Visa

A Step by Step Guide: How to Get a Schengen Visa 2018

It was two years ago, when me and my husband started planning about our first European Trip. He wanted to badly see Venice and me as a Filipina has this severe case of “Eiffel Tower Fever” so Paris has always been by ultimate dream. 

Getting a Schengen Visa has always been the major hiccup for Filipinos when it comes to realizing that dream. BUT NOT ANYMORE…Recently, there have been a huge surge of APPROVED SCHENGEN VISA. 

But getting one the tasks ahead can feels daunting and can overwhelm you even just before getting started. 

All it takes for you is to get a clear idea in your head and an answer to that common question: 

WHAT WILL BE THE FIRST STEP? 

I’ve been there and like you, I was honestly confused… so here I am writing this post for you. 

I will be helping you making that dream a reality. 

1. FIGURE OUT WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO TRAVEL 

I am talking about the estimated month at least. You need to know when because getting a Schengen Visa takes time. You should have at least more than three months of preparation for this. Having six months time before the month you plan to travel is strongly recommended. The key to having the visa approved is ample preparation, gathering all the documents you need and also knowing when is the best time to visit or take your vacation. 

2. TRAVEL PLAN 

If you know you’re traveling to Europe then you should also know it’s a huge continent. It will honestly overwhelm you if you have no idea where to go first. List your top 2 or 3 European countries as your must-visit being a first time traveler. 

My must visit is Paris because of my silly obsession with Eiffel Tower and my husband’s must visit is Venice because he finds the old city’s charm fascinating. This is when we found out about the third country we wanted to visit is Germany. Not only that it can connect us from Paris to Venice, Italy. The Bavarian region is also very exciting. This helped us narrow down our European Trip. 

3. READ AND RESEARCH A LOT 

Figuring out how many days you want to spend in each country takes time and in relation to that, you will only know how many days by figuring out at first what you want to see and do (attractions and activities) in each country. Reading a lot online about different places helps with the decision making process. 

If you’re the spontaneous type then you don’t have to do a day to day itinerary or travel plans. You can just tell the officer that you wanted your schedule to be more flexible because that’s how you want to travel. But be sure you still have an itinerary to show them since this is one of their requirements and it’s important that you can convince them. Be honest about your travel plans and it’s better to look and know your interests ahead of time to tell them your reasons why you will be traveling there. 

4. FINALIZE YOUR ITINERARY 

On this phase, it is high time for you to look for cheaper or alternative flights (that works for your schedule and budget) and figure out what Schengen country you will be entering first as well as the Schengen Country you will be exiting from. 

This will help you figure out what Schengen Country you need to apply for a Schengen Visa. The reasons are equally as important and also weighs heavily to your application. Although, we will be entering or flying to Paris and also exiting from there (Paris have cheaper flights) but because we will be staying in Germany the most (have the longest duration) out of four Schengen or European Countries we will be visiting during our vacation. It was clear to us that I need to apply for a Schengen Visa in German Consulate in Chicago.

5. VISIT THE OFFICIAL WEBSITE OF THE SCHENGEN COUNTRY 

Every Schengen Country have their own set of official list of requirements and it’s important to know them ahead of time before you set an appointment date.  

6. SET AN APPOINTMENT DATE

You will only need a passport and a green card to set an appointment date. Remember, you can only do this in a certain period of time. The earliest you’re allowed to apply would be 3 months before your sure or final vacation date. You will be denied if your application was too early. You also don’t want to apply one week before your vacation because it would be too risky, delays can happen and what if you’ve already paid a lot for your vacation then you’ve been denied. You don’t want that happening. 

I suggest to be early and within 3 months before your sure vacation dates. 

7. GATHER ALL THE REQUIREMENTS YOU NEED 

Keep revisiting the official website for any changes or updates because that can happen anytime. Keep re-checking and making sure that you have everything you need before the appointment date. Do not just skip any requirement if you think it’s applicable and important to your case. 

Take your time doing this. Aside from researching and planning for your itinerary, this step will take a lot of preparation. So take it slowly and do it one day at a time. One step at a time. 

This will be the make or break of your application. If you ask me, what is the number one tip on getting approved? I will answer “make sure you have all the requirements they need” in a heartbeat. 

Take this phase very seriously and be thorough. 

8. SHOW UP TO YOUR APPOINTMENT, SMILE AND BE CONFIDENT 

This is it! It’s your time to shine and have your visa approved by giving them all the required documents. 

9. WAIT FOR YOUR PASSPORT WITH SCHENGEN VISA 

The last step in the process and the waiting time is no big deal. The waiting game will be over soon. You will have it because this number is the luckiest of all. After two days, I have my Schengen Visa in my hands. Found it in our mail box and yours will be too.

Then that’s it. You have just received your Visa. CONGRATULATIONS!

You can tell me about your experience. I would love to hear all about it!

For any questions, I’m just here. 

HAPPY TRAVELS!

-Anna

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