For Filipinos, being able to travel to Europe is a privilege and something we will surely treasure for a lifetime. So it is not a surprise, we take our Schengen Visa Application very seriously.
Welcome to the MAIN PART on “How to Get a Schengen Visa” for Travel
This time I will be sharing all the important details regarding the requirements. For those who haven’t read the first part about the “General Information you need to know in getting a Schengen Visa”. You can find it here.
If you’re a Green Card Holder, a housewife (or unemployed), living in the USA and planning to travel to Europe especially with the husband you’ve found the right post for you. For those who are not, you can still get some information from here. I suggest to visit the official website of the Schengen Country Embassy or Consulate and look for the list of requirements specific for your application case.
NOTE: The list of requirements below may be changed or updated. Always revisit the OFFICIAL WEBSITE of the Schengen Country Embassy or Consulate where you will be specifically applying for.
I am listing this (in order) from the official website of GERMAN CONSULATE CHICAGO.
Where I applied and got approved for my Tourist Schengen Visa.
- One Completed Application Form (for Schengen Visa)
- Declaration of Accuracy of Information
- One Recent Passport Size Photo
- Applicant’s valid passport and one copy of the data page.
- Recent proof of applicant’s current residence in the USA (e.g. utility bill) and one copy
- Original of valid US alien registration card or valid US resident visa (type A, E, F plus endorsed I-20, G, H, I, J plus J1 document, L, O, R) and one copy
- Evidence letter of employment / student status/ unemployment/ pension letter / that must be recent, in the original signed and one copy. If you are self-employed: business license + last tax return and one copy.
- Confirmed flight (roundtrip)/travel reservations and full itinerary (if several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries) with the name of passenger and one copy.
- Proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the intended journey, recent bank account statements for the last three months (Bank statements must show the name and address of the owner). We cannot accept Travel Money Cards or cash as proof of sufficient funds.
- If you are financially supported by your spouse / other family member (you don’t work yourself), please also provide your marriage certificate / proof of relationship and a copy of their passport data page, their bank statements and a working certificate. Additionally, the person paying for your trip has to sign a letter stating that they will sponsor you.
- A health insurance covering at least 30.000,- €, valid for all Schengen countries, including medical treatment, medical evacuation and medical repatriation back into the USA as well as repatriation of mortal remains. Only insurance confirmation, no letters of employer, is accepted. The insurance has to be issued in either the US or in Germany. (see information #29)
- Visa fee: 60 Euro payable in US Dollars (the exact USD amount fluctuates according to the exchange rate). Please note that some visa sections will only accept cash or money orders.
For the Application Form: You can get it from the official website and fill it up ONLINE using their VIDEX (German Application Software). Please be reminded to use INTERNET EXPLORER for this. The current application software is not compatible with Google Chrome or Firefox.
There is a time limit (10 minutes) when you are typing your data. So you should type fast BUT always double-check your information. Verify it and do not rush. It is okay to get confused with filling in the dates. Just make sure the final ones should show up in German: Jahr-Monat-Tag (Year-Month-Day).
Once you are done and have submitted it. Just wait for a moment until it will tell you that it’s ready and that’s the time to print the completed form. As of now, there are 8 pages of them. 3 pages will ask for your sign so do it by hand, then write the place and date on the form. You can do this in advance before your appointment day. The address could be just your home address.
For the Declaration of Accuracy of Information: It needs to be signed by hand, then write the place and date. You can also do this in advance before your appointment date.
One Recent Passport Size Photo: I just went to the nearest CVS Store and told the agent that I need a Passport Size Photo for the German Schengen Visa.
For the Valid Passport: Check the validity period during your vacation abroad at least 3 months before the expiration date. It should contain at least two blank pages and must be issued within the past 10 years and not extended.
Original and One Photocopy of the Data Page
For the Proof of Applicant’s Residence: I don’t have my name yet on our utility bill. What I did is to apply for a State ID instead in our city. I don’t drive yet but it was okay since there is also a Non-driver’s Card. It has our current complete home address and that was enough proof.
Original and One Photocopy
Valid US alien registration card or valid US resident visa: This is easy enough. Just make sure your name in the Green Card is correct and especially check the validity period which should at least have three months before it expires after your trip.
