Monday, November 28, 2011

Applying for a Schengen Visa (Europe Visa) - Italian Embassy

Updated: August 2016
This blog entry pertains to the Schengen Visa application for my Europe 2011 trip (Denied-Reapplied-Approved)
For my Europe 2013 trip, I lodged my Schengen Visa Application in the Spanish Embassy (Approved).
For my Europe 2016 trip, I applied for Schengen Visa in German Embassy (Approved).

I am not a visa officer nor a visa agent. This post comes from my own personal experience. I prepared and submitted the visa application myself.

I love being a Filipino but I so hate being a Philippine Passport Holder. It is a hindrance to my travel plans. For travelers like me, we have to undergo the nerve-wracking visa application process.

Philippine passport holders are required to apply for a Schengen Visa when entering any of the 25 member states:

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden
Switzerland


Some FAQs:

When can you apply for a Schengen visa?
You can apply at LEAST three months before your planned entry in any of the Schengen member state. However, due to the number of applications processed, the appointment date is usually set almost a month after the lodgement of your application.

Where do you apply for a Schengen visa?
Taken http://www.ambafrance-ph.org/IMG/pdf/C_TOURIST_AFFAIRES_EN.pdf
For a visit to one Schengen state, visa applications must be lodged at the Embassy/Consulate of that particular Member State. If the visit includes more than one destination, visa applications must be lodged at the Embassy/Consulate of the Member State whose territory constitutes the MAIN destination of the visit(s) in terms of purpose or the length of stay. Based on my itinerary, I have to lodge my application in the Italian embassy.

How much money should you have in the bank?
I found this link online which discusses the proof of funds required of each country. I didn’t really use this because I have my own budget for this trip which I believe is a more accurate reflection of the amount I will really be using for this trip. In my case, let's just say I had more that enough for my trip.

Visa Application process:

  • Check the requirements of that embassy. This can be found in the embassy’s website.
  • Contact the embassy where you will lodge your application.
  • Gather and submit the requirements.
  • Wait and pray for a positive decision.
Requirements of the Italian Embassy for Tourist Visa includes (but not limited to) the following:
  1. Passport with no less than 3 months validity over the visa expiration;
  2. Accomplished application form with one recent picture (2X2) with white background;
  3. Original and a photocopy of all documents required for each applicant.
  4. Certificate of employment or Business registration certificate and financial statement.
  5. Approved Leave of Absence indicating duration of leave.
  6. Bank certification for dollar and peso accounts accompanied by their corresponding passbook, statements of account. If available, traveler’s checks and international credit cards.
  7. Declaration of annual income (ITR).
  8. Confirmed round trip ticket upon release.
  9. Itinerary, confirmed round trip flight booking and hotel vouchers or hotel booking under the name of the traveler.
  10. A letter of invitation addressed to the Embassy, (format of this letter may be secured at the Italian Embassy or downloaded from www.ambmanila.esteri.it ), in case the traveler will stay in a friend’s or relative’s residence. The invitation may be made by an Italian national or a foreign resident legally staying in Italy. A document of identity or permit of stay should accompany the letter of invitation.
  11. For all minors, an Affidavit of Support and Consent from both parents. In addition, a DSWD clearance for minors not traveling with parents.
  12. Travel insurance

List was obtained from the website of the Italian Embassy. The list is non-exhaustive. Aside from some of the items which are applicable to me, I also submitted additional documents that established my net worth and roots in the Philippines. Examples: statements of account of mutual funds, stocks owned, credit card statements.

For the travel insurance, make sure that you will obtain one which is an accredited insurance agency by the Schengen Country. The Italian Embassy also required to add 15 days to the number of days of your entire trip; for me: 24 days + 15 extra days = 39 days covered by the insurance. I got mine from Blue Cross. It was quite easy and what I liked about it is that I simply sent them a scanned copy of the accomplished application form and then I just had to pay online. I paid around $120 or Php 5,000+. They sent the original policy via mail in a matter of days. Totally hassle-free.

The process differs from each embassy. I can only share about the application process in the Italian Embassy:

  • Call their premium hotline. The call costs Php 32 per minute (yes you read that right) excluding other charges and they charge higher if you call using a cellphone I believe.

















  • They will provide you the pick-up date of the documents via a courier. You will place all your requirements in a long brown envelope. Pay attention to the labelling of the envelope.
  • They will ask you to include a checklist with a standard clause (I can’t recall the verbatim phrase)
  • Take note of the date of the pick-up. In my case, this was scheduled almost a month after my call. It is best to lodge your application at the earliest possible time.
  • Take note of your tracking reference number. You can track this in the courier’s website.
  • You will pay the courier Php 430 (as of July 2011) to the courier when they pick-up your documents
The visa application costs 60 euros which is non-refundable even if your application gets denied. The hotline will advise you the rate in pesos or to call again when your pick up date is near to know the Php conversion you will use. You have to pay this using a Manager’s Check (MC). Take note of the payee that will be used in the MC.

