. Do you think the embassy will still require me to show hotel bookings and bank statements?

    1. Hi Ivan, you would need a letter from your friend stating that you’re staying with him. You will still need bank statements unless someone else will pay for your trip

  3. Hello good day! First, i don’t have work my german boyfriend support me and i have some receipt of all the remittance, Is it possible to get a tourist schengen visa? He will shoulder all the expenses anyway.

    1. Hi Kat, usually they ask for a letter from the sponsor if another person will be taking care of your accommodations and other travel expenses. Each embassy has different processes and requirements. Please check with German embassy if you’re heading there.

      1. Hi Ms. Ellry,

        Good evening! Your blog is really informative and helpful for those Filipino that are planning to travel in EU.

        I just have some queries,

        1) Proof of Accommodation
        I am going to France to spend Christmas and New Year with him. He is a French citizen. Definitely, I will be staying in his apartment for my whole stay in France. My question is, do I need to provide proof of relationship to the French embassy and what kind of proof do I need to present?

        2) Since he will be the one to do the sponsorship, correct me po if I am wrong, then he needs to provide affidavit of support. My question is, are there any format exist for this specific affidavit if support? Where are we going to obtain it and to be notarize? Is he going to ask it in France and have it notarized there or I will be the one to send the format to him and then send back to me and have it notarize here in ph?

        3) Moreover, given that he will be sending the affidavit of support, copy of bank statement and etc. Do I need to provide my own bank statement?

        Thank you so much in advance. God bless!

        Ann

        1. Hi Ann, you can check this link for a list of requirements http://www.vfsglobal.com/france/philippines/pdf/tourist_100216.pdf

          ‘If staying with a French resident: “Attestation d’accueil” (delivered by the City hall where
          the host is residing (the original must be presented) + copy of that host’s passport or
          residence permit (if citizen of a country outside the EU) + proof of relationship (if
          applicable)’

          The French embassy requires the following regarding finances:
          – Latest personal income tax return
          – Recent (issued within the last month) personal bank certification
          – Photocopy of the last three months’ statement of account of the same bank account

          If you do not have these, contact VFS France directly to check what are their requirements if one shall be sponsored.

  4. HEllo po,ilan days b bgo dmtng ang visa? after ng interview.. Monday n kasi flyt ko ininform ko nmn si officer na mon. Na alis ko sabi nia pplitn nia ds wek. Huhuhuhu nkaka stress.

    Non monday ako nag interview

    1. It depends on which embassy you applied to plus it’s a case to case basis. French Embassy releases visas at least 2 days after application

  5. Hi, my sister has just been granted a visa. Did you show anything besides the receipt and I.D before claiming your visa? or did you just go straight there during the releasing of your visa?

  6. Hi i submit my schangen visa in italun embassy lahore at garry’s visa office plz tell me the proccesing time of schangen visa my husband is british

  7. Hi, I’m planning to go to Paris France to visit my husband, he was working there, my husband is British citizen, he was the one who shoulder all my expenses trip, still I need to show my bank account? As I’m not working, only my husband supporting me financially. Is their a possibility to grant short stay visa to france, just for 2 or 3 months? Please I need a reply,
    Thanks

  8. Hello there. I need your help. I am planning to visit Switzerland this August and apply for SCHENGEN VISA FOR VISIT – SPONSORED BY A RELATIVE OR FRIEND at the Switzerland Embassy. My sponsor will shoulder all the expenses during the whole duration of the trip ( a month). I will be staying at my sponsor’s house. Do I need to present my bank statements even though I won’t pay anything? If yes, is there any required amount for it? Thanks for the help. Xoxo

    1. Hi Ginger, embassies do not indicate any required about although it would help your application if you provided bank statements.

  9. Hi there, I’m reading your blogs now and it really helpful to get some ideas and preparation of documents as well. I just wanted to ask about this “5. Proof Of Employment”. I don’t have a job as of now, my last job was about year 2016. But since 2012, I already traveled singapore, thailand and hongkong. and this year August 2017, i will be applying for tourist visa in France for 10 days. All the expenses will sponsored my boyfriend.
    What should I do for the requirement “5. Proof Of Employment”?
    Is it high possibility that the embassy will grant me a visa without this requirement?
    I have house & lot which is written in my name, is it enough to prove the documents of my property that I will come back in Philippines?
    Thank you and looking forward to your helpful response.

    1. Hi Jho, here is a link to the list of requirements http://www.vfsglobal.com/France/Philippines/pdf/Short-stay-visa-tourist.pdf

      It would be best to call VFS France at +6327904903 to check what documents you would need in replacement of the ITR. If you are not staying in France, please call the embassy where you would spend your time most in the Schengen area.

      It states that if you will be staying with a French Resident: ‘If staying with a French resident: “Attestation d’accueil” (delivered by the City hall where the host is residing (the original must be presented) + copy of that host’s passport or
      residence permit (if citizen of a country outside the EU) + proof of relationship (if applicable)’.

