How to Apply for Schengen Visa

I started writing about this Schengen Visa application journey as soon as I got home from our appointment but promised myself not to post this until I set foot in Europe. (To save myself from disappointment and embarrassment haha). But the fact that you're reading this only means one thing — I have been issued a visa!!! Hubby and I just got back a week ago from our 3-week long Europe trip. 

Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Tourist-ing on my last 2 days in Copenhagen



Me and my husband have always dreamed of going to Europe in the distant future but never in our wildest dreams that it would happen that soon.

To cut the story short, my husband was sent to Denmark for some project work and we found the opportunity to make that as our first Euro trip so I tagged along. Even if we only had 2 months notice and despite budget concerns, we still gave it a go. YOLO!

I wanted to share my experience for the Europe trip hopefuls out there as a thank you for having been granted a Schengen visa. This might somehow guide you in your application as a Philippine Passport holder residing in the Philippines.


The Application Process


Holding a Schengen visa gives you access to its 26 member countries, which is a good thing as you don't have to apply for visa on every country you are planning to visit. I don't need to mention here all the Schengen states as you can easily "google" them. It is however important to know which embassy you will apply. As I understand, you have to apply on the embassy of the country you will visit first or the country you will spend the most days at (if you are visiting multiple countries). 

In our case, we applied at Denmark embassy since the main agenda of our trip is for my husband's work. We had plans of visiting other countries during his week off but we didn't book any hotels/transpo yet until we secure our visas. And also to save us the burden of creating a detailed itinerary of our entire trip. After all, you can easily change plans when you are already within the Schengen area provided:

 1. YOU TRAVEL WITHIN THE VALIDITY PERIOD OF YOUR VISA.
 2. YOUR TOTAL DURATION OF STAY IN SCHENGEN DOES NOT EXCEED THE NUMBER OF DAYS YOU'VE BEEN GRANTED REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY COUNTRIES YOU VISIT. DO NOTE THAT
 THE DAY OF YOUR ARRIVAL IN THE SCHENGEN TERRITORY COUNTS AS DAY 1.

Upon my hubby's boss's go signal, hubby scheduled our appointment through VFS Global's website. On our appointment date, we arrived at VFS Global at Ecoplaza Building around 11:25 just in time for our 11:30 schedule.
VFS Denmark is located at the first floor and shares the same room as Belgium, Norway and Austria. 

We lined up at the reception and presented our appointment form and passports. We were then given numbers and were asked to fill out a small stub.

Use of mobile phones are not allowed inside the room so I wasn't able to take photos. There were only 2 counters for Denmark so it took a while before our names were called. The staff at the counters are all Filipinos and looked very accommodating (very far from the strict and unfriendly consuls in other embassies being described in other blogs). Our number was called in after about an hour. I was called in first and I handed my requirements. I also told the lady staff that I am traveling with my husband so she can take note of it.

She let me sign a form as she goes over my documents. Everything was okay except when she asked for our Manila-Singapore flight.

The flight I presented was only Singapore-Copenhagen and Copenhagen- Manila leg.

We actually have a scheduled trip to Singapore even before we learned about this Denmark trip which falls on the same week. So my husband's employer suggested that we just fly out of Singapore directly to Copenhagen instead of going back to Manila. 

So I explained to her that we will be flying to Singapore first and will be staying there for a few days before flying to Denmark. I didn't have a printed copy of our MNL-SIN flight itinerary with me. Good thing there's a printing station at the second floor. She advised me to just print one copy and she'll have it photocopied so I can save on cost. (Printing per page is 20 pesos). So I went out to have it printed from my phone. 

It was my husband's turn to submit his docs when I went upstairs. My naturally "madaldal" husband told the lady that we are watching Coldplay's Concert in Singapore maybe to justify why we are flying from Singapore instead of Manila. He already paid for both our visa fees at the same counter.

I handed the flight itinerary to the lady at the counter as soon as I got back and she asked me to wait for our names to be called to have our biometrics taken. 

Biometrics data capturing was the last step of the application. I just opted to pick up our documents instead of having them delivered and just subscribed to their SMS and Email Notifications (for an additional fee). At least we can save one day of waiting (delivery is within 24hrs upon release of visas). 

Here are the requirements for Visit Other Relatives / Friends. This is the one most applicable to me. I cannot be on business visa like my husband for obvious reasons that I am not related to my sponsor PROFESSIONALLY.

1. Application Form

2. One Passport Size Photo. Just mention to the photo studio that you'll be needing it for Schengen Visa. 
Attach it to the application form. Do not staple.

3. Original Passport

4. Photocopy of Passport (bio page and used pages)

5. Proof of Relationship to Sponsor. Since my sponsor is the director of the company who sponsored my husband's trip, I just presented my husband's company ID and his certificate of employment. 

