A Step By Step Guide On Getting A Schengen Visa Through The German Embassy

There is no doubt that traveling to Europe is on everyone’s travel bucket list. For a budget traveler like me who started exploring the provinces of our home country until slowly ticking off Asian destinations, it’s hard not to get emotional about it. It may seem like a long way down the road when you think about it at first. After all, it has been a life-long dream. But when you finally get that visa approval and you’re about to board your flight to that country that will be your entry point to Europe, it starts to slowly sink in. THIS. IS. IT. This is finally it!

When you think about it, planning your dream trip could be a little intimidating and overwhelming. With all the planning involved–from preparing itineraries to budget costing all the way down to booking your accommodation. But before anything else, you need a secure a visa first. Now, don’t be afraid. I’ve prepared an entire article about all you need to know to help you apply for your Schengen visa. All you need to do is prepare everything and trust that you will soon be making your dream adventure come true!

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Overview:

A Schengen visa obtained by any of the Schengen Area member countries allows its holder to travel freely within the whole 26 states included in the Schengen Zone up to 90 days for tourism purposes. According to the type of visa issued by the certain embassy/consulate of any Schengen country, there are different restrictions that apply to the particular visa in accordance with the nature of traveling and other relevant circumstances. NOTE: This article is intended for tourists who intend to travel around Europe. This post will not be of any help if your purpose of applying for a Schengen visa is other than tourism.

These are the countries that are part of the Schengen Zone:

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

If you are a Filipino passport holder, you need to obtain a Schengen visa first before entering Europe. Some say the application process is complicated.

However, based on my experience, as long as you follow the step-by-step guide, you provide the complete requirements, and you prove your financial capability, everything will turn out well. After all, the main purpose of requiring visas is to identify the reason why you are coming to a certain country. If you are applying for a tourist visa, the embassy/consulate would want to prove that you are not just using the tourist visa to enter their country and have a different purpose afterwards (like work there or live there permanently). So you have to prove that you can afford traveling around Europe and you should have enough proof that you will be coming back from Europe. As long as you have sufficient proof, the odds will definitely be in your favor!

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IMPORTANT NOTES:

WHICH SCHENGEN COUNTRY TO CHOOSE WHEN APPLYING FOR A VISA?

Depending on the purpose and frequency of your visit, the Schengen consulate can issue the holder a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or a multiple-entry visa. You have the choice to apply for a visa to any Schengen country (you may choose to get your visa at the French or the Dutch embassy among others), but in my case, I opted for the German Schengen visa since Berlin is on the top of our itinerary. As for my experience, the processing went smoothly and the German Embassy was very accommodating.

If you want to do the same, process your visa at the German Embassy only if ANY of these statements is true and applicable to you:

  • You intend to go to Germany only and will not visit any other country.
  • You will visit multiple Schengen countries but you will spend the longest duration of your stay in Germany.
  • You will visit multiple Schengen countries but the main purpose of your trip is in Germany. Let’s say for example, you’re attending a seminar in Germany, but you also plan on exploring other Schengen countries.
  • You will stay in multiple Schengen countries for exactly the same number of days, but Germany is your point of entry.

Do take note of the following:

  • Don’t apply for a German Schengen visa if the only European country you intend to visit is France.
  • Don’t apply for a German Schengen visa if you’re staying in France for a longer duration than your stay in Germany.
  • If you plan on visiting multiple countries in Europe, I suggest you apply for the German Schengen visa. Compared to other European embassies, the German office is said to be more considerate to applicants.

WHEN TO APPLY?

You may apply up to 90 days or 3 months before your travel dates. It is always safe to give some time allowance just in case you need to submit additional documents. The processing at the German Embassy takes at least 10 working days, but sometimes it can be shorter than that.

WHERE TO APPLY?

The submission of the application requirements for German Schengen visa must be coursed through VFS Global. VFS Global is authorized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to collect visa applications. You can either process through VFS Global Makati or VFS Global Cebu.