For example, since I am still on a Conditional Green Card, that means after two years I have to renew my Green Card and apply for the Removal of Conditions. I can travel to Europe this coming October since the Expiration Date on my Green Card is on April next year.
Original and One Photocopy
Evidence letter of employment / student status/ unemployment/ pension letter / that must be recent, in the original signed and one copy. If you are self-employed: business license + last tax return and one copy.
I don’t have to comply for this one since I am a housewife or currently unemployed. It is not applicable for my case so I skipped it since my husband will be paying for our trip. I have to show proof of that which I will be adding here later on.
Confirmed flight (round-trip)/travel reservations and full itinerary (if several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries) with the name of passenger and one copy.
CONFIRMED FLIGHTS (ROUND-TRIP)
Showing Reservation/Confirmation Number and your complete name on it reflecting your passport. It should be a ROUND-TRIP Tickets because that’s a major proof you won’t be overstaying.
I will be traveling with my husband so both our names are on the plane tickets. I know it is not necessarily needed to purchase them BUT on our case, the plane tickets that can only be cancelled or have a “refund feature” cost so much more at that time and it wasn’t practical or ideal at least for us. We decided to just invest around 500 USD and just went ahead and purchased the round-trip plane tickets for our travel to Europe.
My husband was the one who looked for the budget airlines and we found Norwegian Airlines going to Paris from Boston really cost-friendly then going back to the USA, we found one with TAP Portugal from Venice, Italy with a connecting flight to Portugal going to Boston.
It is always advisable though not to purchase the tickets UNTIL your Schengen Visa is Approved. Find what works for you best.
From the Official Website: Evidence of hotel booking, confirmed hotel reservations for all Schengen countries that will be part of the trip, stating name, address and telephone of the hotel, including confirmation number as well as name of the guest, covering all the stay in the Schengen countries and one copy. For travelers on a cruise ship: please provide booking with detailed itinerary and address of first port of entry.
In our case, we booked our hotels in Europe using Expedia and Priceline (which is affiliated or under Booking.com according to the agent we talked to). At first, all the hotel reservations only states the name of my husband but since we need to be certain and have stronger application on my favor. My husband called the hotline or Customer Service of Priceline and it was such a good news because you can actually edit and add a guest name on your hotel reservations and just print them. Same thing goes with Expedia.
So all of our hotel reservations both have our names on it. In our experience in looking for hotels, we booked or chose the ones that can be cancelled and has a pay later feature (when you check-in). This is so helpful because you don’t want to invest more of your money especially now you don’t have your Schengen Visa yet.
Speaking from my experience, you don’t need to book directly from the hotels and have them fax your reservation or confirmation. You can definitely use Booking.com, Expedia, Priceline and whatnot in applying for your Schengen Visa and just print the confirmed hotel reservations at home.
From the Official Website: If several Schengen States will be visited or if the trip covers several Schengen States and non-Schengen countries.
This is when the officer will know and determine what to give you depending on your declared itinerary. If it is a Single Entry or Multiple Entry once you’ve been approved.
I’ve been given a Single Entry on my Schengen Visa because my itinerary is detailed and very straight forward showing that it only covers the Schengen States during my 21 days of travel. But for those who might have a longer duration of stay and might have a bigger chance of exploring the near yet non-Schengen countries. Multiple visit will be given which means you can fly in and out of the Schengen area and still be allowed only within the 180 days per visit. After this we need to re-apply for another Schengen Visa.
It is important to make this as detailed as much as possible. Declared Day to Day Plans or Travel Itinerary is recommended.
SAMPLE FULL ITINERARY
Aside from the Full Itinerary, I also wrote and presented a COVER LETTER stating the purpose of my trip and travel plans.
SAMPLE COVER LETTER
For those who have family and friends in Schengen Areas and applying for a Tourist Schengen Visa. You can add the requirement below. Al though, that will be asking for a lot of favor from them but it will help greatly with your application.
VISITOR VISA (VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS)
Recent, informal signed invitation letter from your host, passport copy and photocopy of residence permit if applicable from the host in Germany OR a formal sponsorship letter (Verpflichtungserklärung), issued by an aliens authority in Germany (Ausländerbehörde) and one copy.