      You can include the title of your property as additional supporting document although you would still need a letter plus other documents from your partner.

  10. Hey There,
    I have a question.I live in Canada.This Dec.2017 im going to Paris for 7 days bali may tour package po ako France,Switzerland and Italy 7 days so anyhow yong brother ko nasa pinas im planning gusto ko syang makasama sa trip na eto dahil doon ako mag celebrate sa 40th birthday ko.all the expenses including airfare,accomodation,tour package,insurance ako ang magbabayad paano ba sya mag aaply ng visa kung sa tour na eto 3 bansa ang pupuntahan namin ang start at end ng tour ay sa Paris po.
    kung mag apply sya ng visa para France kailan bang may letter din ako at ipakita ang itinerary,bank statement ko,income tax at explain na ako ang magbabayad lahat kahit hinde ako nakatira sa France.at ang last may full time job sya sa pinas 12 years na sya sa company,kailangan ba show money ng kuya ko?or travel history?HK naka punta na sya.Thanks and have a wondeful day!

  11. Hi Ellry,

    I am planning to go to Portugal next year. The thing is, my boyfriend, a residence there will support me in everything, even my flight ticket, accomodation, financial needs, etc. Is it still necessary for me to have my bank statement provided in the greek embassy? I actually can provide since I am employed but is it stilk necessary?

    1. Hi Paula, additional supporting documents like your bank statement would most likely help your application. It would be best to consult a travel agency

  12. Hi! Thanks for the info. Very useful tips here. We’re also in the process of submitting VISA requirements at the Austrian Embassy for our June trip. I was just wondering if they would require flight/train tickets in between the cities that we would be travelling to? We’re planning to visit Paris, Prague, Vienna & Budapest. Thanks a lot!

  13. I was wondering how I could “reserve” flight/train tickets in-between the cities that we would be travelling to? I know we could ask travel agencies to do that but is it feasible to process that on our own? We plan to travel from Mnl-Paris, then fly to Prague, take a train/bus to Vienna, train/bus to Budapest then fly home from there. We’ll stay longest at Austria. We also have a VISA for US, Japan and Korea. Thanks again 🙂

  14. Hi Ellry,I have a question. Since I picked my(Denmark Schenley) visa and passport to be picked up. Would be possible if I change it to be delivered via mail instead? Will there be any charges? Please reply ASAP.

    1. Hi Sabine, not sure how it works with the Danish embassy although for sure there is a fee for mailing it instead of pick up. I did the opposite in the French embassy which was first deciding to mail and then changing it to pick up. I was able to change it by calling the VFS office. Try giving the visa processing office a call.

  15. Hi 🙂

    I just applied for Visa going to France this Wednesday. I hope everything goes well, but I’m wondering about checking the status on the VFS website. I’m not sure if I’m entering the Application Reference # right. Do I need to include the slash ‘/’ or should I remove it? I got the text last Wednesday that my application was dispatched to the Embassy and even if I check the reference # now, it is still showing as failed to retrieve status. Thank you in advance for your reply ^^

    1. Hi Jane, sorry I can’t recall anymore how I entered the reference number although I remember having to try it a couple of times because I encountered an error. Although their emails are very timely and updated 🙂

  16. Hi Ellry! This blog post is one of the most helpful I’ve encountered thus far! Thank you for this! I have a question though. I was granted a multiple entry visa 3 months ago but it was valid for only 1 month. I’m planning to apply for another Schengen visa for my upcoming trip next month. Would you know how exactly you were granted a 1-year short stay Schengen visa? Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Mica, they don’t specify how they choose the duration of the validity of the multiple-entry visa; but based on my experience and some of my friends, we think that having a previous Schengen visa helped us gain a longer duration. And also, we applied for a Schengen visa the year after our first one. We don’t know if that actually helped us but just our guess after comparing experiences.

  17. Hi Ellry, I’m planning to apply for Hungarian fiancée visa, since Hungary is part of schengen countries, where can I apply my schengen visa, which embassy? And what are the list of requirements. My boyfriend is a Hungarian citizen and our plan is go to Budapest and get married there. Any information is highly appreciated
    Thankyou so much

  18. Hi! Me and my cousins here in US are planning to visit my other cousin in Europe this coming October and we are planning to invite my sister in the Phil to come with us. This is her first time to go out the country. She is a government employee and married! I am going to shoulder all her expenses and we’re staying in my cousins house! Please can you give me some ideas how to start processing her application and the possible requirements . Thanks!

    1. She can apply to the European country where you would spend the most time. Each Schengen Embassy have different requirements so she may refer to their website.

  19. Hi! I would like to ask if wherr can i book the vfs premium lounge service? My grandma will have it for her appointment, however, i cant check where should it be? Or they will just ask the personnel they want to take the lounge. Thanks!

    1. Hi May, once you arrive VFS, inform them that you would like the premium lounge service. No need to reserve in advance.