Looking at my profile, I do not have “favorable” chances of being granted a visa:

  • A single Fiipina traveling alone with no sponsor.
  • I had no prior visas. I’ve only traveled to 3 ASEAN countries before my Schengen Visa Application.
But since I was determined to push through, I still opted to pursue this trip, and this application.

Reading some articles about this topic, I usually encounter these concerns:

What is the chance of getting a Schengen visa if....
- I have a relative sponsor/friend/boyfriend in
- I have 1 million pesos in the bank
- I have a China/Korea/Japan/US Visa
- I’ve traveled all over Asia.

Dreams should not be based on chances.Despite my profile not being favorable, I still went ahead with my application.

If you never take chances in life you'll miss out on the best things.

Are you pursuing your dream because of "a good chance"? Or because you want it?

When will you know about the result?
The processing takes 15 working days. I know how nerve-wracking this could be. What kept me sane was praying. I also kept visualizing my trip. However, after 15 days, I got the result (just a week after my birthday) – I got denied. :( I was heartbroken.

What is your application gets denied?
I’m sorry you got denied. Luckily, they do not require an elapsed period of reapplication. Find out the reasons why you got denied. I got a checklist which looked something like this:
http://www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/kosovo/documents/eu_travel/annex_vi_visa_refusal_form_en.pdf



  
They cited that my visa refusal was due to:
#2: Justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not provided
#3: You have not provided proof of sufficient means of subsistence, for the duration of
the intended stay or for the return to the country of origin or residence, or for the
transit to a third country into which you are certain to be admitted, or you are not in a
position to acquire such means lawfully 

#9: Your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained

My purpose was clear, my funds were sufficient, and I just need to convince them that #9 is not true. I think that if you are a solo female traveler, you are immediately labeled as a "red flag" = possible mail order bride or a candidate for human trafficking. Am I annoyed? Heck, YES. Can I blame them? Not really. 

So my game plan was to just reapply, and refute the reasons for refusal. Sounds simple? Nope, not really. 

Contact the embassy how you can re-apply. Proceed with the reapplication if you have additional documents to address the reasons you were denied. Luckily, my prayers were heard and I was granted a chance to reapply for a second time via personal appointment.To book the personal appointment, the embassy's hotline provided me an email address to send my request. They said that it will be the embassy's discretion if they will answer your email. I prayed hard that they would reply. After less than 24 hours, I got a reply scheduling my appointment after a week or so.   

I came with more documents establishing my rootedness in the Philippines. Examples: life insurance policy, domestic flights after my trip to Europe, car's Certificate of Registration. I did not beef up my travel funds because I was confident I really had enough in the bank - and I don't know where to get more funds just for show-money anyway. In my opinion, there is no "magic document" that you can produce that will reverse the refusal. The visa officer will consider all factors surrounding your application. Gathering all the documents again was nerve-wracking for me. But I had hope.

During the interview, the visa officer asked me extensively about my itinerary. I had no problems answering these because I crafted the itinerary myself. I had to repeat my answer a couple of times that I was really really travelling alone: I had no relatives in Italy, I do not have an Italian boyfriend. I reiterated that I had a good job in the Philippines that gives me good income so that I can afford to travel. The interview lasted for 25-30 minutes. Take note that your answers may be heard my the other applicants in the waiting area. Just keep calm and project confidence. Do not lose patience especially if the questions are repetitive. I think that's how they do their job, they really test how consistent your answers are.

In hindsight, I would have travelled extensively to Asian countries first before applying for the Schengen visa. Oh well, everything worked out in the end.

I got approved! Thank you Lord! :) :)
 

What if I apply at another embassy?
I don’t know. I didn’t do that because my itinerary didn’t change – Italy was still my main destination. You are probably blacklisted anyway.

Is the embassy strict?
They should be. Andami din naman kasing Pinoy na siraulo. I’m not judging those illegal immigrants and mail order brides since everyone wants a better life for themselves or loved ones. The thing is, there are others who suffer the consequence. People like me who have big dreams and sincere intentions. I don’t know if we can still change that. We have to deal with the process of this visa application as a result of the actions done by the past generation.


It was a photo-finish moment. My visa was granted on Thursday afternoon.  My flight was on Monday evening. I only had three full days to prepare everything. *GASP*

Good luck with the application. To those with the sincere intention of getting a tourist visa, I hope your visa application will be approved!

If God brought you to it, he will bring you through it. 


2016 Update: I am still annoyed with the Schengen visa process but I've come to accept it. It is one of the most infuriating visa process that I just have to deal with every time I want to travel to Europe.