For proof of sufficient means of subsistence for the intended journey:
From the Official Website: Recent bank account statements for the last three months (Bank statements must show the name and address of the owner). We cannot accept Travel Money Cards or cash as proof of sufficient funds.
Al though my husband will be paying for our trip, it is still strongly recommended to have your own bank accounts and joint bank accounts with your husband. This is very important to your application. It has to show your name with your complete address and has to show sufficient funds for the trip. It helped a lot that we have opened a joint bank account with our travel fund on it which is more than enough for our 21-days Trip in Europe. To give you an idea, it is important to have a budget of at least 200 USD per day individually for travel in Europe.
With Bank of America, this is so easy to obtain because I can just log in and easily able to access my bank statements online and print them at home.
If you are financially supported by your spouse / other family member (you don’t work yourself):
From the Official Website: Please also provide your marriage certificate / proof of relationship and a copy of their passport data page, their bank statements and a working certificate. Additionally, the person paying for your trip has to sign a letter stating that they will sponsor you.
Original and one photocopy.
HUSBAND’S PASSPORT DATA PAGE
Original and one photocopy.
HUSBAND’S BANK STATEMENTS
At least the recent bank statements for the last 3 months. Just to be extra sure, I have also prepared my husband’s pay slips for the last 3 months and his ITR (Income Tax Returns) for the last 3 years.
This is easy to comply because my husband just printed them from online and done only after few minutes.
HUSBAND’S WORKING CERTIFICATE
This took us a while to obtain only because when my husband was trying to get to the HR (Human Resources) she wasn’t available or present at that time. The HR Department have a default document for this and all you need to do is to request for one at work. This needs to be signed by the HR stating that your husband is working for that company, for how long and how much he makes.
A Signed Letter by your husband stating that he will be paying for all the expenses in the trip and should be signed by him. This needs to be notarized by the bank as a proof of identity of your husband or your financial sponsor.
It should state the relationship you have with the sponsor, purpose of the trip and the travel dates.
SAMPLE SPONSOR LETTER
A health insurance covering at least 30.000,- € )
From the Official Website: Valid for all Schengen countries, including medical treatment, medical evacuation and medical repatriation back into the USA as well as repatriation of mortal remains. Only insurance confirmation, no letters of employer, is accepted. The insurance has to be issued in either the US or in Germany. (see information #29)
This was really easy to obtain. For my application, we paid around 40 something USD for a 1,000,000 USD Medical Limit with GeoBlue Travel Insurance Voyager Choice Plan. We will be traveling from Oct. 8 to Oct. 28, 2018. You have to at least add a few days before and after your trip as a general rule. So for my travel insurance coverage it’s valid between dates Oct. 6 to Oct. 29, 2018.
All we did was just go to their official site, purchased a plan or travel insurance of your choice and just print them at home.
Visa fee: 60 Euro payable in US Dollars
From the Official Website: The exact USD amount fluctuates according to the exchange rate. Please note that some visa sections will only accept cash or money orders
From my experience, I asked the officer if I can pay the total cost for both the visa fee and USPS Self-addressed Mail (since we are living far from Chicago and I want my Passport with the Schengen Visa mailed to me) using a credit card and yes, it was accepted.
I paid 25 USD for the SASE Mail and 71 USD (exchange rate at that day) for the visa fee. The total payment was 96 USD.
LASTLY, just print the Confirmation Email you have received when you set your appointment date on their system.
This is only to show to the Security Guard in the Consulate or Embassy so you can enter the premises or the office. From my experience, the guard has a paper with list of names of all the people who has a scheduled appointment at that day. I don’t think they allow walk-ins. It is important and fair to set an appointment on their official appointment system.
IMPORTANT: Just visit the official website of the Schengen country Embassy or Consulate for more information regarding your individually unique case and especially for any changes and updates that can happen anytime.
Do your research and read more in different blogs about their visa application experiences and RELAX. You’ll be fine and approved in no time. For any questions just post a comment and I’ll do my best to provide you answers immediately.
TAKE CARE EVERYONE. HAPPY TRAVELS.