I am indebted from friends’ blogs and experiences about applying for Schengen Visa and I thought of recounting my experience for those who wants to apply for a Schengen Visa.
First of all, let me get this straight, if you are among those who wants to apply for a tourist visa and then look for a job anywhere in the Schengen area, please don’t. A lot of Filipinos who just want to tour Europe get denied because of people like you. That goes the same way to those applying for a US Visa.
Second, I have a valid Philippine passport and I travel a lot. I have been to 10 Asian countries for the past 3 years and has always went back to the country.
Third, I applied for a SCHENGEN VISA FOR VISIT – SPONSORED BY A RELATIVE OR FRIEND at the Switzerland Embassy. My beautiful girlfriend is . She lives and works in Switzerland.
Note: You can apply 3 months prior your intended trip. Visa processing and issuance takes Five (5) working days up to four (4) weeks after submitting the visa application.
Now let’s have a journey on How I Got my Schengen Visa from Switzerland Embassy…
The Swiss Embassy in Manila website: https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/philippines/en/home/visa/entry-ch.html
TLScontact Center Website: https://ch.tlscontact.com/ph/MNL/index.php
The Swiss Embassy and TLS Website has a very slight difference in what they are looking for in documents. So I have to collate the checklist given. Here are the ff I gave (plus the supporting documents)
1. Visa Application Form. Fill it out completely and properly. Download at TLS. Believe me, I have to read it like 8 times to make sure I gave the correct informations.
2. Additional Questionnaire. This will be given at the TLS Center before you are called to give your requirements to the assigned staff. This will also be the basis of the interview.
3. 2pcs. Passport Size Photos (White background, taken within the past 6-months). Do not staple or glue it on the application form, the staff at TLS will do this on application day.
4. Valid passport. Must be valid at least 3 months from the end of the approved duration of stay and has at least 2 blank visa pages.
5. Photocopy of valid passport (the main page where your personal information and photo are and the inside back cover where “Important Reminders and Signature” is)
6. Photo copy of old passport (if you have). My old passport was stolen from me 2009 so I don’t have that. I should have photocopied my Travel Document (the one they gave me when I lost my passport in Malaysia in order for me to go back to the Philippines). They just wanted to know where have you been and see the travels you did in the past years.
7. Photo copy of all visas. All valid visas and expired one. I like this part because I have lots of visas and stamps on my passport.
8. For spouses or children (below 21 years old) of Swiss / EU / EFTA nationals, the following must also be submitted: photocopy of the marriage contract (spouse), birth certificate (child), family book or any other document proving relationship, which must be issued by a Schengen / EU / EFTA member country. A copy of the family member’s passport and/or ID card must also be provided. You are NO longer required to submit the documents enumerated below. In some cases, however, the Embassy still reserves the right to request for additional documentation. –not applicable to me
10. Photocopy my girlfriend’s passport and entry/exit visas during her visits in the Philippines. We wanted to show that we really know each other and we she visited me here in the Philippines a lot of times.9. Invitation letter from host in Switzerland. My girlfriend wrote this in German. Basically it says, that she is inviting me for a period of 88 days from this date to that date and she is going to sponsor my board and lodging.
10. Proof of Financial Resources. I downloaded my statement of account from Bank of the Philippine Islands. Since I do business online, I also printed my cash flow from Paypal. I also included my Stocks Portfolio from Philstocks and Citiseconline addressed to the Swiss Embassy. I summarized all my assets including properties in one paper to show them that I can also finance my trip.
11. Certificate of Employment. Not applicable to me since I am not employed.
12. DTI permit and Business Permit. I gave them a copy of my DTI permit and a Certificate of Business Partnership from my travel and tours partner in Palawan in as we are doing tours together. I indicated there how much money I make every year and that I will still be partners with them after I return from Switzerland. Basically, they want to know that you have a business to return to in the Philippines. I don’t have an ITR since my business papers are under way. TSL noted on my application that I don’t have an ITR.
13. Confirmed Roundtrip Air Travel Reservation. Both Swiss Embassy and TLS Center says do not buy the ticket yet. So I just went online with KLM and booked my ticket according to my intended trip. Then you can download the confirmed roundtrip ticket without having to pay for it. You can also ask this from a travel agency in your neighborhood. I tried to ask near my house and it is Php300 for a roundtrip reservation ticket.
13. International Travel Insurance. I bought online from Blue Cross. Number of intended stay plus 15days. Since I am applying for 88 days, I bought 103 days insurance from them. This is the most expensive of all the requirements. I paid almost Php7,700 (EUR 147).
Supporting documents (Optional):
– Photos of me and my girlfriend in our travels in the Philippines. I just collated 8 photos and printed in on a 2 papers.
– My day-to-day itinerary during my visit. If you have hotel bookings then print it too.
REGISTER at TLSCenter to Schedule your preferred date of application
TLS Center is a third party office that is in-charge of the submission of your visa application to the Embassy of Switzerland. Their website is very useful in your questions during the process. I experienced really good service from them.