I apologize if I will not be able to answer all questions/comments/emails regarding this denied-then approved application. I think I've written down everything I know and recall about my experience in this post. Hopefully, that will be enough to help you guys out.

36 comments:

  1. This is so helpful, and even inspiring Loraine! Welcome to the Pinoy Travel Bloggers FB group :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the kind words. Glad to be a part of the group. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks so much. I will be applying at the French Embassy, so it'll probably be a different experience (or maybe still similar). Like you I am a single Filipina, but I'm going to our headquarters in France so this trip is more or less work related. Still, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Working visa might be a different. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. thanks for this blog...

    like you swiss embassy refuse my swedish schengen visa last march 29 2012.
    swiss represent sweden.

    my bf invited me to visit him for 90 days.
    everything was ready complete documents. but got a refuse decision.

    reason number 9.
    your intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the
    visa could not be ascertained.

    *marami na akong narinig na pag ininvite ka ng bf mo to visit them to their country most of the time na dedeny. they think na mag TNT or hindi na babalik sa origin country pag ang visa nag expires.

    i have two option to appeal or re-apply but not in embassy here but in swedish embassy in bangkok,thailanD... i didn't appeal, me and my bf will go to bangkok a week from now to re apply and we hope that we will get a favorable decisions.

    honestly wala pa kaming balak na mag settle for good sa country nya maybe a year form now or 2 something like that... kaya tourist visa lang muna...
    kung sino pa yung totoong nag apply at hindi mag ooverstayed at babalik talaga sila pa tong nahihirapan mag apply... which is naiintindihan namin namin dahil sa mga nangyayaring human trafficking and so on so fort...

    were hoping for a good results..godspeed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've got exactly the same situation. I have showed them everything and even if my sponsor will pay for my stay, I also showed them my 2 bank statements + the last 3 months transactions. I lodged my documents last tuesday and I know that I have chance to get a visa but I got denied, same reason. I am going to Thailand this coming week to get a "fair" decision.

      Delete
    2. ms mae.... Is it the same documents you will be taking with you in Bangkok.. am also reapplying in Bangkok but i do not know what is the documents i will be taking with me. Swiss embassy don't have idea of anything about the process or about the requirements

      thanks

      Delete
    3. Is it possible to apply a schengen visa in Thailand after being denied in an Italian embassy in Manila? Anyone who tried it? What are the requirements?
      And how fast can we re apply again after being denied?

      Delete
  6. hi
    i came across your blog while researching on schengen visa. i read in your post that you were denied the first time. I'm just wondering if the option of reapplying can be done even if the appeal period is not yet over? i applied at italian embassy and got denied and given 60days to appeal.hope you could give me some pointers on these (reapply or appeal).

    thanks

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yes, I reapplied immediately after getting the denial. You do not have to wait for the 60 days. If you plan to reapply, make sure you can submit additional documents that can prove your rootedness in the Philippines. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. FIrst, thank you for your very informative blog. Second, you mentioned "additional documents that can prove your rootedness in the Philippines". May i ask what type of docs? I applied thru VIA 2 weeks ago and just got letter today from Italian embassy to go for interview immediately. I might be asked to prove that I will be returning home after my planned trip, and I want to be ready to present docs as proof.

      Appreciate your reply. Thanks

      Delete
    2. I updated the post and mentioned what documents I presented. These are what I had so these were what I presented. If you have more docs that can prove your rootedness, go all out and show them. Good luck!

      Delete
  8. hi.is reapplying better than an appeal? i read in another blog kasi that an appeal is better so that the denial can be stricken out from the system. Also, did they stamped denied visa in the passport? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Anonymous, I did not try to reappeal since I think that would need a lawyer and I do not know anyone from Italy to help me with that. I believe that if you reappeal (and if you win), the denial will be stricken out from the system. Then again, I just reapplied immediately (Sept 2011) in the same embassy and I was given the Schengen Visa. They stamped my passport, but hindi naman "Denied" yung naka-stamp. I think it was "Received" when translated in English.

    Despite the denial being in the system, I was still granted a Schengen Visa by the Spanish Embassy for the trip this year (April 2013_.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi just a quick question..what number did you call regarding how to re.apply? hoping i could get another chance with more substantial proof

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello is it possible to appeal and reapply at the same time? And wud it look good?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello there! Ang appointment Ko sa Italian Embassy Oct2 theN after kong mag pass ng requirements they gave me receipt and said come back on Oct15 so bumalik ako I thought i will get approved but the embassy said that I need to come back again after 3 weeks...my question is do I need togive them new flight booking and insurance coz my flight would be on Oct26 tpos wla pkong visa?

