“If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.”. – Rachel Wolchin
Travel is not for the faint-hearted yet it’s also not exclusive for the adventure or thrill-seekers. There is a certain promise of awe and wonder in the prospect of wanderings. Seeing, feeling and being in new place is like looking at life in a different light. Full of welcome surprises and pleasant twists. For those who are born in the third world countries though, traveling is a little tough and tricky. We have to brave the opposing currents that’s hindering our way to that European dream.
As a Filipina, it is my greatest joy to share my recent and amazing experience in obtaining a Schengen Visa.
The entire process was very easy and straight-forward.
My application in German Consulate in Chicago went smoothly and efficiently beyond my expectations.
I am not new to applying for visa. As a green card holder, I have undergone a much more tremendous (life-altering) process in the past. Moving here in the United States from the Philippines to marry my soulmate was like a roller coaster ride during a super typhoon. I am just relieved that was over and it was a success.
First Things First:
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE TO APPLY FOR A SCHENGEN VISA?
- Valid Passport
- Proof of applicant’s alien registration card or valid US resident visa. Make sure to check the expiration date of your Green Card. You must have at least 3 months of validity after the period of your travel.
WHICH SCHENGEN COUNTRY TO APPLY:
- This is heavily dependent on your itinerary or your travel plans. So yes, it is important to work on your itinerary first before getting crazy ahead of yourself. You can’t just choose any Schengen country unless you make an itinerary that revolves or center around your chosen Embassy or Consulate or make it as your main destination.
- The Schengen country as your main and only destination.
- If you have multiple Schengen countries to visit. You need to apply to the Schengen country with the longest duration during your whole stay.
- If you have multiple Schengen countries to visit and they all have the same duration of stay. Choose the first point of entry. For example: France, Italy and Germany have the same 14 days each. You will be flying first to France then you need to apply in the French Embassy.
This is important on your application. So make sure you get this right.
WHAT IS THE FIRST STEP:
- Visit the official website of the Embassy or the Consulate of your main destination or the Schengen Area/Country of your choice. Look for the official complete list of requirements.
Also read the general instructions available on their site. The official website is your best source of information, you also have to follow it closely for any changes and updates because naturally they do this a lot. Keep in mind, they will be the only one who can either approve or deny your application.
Folks, it is better to be prepared than sorry.
Applying for the Schengen Visa is country-specific. There are small differences between the requirements for example in the number of photocopies they require with the original. Take note of this and you’ll be fine.
I also have to add: The Embassies or the Consulates here in the US have specific areas of jurisdiction. The main website has an official list of what States each Embassy/Consulate they are assigned. For example, for applicants living in the Midwest and applying for a Schengen Visa via Germany. You should apply in German Consulate in Chicago.
WHEN CAN YOU APPLY:
Depending on your desired appointment/interview date in the Embassy or Consulate.
You can officially set an appointment on the Embassy/Consulate website as early as or within 3 months before your trip. The earlier you do this the better because it is the gathering of the needed requirements which takes time the most.
You also need to have more than enough time to finally book all the hotels and attractions you plan to visit after you got your Schengen Visa. Sometimes the famous attractions are already fully-booked 2 months in advance during their peak season.
SETTING AN APPOINTMENT DATE:
Visit the Appointment System two-three months in advance.
This is when you need to be there personally to provide all the requirements they need. Have your fingerprints taken through Biometrics, pay the visa fees and be asked for an interview.
Setting an appointment date could get really tricky and might even turn out tight on your schedule. They only have very limited slots so if you’re not quick to check the next available dates, you might completely missed your chance. If you want to bag your desired appointment date just in time for your vacation. Watch it like a hawk.
The window for setting your desired appointment date is very critical. Be on the watch especially checking on Mondays that’s when they refreshed the appointment system on my time. It was May 28 when I set my appointment date on July 10, 2018 and we are planning to go to Europe on Oct. 8, 2018.
You need to use an Internet Explorer to make sure it’s compatible and will go well once you finally press the schedule button. But if ever you use Google Chrome or Firefox, do not fret like we did. A blank or white screen will show but it’s fine. You can just simply print the confirmation email they sent you after few minutes. That is enough proof that you’ve set an appointment with them.
The confirmation email is in German but you can Google translate it to English to make sure you got all the details right especially the date and time of your appointment. Print this and you are all set. All you need now is just gathering all the required documents.
Every visa application case is unique and it depends on how strong your case is. So it is important for me to let you know ahead of my profile. I applied for Tourism Schengen Visa, I’m a green card holder living in the United States with my husband for two years now.
My husband is a US Citizen and of course he doesn’t have to apply for a Schengen Visa. We will be traveling together to Europe for 21 days. I am currently unemployed so my husband will be the one who is going to take care of all our expenses. A Sponsor Letter signed by him is important on my case.
If you’re a housewife planning to travel with the husband like me then you have found the post which is made for you. Actually, I think this is also the reason why my application was a breeze. There was no conflict in our working schedule, it was only my husband who needed to ask for a vacation period or off from work. I also don’t have to comply with any work-related requirements that you can see on the official list.
This post I intended to be only an overview of how to get the visa. I have prepared three more posts for you to really dig in.
PART ONE: Schengen Visa Requirements 2018
PART TWO: My Schengen Visa Interview Experience 2018
PART THREE: Schengen Visa Timeline, Step by Step and Tips 2018