Most probably you have already heard of the Schengen zone where majority of the countries in Europe are its members and where freedom of movement is properly observed. The good thing about it? Even tourists can enjoy this privilege. This makes the Schengen countries a dream destination to a lot of people. Regardless whether you’re a young professional taking a break from work, a retiree who wants to enjoy his retirement funds, or a mere tourist who just wants to see the world, the Schengen is a top choice for most of us.
Unfortunately, not everyone can simply hop in to the next flight and live their dream Eurotrip. Most especially when you’re a Filipino passport holder. I wish it is that easy but it’s not! But don’t worry, there’s still hope for us and the first step that we should take is to get a Schengen visa.
A visa… again?
I would understand if you’re rolling your eyes right now because who likes to go through the nerve-wrecking visa application process? Besides, I have heard a lot of Schengen visa horror stories which makes the entire application a whole lot scarier than it usually is. But hey, we do everything for traveling, right? If you’re determined to take this first step to your dream eurotrip, here’s a guide how to apply for a Schengen tourist visa via the Dutch Embassy in Manila.
Why the Dutch Embassy?
Generally, you apply a Schengen tourist visa to the embassy of the country you’ll be staying the longest (main destination). If you’re planning to visit multiple countries with equal number of days, you will have to apply to the embassy of your first point of entry in the Schengen zone. For this case, the Netherlands should be your main destination or your first point of entry.
Note: I would like to stress out that the rule above is for tourism purposes only. If you intended to apply for visiting a friend/family, you should apply to the country where they are residing. That’s also going to be another type of visa.
Where and how to apply for a Schengen tourist visa in Manila?
The Dutch Embassy in Manila is in the following location:
For first time applicants, you have to register an account in the VFS Netherlands website and schedule an appointment with the Dutch Embassy. Then, you have to appear personally on your schedule and hand over your documents to the consul where these documents will be evaluated. The consul might ask series of questions regarding the purpose of your trip and if you can afford it. If you complied to all the requirements, the application process will be smooth sailing and the next step that will haunt you is the waiting period.
What Are Netherlands Schengen Visa Requirements?
1. A completed and signed Schengen visa application form
- The passport must be valid at least 3 months from the date which you leave the Schengen area.
- The passport must have at least 2 empty visa pages.
- The passport have not been issued more than 10 years ago.
In line with this, you also have to make a copy of your personal details page, previously issued visas, entry and exit stamps, and details from your old passport (if applicable).
3. Passport photo
It should be 35 x 45 mm and have met the Dutch photo standard. If you’re planning to submit old passport photos, it should not be taken more than 6 months long.
4. Proof of travel
Travel itinerary – This is not a confirmed ticket but a roundtrip ticket reservation under your name. It is not advisable to book your tickets in advance but it is not very wise to get a fake plane ticket too– worse if photoshopped! So to play it safe, I would recommend to get a legit ticket reservation from travel agencies because in some cases, the consul will check if the reservation truly exists. If found to be a sham, appropriate sanctions will be applied.
Documents proving that your visit is for tourism purposes – This could be a pre-packaged tour or simply a schedule when, where, and what you’ll be doing all throughout your trip.
Hotel reservation – Again, book a place where you can cancel and most importantly, do not ever submit a fake reservation.
5. Proof of financial capacity
Bank statement for the last three months
A copy of your credit card
6. Proof of rootedness – This is your proof that you do not intend to stay illegally in the Netherlands. If you can, provide as much as you can for a stronger proof of ties. At least, it should be any of the following:
- Employment certificate
- Leave of Absence
- Income Tax Return
- Proof that you are enrolled in the Philippines (if student)
- Land title
- Deed of sale
The proof of travel is usually the reason where some travelers get rejected. The most important part is when you apply, make sure that your documents support your claim that you do not intend to stay illegally.
7. Proof of health insurance
The insurance must cover at least EUR 30,000 of medical costs including hospital care, emergency treatment and repatriation. It must also be valid within your stay and throughout the Schengen zones. Most importantly, the insurance policy should be under your name.
Schengen visa fee costs PHP 3,790 and PHP 1,645 for the VFS service fee. In total, you have to pay PHP 5,435. The fees are only payable in cash and only during your appointment when you submit your documents. It is always advisable to prepare the exact amount.
I submitted the documents… How long should I wait now?
So good luck and I hope you’ll get the best results in your Schengen tourist visa application. Go get that dream eurotrip!