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi. I think it would be good to clarify this with the embassy. I guess they are checking your application further. If there's no advice from them to rebook, I suggest wag muna. Better call and clarify. HTH.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi!.ask ko lng about kung gaano katagal ang pag release ng visa.I got finished my interview in austrian embassy almost 3 weeks ago.at yung nbasa ko po sa web nila kung ilang weeks ang processing nila 5 or 15 working days,at naricieved na po nila yung additional documents ko after 2 days mula ng nag apply ako,my question are ,possible ba nag approved ako,? At 15 days na po hanggang ngayon wala pa sa akin ang result.,pwde ba magg email ako to ask them kailan.?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi I just recieve mail today from austrian embassy and u nfortunately visa denied..i want to apply appeal but I dont know how. the information on the purpose and the conditions of the intended stay was not reliable submitted

    ReplyDelete
  16. hello there.

    tanong ko kung ma iinterview ba kahit walang documents for rootedness in the Philippines? unemployed, no propertiy and no bank account. but i have other documents for applying schengen visa for German embassy. visiting a family/friend ung reason. then the letter of invitation ba will help kung na explain dun ni sponsor kung bakit walang documents na ma present for rootedness in the Ph? and also travel together here in Asia (outside Ph) with sponsor will help din ba?Im nervous kac nkapag set na ako ng appiontment this coming march 24.

    hope to hear from you

    God Bless.....

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi po.

    I need help.

    I am planning to get a Schengen visa for Norway. My bf will sponsor me. I will go there to visit him and to get to know him better. We met only once and known each other for 4 months only. Will this be a problem?

    Will there be a big chance that my application be denied? I do not have work right now and I don't have strong reason to come back to Philippines like a child or business. But I would surely come back and will process for fiancee visa hopefully..

    Please help. THanks.

    ReplyDelete
  18. hello. i hope you can read this comment asap. i applied at the italian embassy and just received the result today. unluckily, it's denied. i want to appeal. would you mind sharing with me the right email add to send my appeal and what other documents you added. -yellowsummer

    ReplyDelete
  19. by the way, if I appeal, do I pay for the visa again? thanks -yellowsummer

    ReplyDelete
  20. An appeal is free and has the benefit that the application will be registrated as approved in the system rather then denied (if the appeal succeeds ofcourse), which looks more favourable if you apply for a visa again in the future. It may take a while though, usually appeals are handled in the home country were as a application is initially decided upon by the embassy. They may forward it back home if they are in doubt though for a more indepth review by officials. When you apply or appeal be sure to try and cover your travel purpose (it's convincing, clear, does not raise questions) and why you will return home in time (ties to PH such as family, property, work, a written statement that you will return in time since you are aware overstay would negatively impact future applications etc.). You may need a lawyer but some websites give good advice too for those who appeal. But if you re apply you still need to counter the reasons for denial!

    ReplyDelete
  21. “For the travel insurance, make sure that you will obtain one which is an accredited insurance agency by the Schengen Country.” – Yes. It would be best to check it with your travel insurance provider. I know my insurance providers that are not accredited by Schengen Country. So I looked for one that has an international office. What I got is the MAPFRE Insular (http://mapfre.com.ph). They are the ones handling my travel insurance policy ever since.

    ReplyDelete
  22. How many months or weeks before your intended trip did you file your visa application?

    ReplyDelete
  23. I got a schengen visa denied. I submitted all documents. Confirmed roundtrip ticket.. itinerary.. accommodation.. money in the bank.. assets. Sponsored submitted all documents as well.
    Reasons for denial are:
    1. The Information submitted regarding the justification for the purpose and conditions of the intended stay was not reliable2. Your intention to leave the territory of the member states before the expiry of the visa could not be ascertained.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Leizl, did you apply also in italian embassy? Nainterview kb? thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello, anyone with a copy of their refusal/denied letter from the spanish embassy? I really need it so badly. Please message me thru email: donnasescon@gmail.com and I'll gladly explain further why I needed the said document. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  26. hi! great blog here. very insightful. By the way, I have questions re your re-application of your visa in the Italian Embassy. I have received my refusal letter yesterday and I'm really hoping to travel with my sisters mid June. They both have their visas since they're both working in Singapore. Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  27. hi! great blog here. very insightful. By the way, I have questions re your re-application of your visa in the Italian Embassy. I have received my refusal letter yesterday and I'm really hoping to travel with my sisters mid June. They both have their visas since they're both working in Singapore. Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Nice to see this article. I really liked it. If you want more know about Visa immigration service’s Click here and get a best solution of your query.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Anyone here who went through appealing for denied visa? what and how was your experience, how long will it take and was it successful and were you able to obtain your visa after appealing? I will grateful for your responses.

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is a nice blog. I like the "Andami din naman kasing Pinoy na siraulo" which I totally agree. Those with sincere intentions of just going for a holiday suffers.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I have questions. Which is better to re apply to Italian Embassy or to appeal? How long to re apply? If to appeal can I emailI them? I have received my refusal letter 1 week ago. Thank you!🙂

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...