Saturday, February 11, 2012
Schengen visa, how to get one ?
Schengen visa is your ultimate ticket to the EU member countries. But how to get one? What are the hassles and yeah how to be prepared?
In Singapore where I am currently based, all EU member countries has their embassies. For us, we got our luck at the Spanish embassy. Well, to be honest, we had a bad luck at the Italian as well as the German embassies. It felt that they were not just compatible with what we had planned for. Simply put that our initial plan was to stay the longest at Germany but then our point of entry was Spain. At first we filed at the Italian embassy but then the officer noted that technically we are staying longer in Germany because of the number of nights aka sleeps we will be making. So our first try was a bust. Then we applied at the German embassy and it proved useless as the officer told us that we should apply at the first point of entry which was Spain and for that we were not served - poop busted again. We actually called up the Spanish embassy and made clear that our first of entry is Spain but then we will be staying longer in Germany so where do we have to apply? And the Spanish officer over the phone told us that it has to be Germany. But then we had no choice right? We have been there (hello German embassy) and we got a refusal from our application simply because of the first country of entry. Anyway, we have booked everything and it's frustrating on our part to back out. What we did was we rescheduled our hotel and train bookings and made Spain our still first point of entry and now the country where we will be staying long. Good thing we we were rather early filing for the visa because the approval or rejection will take 3-4 weeks if you are from the countries like the Philippines and Thailand. We went to the Spanish embassy and we were able to submit our application and we have to wait for 3-4 weeks to get our visa.
For those who are interested to know the requirements, here are the list:
1.) Schengen visa application form which you can download from the embassy's website or alternately here : http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/IMG/pdf/visagb.pdf
2.) Photo attached to the application form
3.) Passport - original and photocopy.
4.) Singapore Identification (for foreign professional/permanent resident)
5.) Flight reservation or booking which has to be roundtrip.
6.) Medical insurance worth 60K Euro
7.) Employment certificate which states the status, salary, position etc. your HR should know what to write.
8.) Financial guarantee - at least two bank accounts which showed transactions for the last three months
9.) Hotel reservation from all the countries which you will be visiting
That's it, if you have some clarification or specific inquiries then you are free to call the respective embassies :)
As a final advise, try to file a month earlier so you will have more time to prepare and they very key is proper planning. Take note that the French embassy has this website where you can reserve for an appointment and usually it's almost always filled all the time.
Good luck to would be travelers to Europe ;)