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GERMAN SCHENGEN VISA: List Of Requirements

Here is the list of requirements that you need to prepare for your application:

  • VISA APPLICATION FORM
    • This must be accomplished completely and signed by the applicant.
  • 2 CURRENT BIOMETRIC PASSPORT PICTURE
    • See the attached link for the sample guidelines: CLICK HERE
  • DECLARATION ACCORDING TO  § 54 AufenthaltsG
    • This must be accomplished completely and signed by the applicant.
  • ORIGINAL PASSPORT
    • This must be valid for another 3 months after the conclusion of travel.
    • This must have 2 empty pages.
  • 1 PHOTOCOPY OF PASSPORT
    • This must include all visas and immigration stamps for the last 5 years.
  • DETAILS REGARDING THE TRAVEL DESTINATION
    • This refers to your day-to-day itinerary.
    • Write a letter that explains the reason for your visit. The letter must include your detailed itinerary, as well as the places you will visit and the tours that you intend to take.
    • Click the attached links for the sample letter and sample itinerary.
  • DETAILS REGARDING THE MEANS OF TRAVEL FOR THE OUTWARD AND RETURN JOURNEY
    • See the attached link for the sample ticket that I used: CLICK HERE
    • Recommended Agency: I recommend Gazelle Travel and Tours. You can get flight reservations, hotel reservations, and travel insurance from them. Regular processing will cost you PHP 990 (up to 3 flights). While rush processing will cost PHP 1,590 (up to 5 flights).

GAZELLE TRAVEL AND TOURS
Address: Unit 01-E Clemenson Commercial Bldg., St. Joseph, Drive corner, Ortigas Avenue Extension, Cainta, 1900 Rizal
Contact: (02) 8463 8134
Email: travelbookings@1gazelle.com

  • INFORMAL INVITATION LETTER BY THE HOST (IF NO FORMAL OBLIGATION IS SUBMITTED)
    • The letter must indicate the host’s exact address of residence, the purpose of travel, as well as the full duration of the stay.
  • ACCOMMODATION VOUCHER OR CONFIRMATION
    • Whichever is applicable, provide the confirmation from the hotel, guest house, or any kind of accommodation that has already been paid for.
    • See the attached link for the sample document that I used: CLICK HERE
  • STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FOR THE PAST SIX MONTHS
    • Don’t forget to include the bank confirmation.
    • Personal experience: If you are a BPI holder, it will take 15 working days before you can get your statement of account, so it’s best if you request ahead of time.
  • IF EMPLOYED, PROOF OF EMPLOYMENT (ITR, COE, APPROVED LEAVE OF ABSENCE)
    • The COE must include employer’s full name, complete address, telephone number with area code, details regarding the position, income, and employment duration.
  • IF SELF EMPLOYED, PROOF OF REGISTRATION AND COMMERCIAL ACTIVITY OF THE COMPANY (ITR, BANK CERTIFICATE, COMPANY ACCOUNTS, ETC.)
  • IF STUDENT, SCHOOL CERTIFICATE, PROOF OF ENROLLMENT, LETTER OF EXEMPTION FROM STUDIES IF APPLICABLE
  • PROOF OF REAL ESTATE PROPERTY (IF APPLICABLE)
    • You may provide the original land title for validating photocopy and the deed of sale.
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE 
    • This must be valid for the duration of the stay, minimum coverage of EUR 30,000.
    • This must be valid for all Schengen States.
    • This must be accredited (original & 1 photocopy).
    • See the attached link for the sample travel insurance: CLICK HERE
    • Recommended Agency: I recommend Standard Insurance Co. Inc. You can get  a travel insurance for PHP 1,918.

STANDARD INSURANCE CO. INC.
Address: 5th Ajinomoto Bldg., 331, Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue Bel-Air NCR, Fourth District City of Makati
Contact: (+632) 8845-1111
Email: teamonline@standard-insurance.com

  • VISA FEE OF EUR 60

For children below, 18 years old, here are some additional documents that must be submitted:

  • PERSONAL APPEARANCE OF BOTH PARENTS
    • If both parents are both residing in the Philippines, personal appearance is required during the submission of visa application. Both parents must bring valid IDs (passport or driver’s license).
    • If the person having custody over the child is living abroad, the declaration of consent must be given before a German consul.
    • If the person having custody over the child is residing in DE, the declaration of consent must be given before the Aliens Authority.
  • ORIGINAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE OF THE CHILD
    • This must be issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA – formerly NSO) on security paper (SECPA).

IF TRAVELING WITHOUT BOTH PARENTS:

  • DECLARATION OF CONSENT BY THE LEGAL GUARDIAN(S)
    • This must be signed in front of a German consular office
  • PASSPORTS OF THE LEGAL GUARDIAN(S)
    • The original and one photocopy of the data page must be submitted.
  • PROOF OF LEGAL CUSTODY (IF APPLICABLE)
    • For minors with parents whose marriage was dissolved/annulled
  • DEATH CERTIFICATE OF THE OTHER PARENT (IF APPLICABLE)
    • This must be issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA – formerly NSO) on security paper (SECPA).
  • DSWD TRAVEL PERMIT (IF APPLICABLE)

Follow the link to download the list of requirements: CLICK HERE

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STEP BY STEP GUIDE:

Schengen visa applications for the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany can be submitted by scheduling an appointment and solely by personal appearance of the applicant to the VFS Visa Application Centre for Germany. Their office is open on weekdays from 7:00 AM until 2:00 PM.