SUBMISSION OF APPLICATION/INTERVIEW:
How to schedule an appointment:
All appointments for the submission of application files must be booked with our external service provider TLScontact via the following website https://ch.tlscontact.com/ph/MNL/index.php
Visa Hotline: (02) 737-4040, Mondays – Fridays, from 8.00 am – 5.00 pm (except during public holidays).
Application files have to be submitted to TLScontact on the day of the appointment. I came 10 minutes before my scheduled appointment.
What to wear? Dress smart and comfortable, that’s what I did.
1. Make sure you have ALL the documents in the right order with you when going to your appointment in the TLScontact center. The agent will make sure you have the proper documents and will note if anything is lacking.
2. Waiting area, your name will be automatically called when a counter is available. Relax the TLS Staff are really nice and courteous.
3. Document submission: an agent will verify that the documents you prepared are complete and meet the Embassy requirements.
4. Payment of visa and service.
5. Finger Scan and Photo. Starting from November 14, 2013, all diplomatic representations of the Schengen member states in the Philippines have to capture the biometric data (finger scans and facial image) of persons applying for a Schengen visa. The data will be kept in the Visa Information System (VIS) for 5 years.
6. Since it was my first time to apply at Switzerland, I had a Skype Interview with a staff from Embassy. A Filipina. She asked me the same questions asked in the Additional Questionaires given during the Submission (see Requirement #2). I remember she asked me the purpose of my visit, the countries I have visited. How long did we know each other, how did we meet, how many times we met, when was the last time I saw my girlfriend, do I have relatives in Switzerland and Schengen area and what I do for a living. I was very confident because I know myself and know for sure that I won’t stay longer than my intended stay.
You can track the status of your application via the TLScenter website so don’t forget your username and password. In the afternoon of the day of my application submission, I saw that TLScenter already forwarded my application to the Swiss Embassy.
After 2 days, Switzerland Embassy sent back my passport with 2 sets of papers:
Information Sheet (in English). Procedure when a declaration of sponsorship is given.
Declaration of Sponsorship (in German). I scanned it and emailed it to my girlfriend right away since she has to fill out, sign and bring to her cantonal or communal authority in charge. Then the authorities would check and would then inform Switzerland Embassy in Manila whatever the decision was. My girlfriend said, she was the first one to request for that kind of service in her canton (this is what they call their province).
Send Passport Back to Swiss Embassy:
After 3 working days, the Swiss Embassy emailed me and told me to bring the ff:
-Passport (with passport photo)
-Rountrip air travel reservation (I just printed out the once I gave them before)
-Travel Insurance (I also printed out what I gave before)
Note: I just used LBC to send this documents since I went back to Palawan already and won’t be able to hand it myself. Inside the LBC package is a pre-paid pouch for the Embassy to send it back to you.
I paid Php360 at LBC. LBC would send an SMS when the Embassy received the documents already.
When the Swiss Embassy told me to send back my passport to them for the Visa, I already knew that I got my Visa approved. But sigurista as I am, I still want to see the Schengen Visa on my passport before buying the actual tickets.
I got my passport back with the Schengen Visa after 5 working days. This is one of the happiest day of my life. Also starts hunting for cheap flight tickets to Switzerland.
I can’t thank meine Freundin enough for all the support and encouragement she gave me before, during and after the application process. I was afraid at first because I don’t want to get denied again like what happened to me during my tourist visa application for USA. Danke schön schatzee!
Thank you TLSCenter for being courteous and making me feel comfortable during the submission of the requirements
Vielen Dank Switzerland Embassy in Manila, Ambasador Andrea Reichlin and staff for processing my visa! You made my dream come true!
Danke Suisse! I’m excited to see you! I’m going to Europe! I’m going to Europe.
Travel Insurance: Php7,700
Print outs and photocopy of documents: Php400
Portfolio and Statement of Accounts Request: Php600
Passport Photo: Php60
Visa Fee: Php3,500
TLS Center Service Fee: Php1,046
LBC payment for Passport: Php180
LBC payments for Passport: Php360
Total Expenses: Php13,846
Transportation and food expenses during application not included.
*For other nationalities, kindly refer to the following link if there is a need for a visa for Switzerland / Schengen states: http://www.bfm.admin.ch/bfm/en/home/themen/einreise/merkblatt_einreise.html
TLScontact Center, Unit 7B New Solid Building, 357 Sen. Gil J Puyat Avenue, Makati City, Metro Manila
Visa Hotline: (02) 737-4040, Mondays – Fridays, from 8.00 am – 5.00 pm (except during public holidays).
Contact information of the Visa Section (Embassy of Switzerland in Manila)
Address 24th Floor BDO Equitable Tower, 8751 Paseo de Roxas, 1226 Makati City
Metro Manila, PHILIPPINES
Visiting Hours Mondays through Thursdays 09:00 AM until 12 NN / Fridays: 09:00 AM until 11:00 AM
Visa Section (632) 845 45 45
Visa Section Fax (+632) 845 45 39