Everything you need to know to apply for a Schengen visa

(UPDATED) Last year, at the age of 21, I applied for a Schengen/Europe visa, a US visa, and a Japan visa. Fortunately, all of these got approved!

In my case, the US visa was the easiest one to get and the Japan visa was the cheapest to get. The Schengen/Europe visa was the most expensive and hardest to get but it was the most worth it because with just one visa, you will be able to visit a majority of European countries, including almost everyone's dream destinations – France, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland.

Without much thinking, I decided to make my dream of going to Europe come true. It was less than a year since I graduated from college and only 7 months into my then-job. I knew that there were a lot of red flags that would get me denied but I also knew that if I was scared forever, I'd never be able to visit my dream place. So I saved, researched, completed the requirements, went for an interview, then had the best moments of my life. Almost a year has passed but I still cannot move on! Read on if you want to know how you can make your Eurotrip dreams come true.

Check this short video I made on what countries I’ve been to on my Eurotrip!

 

What is a Schengen visa?

Think of it as your pass to Europe. Just having the means and money to travel does not mean that anyone can just pack and go to Europe. Unfortunately, we have to get a visa, which involves a long process.

With a Schengen Visa, you can visit the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

7. Book your flight

I booked my flight as soon as I received my visa. My go-to websites for flights are SkyScanner and CheapFlights. I took the Manila to Dusseldorf flight for P45,000. Not bad.

8. List down your must-see countries and cities

My non-negotiable countries were Germany and the Netherlands. However, mid-trip, I found out about a website that offers bus tours across all of Europe. With that, I visited 10 countries for only P80,000+. TourRadar gives you a list of places you can visit in Europe without taking flights. I booked the Europe Jewel using a promo code upon check out and it reduced the final price by P5,000. Check the tours if you don't want to be bothered planning your Eurotrip.

9. Prepare your documents for your departure

Before you fly to your first European country, make sure that you have your photocopied passport, hotel accommodation, and travel insurance. When I crossed Germany, I was also asked how much money I had. I told the border patrol that I only have 20 euros with me. He was shocked and asked, "How can you survive with just 20 euro?!" I told him that of course I haven't withdrawn money yet and I have my debit cards with me. He asked for it and also photocopied it for his reference.

10. Enjoy Europe!

Europe was amazing! It's been more than a year now but I still cannot move on. The places I saw, the people I met, and the food I ate  are the reasons why I'm working hard even until now. I want to go back! Yes, applying for a visa was hard but it was worth it!

PRAGUE. Authoru2019s favorite place in Europe u2013 Prague, Czech Republic.

PRAGUE. Authoru2019s favorite place in Europe u2013 Prague, Czech Republic.

FAQs 

The recommended time is 3 months before your intended date of travel. In my case, I booked an interview on the 30th of January, had the interview on the first week of March, then flew to Germany by the end of March.

It depends on the number of days you'll visit Europe and the countries you'll go to. Please refer to this chart for the daily amount you should have. 

If someone is sponsoring your travel, you need to present the following:

If you applied at the German embassy, you can appeal within one month of your visa rejection. Send your appeal/remonstration letter to visa@manila.diplo.de with the subject [Remonstration for Full Name]. State in the email why you think they should reconsider your application. Attach documents if necessary. You need to sign the document so print, sign, and scan it. You can also send your letter through courier service to this address:

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
Visa section
25/F Tower 2, RCBC Plaza,
6819 Ayala Avenue,
Makati City 1200

As much as I'd like to help assess your profile, I don't have the authority to do so. I can only answer it based on common sense but the embassy has the final say. I believe the most important factors in order to be approved are the following:

– Rappler.com

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