Step 1

Before applying, make sure that you have a clear on ‘purpose of visit’. If you are applying for a tourist visa, you must ensure that you are standing by your reason for entering Europe. 

Step 2

Book an appointment. To avoid waiting time due to high volume of applicants, book an appointment in advance before visiting the Visa Application Centre. Booking an appointment is FREE OF CHARGE and is subject to availability. To book an appointment, click here.

Step 3

Accomplish the Application Form and make sure every field has been filled out. Ensure that it is signed and print a copy. Bring the copy with you when attending your visa appointment.

Step 4

Check the payable fees and required documents.

Step 5

Ensure that all documents and photos strictly comply with specifications of the Embassy.

Step 6

Make sure that you have read the security regulation notices before you visit the Visa Application Centre.

Step 7

Submit your application along with the passport and required documents at the Germany VAC in Makati or Cebu.

Upon arriving at the visa application centre, you will be required to present your appointment letter. Take a token at the entrance and be seated in the waiting area. You will then be called to the submission counter where your application and supporting documents will be scanned and checked. Your photograph and passport will be checked for validity. Your biometrics information will be taken. Finally, you will be issued a receipt for the fees and service charges paid as an acknowledgement of your application.

Please note that only applicants and carers/assistants will be allowed to enter the visa application centre.

Step 8

Track your application online.

Step 9

Collect your passport from the Visa Application Centre or wait for courier delivery.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS):

  • How long is the validity of the visa?

Aside from the multiple-entry visa, which enables you to remain in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within a 180 days period, the validity of your single-entry visa or double-entry visa depends on the embassy. The embassy appoints the number of days you are allowed to stay in any of the Schengen countries, as well as the first date you are permitted to enter Schengen and the last day that you are permitted to remain.

  • When should I apply for a Schengen visa?

You may apply up to 90 days or 3 months before your travel dates.

  • When should I expect the release of the visa?

It depends on the embassy. Some release visas after 5 working days. The processing at the German Embassy takes at least 10 working days, but sometimes it can be shorter than that.

  • How would I know what type of visa should I apply for? (Single, Double or Multiple Entry)

This depends on your itinerary and schedule. If you only plan on exploring countries within the Schengen zone, you may just opt for the single entry visa. If your itinerary will require going out of the Schengen zone and coming back again, apply for a double entry visa. Do remember that the double-entry and multiple-entry visa must be justified at the Embassy.

  • Do I need to book plane tickets in advance?

The Embassy do not require airline tickets so you do not have to book your flights ahead of time. You can just present your flight reservations which you can cancel in case your application has been denied.

  • Do I need to provide hotel reservation?

Yes. You must show documents from your accommodation confirming your bookings for the entire duration of your stay. If you are staying in multiple countries, you must provide all the booking confirmation for each and every accommodation.

  • Do I really need travel insurance?

Yes, the embassies require it.

  • Can I still go to other countries which are not included in the itinerary that I submitted?

Yes, as long as the country is within the Schengen Zone.

  • Can I visit European countries that are not within the Schengen zone?

If you are granted a double entry of multiple entry Schengen visa, then yes.

  • Can I enter United Kingdom with a Schengen Visa?

The United Kingdom is not part of the Schengen Zone so if you want to visit the countries within UK, you need to apply for a UK visa.

  • Will there be a personal interview?

It depends on the embassy. Some embassies still require it but others don’t.

  • Do I need to provide a cover letter?

It is not required, but it is highly recommended especially if there will be no interview. Your cover letter should include the purpose of your travel to the Schengen member country or counties, as well as proof of how will you fund your trip. If you have a sponsor, explain your personal relationship with your sponsor and the reason why they will be sponsoring your trip. Also state an overview of your itinerary, which also explains why you chose to apply at the specific Embassy. If you cannot submit any of the required documents, write about the reasons why you cannot submit and explain alternative documents that you may have submitted. Don’t forget to write abouty your intent to return to the Philippines.

  • How much money do I need to have in my bank?

There is no minimum amount required. Just make sure that embassies would need assurance that you can afford the trip. You will be required to submit your sample itinerary, accommodation bookings, as well as flight reservations. So make sure that you have the total of everything mentioned, as well as the pocket money, in your bank account.

As a guide, you should compute your average cost per day by the duration of your stay. (e.g. €60 per day x no. of days)

The amount would vary depending on which country you will be staying at. Always consider the standards and expenses for each country. So, research is key.

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