  20. Hi! I am Jen,I’ve been to Italy for 3 times with single entry. And I was been planning to get a long term visa or multiple entry, since I visit Italy often. is it possible to get? what requirements should i show to them?

    1. Hi Jen, they don’t have a process for long-term visa although some embassies offer 6 months or 1 year multiple entry visa. You can give it a shot by stating in your cover letter that you would like to request for a 1 year visa and explain that you frequent Schengen countries.

      1. hi Ellry! well I only need a multiple entry visa because I visit Italy often(like every 2 or 3 months) and stayed there maximum of 1month. And i found it very hassle of processing documents time to time. If ever I was grant for 1year multiple entry visa, how many times I can enter to Italy?

  21. Hi! My family and I submitted our application for France visa last Friday (26 May 2017), but we have not yet received any confirmation from VFS if our passports are ready for pick-up. I’m worried because I will be leaving for Japan on Tuesday and I haven’t received any updates from them. Is it normal for them to release passports more than 3 days? Thanks!

    1. Hi Jen, yes it’s usually a minimum of 3 days. You can call VFS France to let them know about your situation and if they can expedite.

  22. Hi! I applied last wednesday. And the lady in the biometrics section told me that it will take about 3-5d for processing. I got an email and sms the same day saying its being dispatched in the french embassy.. And its almost 3-5d. And i havent yet receive any email text or phone call. Hmm what seems to be the problem

  23. hi i would like to ask
    how can i ask visa for my family
    i live in france and my husband is french we would like to invite 2 member of my family from phillipines . what firts step i would do or what i need how to get visa thank you.

  24. Hi ellry!
    I am planning to go to denmark this august. Do i have to book the flights before getting the visa? And where do you think is the best place to apply for a visa schengen visa?
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Noreen,

      Applicants are required to apply to the country where they would spend the most number of days during their trip.

      You do not have to book a flight, only a flight reservation is required. We have partnered with a travel agency who can assist you with a flight reservation that has a verifiable airline confirmation number. You may email us at info@ellry.com for more details.

  25. Hi I would like to ask what should I do to achieve my schengen visa with out any hassle cause I’m going to travel to the Netherlands but I’m under a sponsored ship of my 3 years friend live there we just have a common friend who introduce us. We really don’t have any idea what to do im waiting for the invitation letter and insurance he sent last week.. Can you please help me or any suggestions will do.. Thank you so much if you consider to help me

    1. Hi Aileen,

      If you plan to stay in the Netherlands for more than 3 months continuously, please read this http://www.vfsglobal.com/netherlands/philippines/long_term_visa.html.

      ‘In case you intend to stay for a continuous period of longer than 3 months in the Netherlands, you will need a temporary residence permit (MVV). The Embassy of the Netherlands has to obtain approval for the issuance of a temporary residence permit from the immigration authorities in the Netherlands. It is important that you apply for the temporary residence permit at least 3 (three) months prior to your intended stay in the Netherlands.

      Your sponsor can start the procedure for your MVV application in the Netherlands. If you choose to start your MVV application in the Netherlands you are advised to wait for the decision. The embassy needs to receive the decision before your file can be processed. Your sponsor will be informed by the IND about the result on your application. Once there is a decision you can arrange an appointment to present yourself at the embassy.’

      If you will stay less than 3 months in the Netherlands, refer to this link http://www.vfsglobal.com/netherlands/philippines/tourist.html.

  26. Hi, is it a must to buy already a travel insurance prior to visa application?
    I found a website and it says the embassy will ask for travel insurance after you have been approved.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      From experience, I haven’t encountered a Schengen embassy that did not require an insurance policy upon application.

    1. For France, you will receive an email or text if you subscribed for their notifications when you applied. For other embassies, please check with the application center where you applied with.

  27. Hello,

    Thank you for the informative blog. I just would like to ask if its possible to apply for a Schengen visa in which I will only be travelling for four days. I was granted a 12 days leave only. After the 4th day in europe I will be travelling to Philippines for my Mom’s bday. I had been to UK last month. Not sure if a 4 days plan will justify my application.

    1. Hi Rhea, the Schengen visa requirements does not state a minimum number of days in which you intend to stay so it should be okay. Best to check with the embassy or application center.

  28. Did you also include air/land transfers within the Schengen states when you submitted your application? For example transferring from France to Germany.

    1. Hi Bern, yes I included the air/ land transfers in my Schengen visa application. If you need help with transportation reservations for your Schengen visa application, feel free to email us at info@ellry.com.

  29. Hi!
    Im here in hongkong and planning to apply a schengen visa.. What are those requirements? Im the one to shoulder all my expenses for my tour…
    Thanks and God bless!

  30. When you submitted your requirements to the embassy, did you have a photocopy of each document that you submitted? Even a photocopy of the cover letter, bank statement, bank certificate, travel insurance, etc?

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