Thursday, November 1, 2012
" Applying for a schengen visa at the German Embassy "
and so the great news has finally arrived.
Me and dear Pepperoni are heading to Europe this coming winter.
But before we get all wrapped up by this.
First things first,
we have to apply for a Schengen visa.
well, It may sound easy for starters,
but wait till you see the long must-have to bring list,
along with the preparation, the scheduled appearance and the waiting
if your visa has been approved or not.
I would like to share with you my side of the story.
and hope this will help you (readers) for future references. ^0^
Before you read further,
I also suggest you visit the official site of the Embassy.
There's a step by step for Visa, Passport and Consular Service.
Here's the direct link.
I won't bore you with details, but in almost all countries,
It is a MUST for us (Filipinos) to apply for a Visa.
and this can sometimes, proved to be a bit challenging and quite
discouraging at times.
But don't be,
I think the key to this:
- is to be Positive and Optimistic.
- have all your important documents in order,
have it all Xerox.
never assume to leave one out just because you think it's not necessary.
- bring Original and Old documents.
- at least be Honest.
- have a detailed Itinerary (and I mean explain the details.)
- travel insurance( you can ask it from the bank.)
- proof of income ( must have a certification from the bank )
- proof of employment ( you need to assure them that you'd be back )
- be prepared during the Interview.
- always wear a smile. ^-^
Behind the story:
During the planning months ago,
we were hoping to apply at the Spanish embassy,
Because I read in too many blogs that applying at Italian embassy was difficult.
We don't want to risk that.
So, we had our eyes set towards Madrid, Granada, Seville and maybe a bit of Rome.
We don't want to jump to and fro in different places.
Because we had a good recollection at the embassy just last year.
Imagine our surprise when all that has changed this august 2012,
a new set has been implemented.
For Visa applications, you have to contact the VFS Global Centre
(an outsourcing company),
starting August, all of your Visa requirements should be submitted to them
and they will schedule your Vis-a-vis and your documents.
I was a bit worried by that,
I know that things will roll out differently if we have decided on this.
Don't get me wrong,
I know the VFS Centre is a reputable company, but I just don't trust the people running them.
1= We called them one afternoon for some questions regarding application,
during working hours and I waited for almost 20 minutes (sans exaggeration),
But no one even bothers to answer your call.
2= so we emailed them hoping someone would reply.
they did : after 2 days!
Maybe, if I were applying for a different embassy I could reconsider.
But for now, I don't think I can, after days of contemplating.
We changed the I.T. and made Berlin instead as our longest and first stop in Europe.
(this if for tourist visa)
( you have to apply 3months before your departure, you can't apply in advance)
for general info: you need to call this number (for free.)
once you're set,
you need to fill up your schengen visa with them,
they don't accept handwritten.
you must call 1-909-101-7777, which costs at a minimal fee,per minute.
tip: you have to get your passports ready.
your hotel/hostel name + address + tel.nos. ready as
they need that for the application.
note: they need your address as to where you're staying in Germany,
if you're planning to head elsewhere ( e.g Berlin + Milan + Sweden ).
Germany MUST be your longest stay or your first port of entry.
The Visa costs 3100 pesos.(as of october 2012).
After that, you'd be given a schedule for Vis-a-vis and a reference number.
German Embassy Manila
6819 Ayala Ave.
Because I couldn't use my car that day,
and finding a good parking spot can be another difficult task.
we arranged for a Cab to pick us up instead.
Basic Taxi = 642-7777
Inside the Embassy:
Exiting the elevator,
you'd be greeted by 2armed police officers and a security guard.
check your belongings and head to the left room where someone would ask for your schedule.
We arrived too early that day,
we were supposed to be on a 9:30 am interview
but we were there at 7:30am already.
so, the nice lady told us to come back at 8:40 instead,
we had a quick brekkie at hippo something... pink motif resto,
couldn't remember the name, after an hour,
already energized, we head back and again, did
all that check our bags and went to that same (left) room again.
they will review if you have your passports and documents ready.
they will then direct you to another entrance, the (right) room.
this time, you need to leave your cell phones behind.
they have this cute tiny lockers inside,
once inside, you need to manually paste your photo on the schengen visa application.
they will give it to you on that day, and while waiting for your turn,
you need to recheck if there are any changes to be made.
there were 3 consuls at that time.
the nice gentleman who assisted me was courteous and straightforward
Consul: Are you joining a group tour ?
Me: no, I'm traveling with my sister.
COnsul: what's the purpose of your travel?
Me: leisure mainly.
COnsul: Have you been to GErmany before?
Me: yes, I have been to BErlin before,
I think it was way back in 2002 or 2003.
Consul: Do you have your old passports with you?
Me: yes, ( and handed it to him).
and that was it,
He said that my passport would be sent via Air 21 ( a local forwading)
in 3-5 working days for a fee of 160 each.
I couldn't help but commend at how efficient they are,
If you're living here then you'd know the usual waiting dilemma.
To my surprise, it only took less than 3 days,
2 days to be exact and we already had our passports back with a
smile on my face. ^-^
thank you german embassy.