6. Photocopy of sponsor's passport

7.  VU2 Form or Letter Of Invitation from Sponsor. I have provided both. This was filled out and signed by my sponsor.

8. Bank Certificate (if sponsor will not shoulder your expenses.) You should have 350/ DKK for your entire stay. If accommodation is provided by sponsor, amount required may be reduced. I have requested certificates from 2 of my banks and have them indicate my balance and average daily balance so I didn't have to present my 3-6mos bank statements.

9. Round trip flight reservation. No need to purchase tickets before applying. Best time to make a flight reservation is a day before your application date as most unpaid reservations expire after 24hours. 

10. Medical Insurance with coverage amounting to 30,000 Euros/2.5M Pesos/$50,000. We got ours from AXA. Policy fee is dependent on the number of days of your trip.

Supporting Documents

1. Photocopies of previous passport  (bio page and used pages). I submitted my passport with stamps from 2010-2014 travels including my used Taiwan Visa.

I also planned to include my older passport stamps (prior 2010) but it might be too much.

2. Photocopy of Marriage Certificate

3. Since I am not officially "Self-Employed" yet as I'm currently in the process of registering my cake business, I just presented my DTI Business Name Registration and Barangay Business Permit. I just explained to them that I didn't have the business permit and ITR yet. Plus I also declared in my application form that I'm unemployed. Well, honesty is the best policy.

4. Hotel Booking. I did not need to provide this as my sponsor provided the accommodation as indicated in the VU2 form.


For my husband's business visa, here are the requirements:


1. Application Form
2. One Passport Size Photo attached to the application form. Do not staple.
3. Original Passport
4. Photocopy of Passport (bio page and used pages)
5. VU1 Form
6. Letter of Invitation from the Host Company in Denmark
7. Original Bank Certificate (if the inviting company is not financially supporting the trip). He did not provide any as the sponsor company will shoulder all his expenses.
8. Certificate of Employment, copy of Company ID, Payslips, his daily itinerary in Denmark (work schedule, holiday, conference schedule) provided by his company.
9. Proof of Accommodation. Address was already indicated in the VU1 Form.
10. Roundtrip Flight Reservation
11. Medical Insurance with coverage amounting to 30,000 Euros/2.5M Pesos/$50,000. 

Supporting Documents

1. Photocopies of previous passport  (bio page and used pages). 
2. Photocopy of Marriage Certificate


Tips:

It is best to arrange your documents according to how it they are listed in the requirements. Though not required, it just helps them check easily if you have missing requirements, etc. And dress smartly.  Again, not required but we'll never know if they take note of your appearance.


The Waiting Game

I can say that the application process is easyno more interviews with the consul and no more explaining this and that. As long as you have provided all the requirements, all you need is wait and pray for heaven's blessing.

I received SMS and Email updates that afternoon that our documents were already forwarded to the Danish Embassy.

Danish embassy normally releases visas within 15 days so it was a bit early to expect for another update. But to be honest I was actually worried even before our application date since we were so close to our target flight date.

I tried tracking our application status via their website but it didn't seem to work. Exactly 7 days after we submitted our application, I got another set of messages from VFS (finally!) The messages indicated that our visas were ready for collection. It didn't mention though if it was approved or not. 

At that moment I was a bit relieved that our passports have been released regardless of the result. At least I was 100% sure that we have our passports with us in time for our Singapore trip.  That would also give me ample time to prepare our things for Europe (or not). Hehe. 

Hubs and I went back to VFS Global to pick up our passports. Passport collection is scheduled at 2-4PM only. I was so nervous the entire time we were there, and even more so when we saw disappointed faces of a group of 40-ish ladies (who we also saw at the time of our application) as they read a multiple page document that were handed to them at the releasing counter. I even heard one of them mutter something like "nakakabwisit naman" and she rushed out of the room. Their visas probably got denied. Our names were then called next.

I tried to be as calm as I open the sealed plastic. But I squealed in excitement after finding a letter that came with my passport which read:

"You have been issued a visa for the territories of the Schengen States!"

At that point, I'm still in disbelief so I had to check if  there really is a Schengen Visa pasted in my passport. And yes, there is. 

Note: I'm not in any way connected to the Royal Danish Embassy nor an expert with Schengen Visa applications. I just shared how our visas got approved (my Visit Visa and my husband's Business Visa), and granted a 20 day-stay, single entry.

Even if your case is similar to ours and you submitted the same documents as we did, there are no guarantees that you will be granted visa

Visa processing may also take a while. My husband's colleagues applied one day ahead of us and they didn't get theirs until after 2 weeks. And they've already entered the Schengen area twice mind you. 

Decision will still depend upon the approving staff. Just don't give them reason to doubt your intentions of travelling to the Schengen states. And DON'T TRY TO FOOL THEM WITH FAKE DOCUMENTS, they will find out eventually.

Best of luck!

For other info not posted here, you can go to their website to check the requirements and procedures applicable to you.

Denmark Visa Application Centre,
Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City
1231 Philippines


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