How to Get a Schengen Visa for Philippine Passport Holders | VFS Global (French Embassy)

by - October 14, 2017

How to get a schengen visa for Philippine Passport Holders

September 2017

Me and my friends are planning to go to Paris and Italy this coming November but first things first, we need a Visa. So if you will be traveling around Europe, most likely you'll need a Schengen Visa. But be aware that not all European countries are part of the Schengen Area. Here are the countries under the Schengen Area:

Czech Republic

If you notice, United Kingdom is not on the list so if ever you are planning to go to United Kingdom and Paris you will need two visas for that trip.

In what embassy should you apply for visa?
This will depend on your itinerary. Determine in which country you will be staying the longest and that's the embassy you should apply. For our 10-day trip, we plan to stay in France for 6 days and then 4 days in Italy so that means we need to apply in French Embassy.

What is the process of visa application for French Embassy?
Before, application is done directly at the embassy but that changed recently and the application should go first to the agency - VFS Global.
VFS Global is an outsourcing and technology specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. The company manages tasks from visa, passport, identity management, etc. You can check their site HERE!

First Step - Book an appointment
I think it is better to check and book an appointment first before anything else. Besides, this will let you know when will be the earliest schedule available that will suit your travel date.  Take note that booking an appointment is mandatory. The processing time is actually faster for French Embassy compared to other member state embassies - 5 days for short stay and 15 days for long-term stay. You can apply as early as 90 days before your travel date. Even if the processing is fast, I suggest allot some time between your application and your travel date so if in case they ask you to submit more documents, then you still have time to do that. Don't also forget to allot time for you to get all the requirements before your scheduled appointment.

To schedule an appointment, sign up or login on this page - Appointment Login
VFS Visa Application Center is open for the submission of applications - Mondays to Fridays from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

Second Step - Prepare all the requirements

Official list of requirements from VFS is HERE!

Follow the instructions. If you open the link, the note above is in bold letters: documents must be in TWO COMPLETE SETS and must be arranged in CORRECT ORDER. Correct order meaning, the files to be submitted should be in the same order as the order of the requirements on the list.
Here are the files that I submitted:
  1. Schengen visa application form with photo (35mm x 45mm, white background). Here's a link for the application forms for short and long stay - APPLICATION FORMS
  2. Valid passport and Photocopy of all stamps and Visas.
    - Passport should still have 3 months' validity from the end of intended stay.
    - Photocopy of valid and former visas including those that are not in your passport like Australian visa and Taiwan visa. Pages of the passport with Immigration stamps and previous refusal stamps, if any. Photocopy your bio page.
  3. Cover letter explaining the purpose of the trip and proposed day-to-day itinerary. Address your cover letter to:THE HONORABLE CONSUL
    16F Pacific Star Building
    Makati Avenue corner Gil Puyat Avenue
    Makati City
  4. Proof of Accommodation. You don't really need to pay for your stay this early. You can submit your hotel reservations. For example, you can reserve hotels thru without paying anything.
  5. Round Trip Airline Reservation. I heard travel agencies can provide airline reservations. We took the risk of booking an actual flight so we can avail the promo of EVA Air but this is NOT Recommended.
  6. Certificate of Employment (for employed) or Official Business Registration. For COE, make sure that your monthly salary is indicated and that your leaves were approved by your employer.
  7. Latest Income Tax Return.
  8. Bank Certificate. This should have been issued or dated within a month before your application.
  9. Bank Statement. They will need the statement for the last 3 months of the same bank.
  10. Birth Certificate if single. Marriage Contract and Birth Certificate if married.
  11. International Travel Insurance. Medical expenses and repatriation covering the entire period of the person’s intended stay and valid for all Schengen states. Minimum coverage should be EUR 30,000. I got my insurance from Malayan Insurance. I think they offer the cheapest insurance.
         If you want to check them out, here is their website - Malayan Insurance Travel Master

Aside from these, I also printed out my credit card statements. I thought this can add as evidence on how I can support and pay my travel.

Also for submission, print out your scheduled appointment with VFS and the list of requirements.

Lastly, prepare the Visa Fee of EUR 60.00 and the processing fee of EUR 26.00. I paid the peso equivalent of the fees. During my application, I paid a total of PHP 5,180.00.

Third Step - Submit your application at VFS Global Application Center.
Go to the application center personally because they will take your picture and your biometrics. Here is their address:

VFS Global Office Address:
France Visa Application Centre,
Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave. Extension, Makati City

My Personal Experience:

September 15, 2017

Our scheduled time for visa is 10:15 AM at VFS Global Makati and we arrived at around 10 AM. Just go straight to the 2nd floor and you won't definitely miss the agency. Tell the guard that you are looking for the France Visa Application Center or just tell them 'France' and they'll most likely know what you're talking about :)

Once you're in the center, the receptionist will give you a number. If you come in a group, one number is enough for your entire group. The guard will ask you to turn off your cellphone. Also, they will give you a piece of paper which the guard told us to fill out once inside. NOTE: this paper is your subscription for SMS and delivery. For me it just cost too much. The SMS costs PHP110 while the delivery is PHP330. Sure you can avail of the delivery if you really can't pick up your passport but the SMS... well I think you can just skip that because they will email you once you can claim your passport. We never filled out those papers.

Once your number is called, go to the window assigned to you and submit all requirements. They will check each document you have in hand and will separate those from what I think are not too important to important documents. Example, they will separate the photocopies of your visas, bookings and application form from the photocopies of your immigration stamps and other documents not listed on the requirement (example, if you also submit your credit card statement). Tell them as well that you opt to pick up your passport.

After they check your documents, they will give you a receipt of what you need to pay at the cashier.

Visa Fee €60
Processing Fee €26

After payment, your name will be queued for biometrics. Just wait for a few minutes and they will call your name. Inside the biometrics room, they will take your picture which will be used in your visa and they will scan your fingerprints too. Afterwards, they will ask you to verify your details on a piece of paper and sign it. Lastly, they will provide you your claim stub or form. That's it!

Depending on the number of applicants, the processing can probably take 30 minutes to several hours. It took us 2 hours that day with what I think is a moderate number of applicants.

Leaving the center, we were making fun of our pictures in the claim form. We look like criminals in a wanted list. LOL! We were thinking if we will look the same on our visas.

After a few hours, we got an email from VFS Mailer stating that my application form has been dispatched to the France Embassy for processing. See, they got this notification so there's really no need to avail of the SMS.

September 19, 2017
I got an email from VFS Mailer that my passport is ready for collection at the VFS France Application Center between 2 to 4 PM. Wow that was fast! Went to the center immediately and got my passport with visa! yey! That's only 2 business days processing (we submitted our application on a Friday afternoon and we were able to claim it the next Tuesday).
I applied for a single entry but they gave me multiple entry visa but the catch is it is only valid for a month. LOL  Regarding that picture... the image on the visa is a looooot better than what was printed on the claim form, that's a relief!

Now I can get really excited for my travel to Paris and Italy! Woohoo!

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