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Schengen Visa Requirements in the Philippines

Sharing my experiences in my Schengen visa application through the embassy of Switzerland, via VFS Global.

Schengen Visa Requirements, with a beautiful scenery in Switzerland in the background

The Schengen Visa Application Process in the Philippines (for employed Filipinos)

Applying for Schengen visa through any of its member countries seem to have similar processes and requirements but may differ in some ways.

In this article, I am sharing the 5 major steps I went through in applying for Schengen visa.


1. Visualize your travel plans in the Schengen region

Nice view in Switzerland


This is an important step because it affects your airline booking, hotel accommodation and other documents.


Plan your duration of stay in the Schengen area

Make sure that your intended duration of stay indicated in your application is relates to all the documents you will be submitting - including your airline booking, accommodation, leave submission from your company, etc.


A hotel in Switzerland



Tip: If you are applying Schengen visa for the first time, it is advisable that you first apply for shorter duration. A Schengen visa can be issued with 90 days duration, but this does not mean you should right away apply for a 90-day visa.


Know which Schengen countries to visit in Europe

The Schengen area comprises of 26 countries in Europe.

Determine all the countries you plan to visit as you will state this in the itinerary you will be submitting. This can also help you in determining which embassy will you be passing your Schengen visa application.


Europe map Schengen


Selecting which embassy should be easy. Simply ask:

  • Which country will you be staying the longest?
  • Which country is your point of entry to the Schengen region?


In my case, I selected the embassy of Switzerland because I intended to stay in Switzerland the longest, intending to visit the beautiful sights of its country side.

Also, the plan initially is to enter through Geneva in Switzerland. However, because of changes in schedules, my final point of entry became Milan in Italy.

Schengen visa applications through the Swiss embassy are administered by VFS Global. They screen the applicants' documents before forwarding it to the Swiss embassy.


2. Prepare the Schengen visa requirements

A person booking an airline online

The documents I personally prepared are applicable to employed Philippine passport holders.

I mainly followed this list discussed in Schengen Visa Info

Prepare, gather and make sure all the required documents are clear and don’t have any errors, even typographical ones.

I printed the following documents in an A4-size paper:

Birth certificate 

Although you only need to submit a photocopy,  I suggest you bring the original because they might want to check it.

If married, prepare a copy of your marriage certificate.


Certificate of Employment

The your Certificate of Employment should be updated and should be appropriate to the leave permission from your company and your flight itinerary.


Proof of Sufficient Financial Capacity

Proof of sufficient financial means to cover your trip expenses (e.g., bank statements, credit card bills, proof of investments). Bank statements should not be older than 3 months.

For this I used my time deposit account certificate and I also added copies of land title. Just show them you can support yourself on your trip and hint that you have assets to go back home to.


Income Tax Return

Get a copy of your income tax return from the previous year. Showing you are a tax payer here in the Philippines 


Filled-out Schengen visa application form

Download the form on the specific embassy you’re applying to and fill it up. I used this Schengen Visa Application form, which is a uniform application form by all 26 Schengen countries

I filled-out the form digitally but I signed it manually because wet signature is required.


Cover Letter

The cover letter is actually your opportunity to explain why you want to visit the countries in the Schengen area. 

Write a cover letter stating your purpose in visiting the Schengen countries. I made mine simple and concise. You can make your cover letter short, indicating what you’re intending to do in the Schengen countries. 

This is your letter to the consul convincing them why you should be allowed to enter their country.

I made mine simple and concise. You can make your cover letter short, indicating what you’re intending to do in the Schengen countries. 

I placed a summarized trip itinerary on the cover letter but I have a more detailed itinerary in a separate sheet.

Remember, the important thing to prove is that you are going back to your home country. Your rootedness should be firmly established.


Valid passport 

Your passport should have at least two blank pages and a validity of three months beyond your planned stay

Make sure you have copies of your passports the front page and previous visas will also help.

Include previous passports as proof of travel history

When I got to VFS global they photocopied all my previous passports and immigration stamps.

I brought my old passports to show all my visas from USA, Japan, China, and Korea because it boosts your application. 

USA visa


Tip: Photocopy both your current and previous passports ahead of time because it is a bit expensive to get copies in VFS global. If I'm not mistaken, it’s around 5 or 10 PHP per page. Be prepared so you can save some money.


Recent passport-sized photos meeting specified requirements

Visit any ID picture shop and inform them it’s for a Schengen visa. The staff know the required measurements.


Detailed travel itinerary

Create an itinerary on which cities you will visit, including the specific places you intend to see. The consul would like to know where you are going and what you are going to do. 

At the same time, this can provide a structure to your trip. This can be your guide in going around the Schengen area. You may not entirely follow what's written here, but it can be your list of places to go to.


Accommodation bookings

A proof of accommodation showing your hotel / Airbnb details including the address and phone number.

I used and went ahead and looked for a place I can book with free cancellations so I can easily cancel if case I don’t get the visa. You may check the filters for "free cancellation" or "pay at the hotel". 

Make your bookings believable, with exact dates because they can potentially check these.

This will be your proof of accommodation so print out details in included in the booking confirmation because they will collect these.

Roundtrip Flight Itinerary

Another one is your flight itinerary or booking or reservation. On this one I advise you don’t confirm your flight unless you got your visa approved because it is a waste of money.

Some travel agencies offer dummy tickets for a few hundred of pesos. However, what I did is I went ahead and booked a flight to my Zurich then back to Manila. There should be a flight itinerary page with your details on it like name and passport number. I right clicked the page press print and save it as PDF then print it. From my experience, this is good enough because why would you book a flight that you’re not 100% sure that you can fly to.

Be sure to input realistic entry and exit flights because what you write in your itinerary maybe the same timeframe the embassy will give you.


Travel Health Insurance 

The travel insurance coverage required by Schengen should have a minimum of €30,000 for medical emergencies (including COVID-19 cases), including repatriation. 

travel insurance policy


I got my travel insurance from contact them to request for a quote.

Best travel insurance for Schengen

Among the Schengen travel insurance plans recommended to me, I selected the Starr TraveLead - Extra plan.

It was explained to me that it has Php 2,500,000 (around EUR 41,000) medical coverage, which is more than enough from the EUR 30,000 requirement. Starr Insurance Philippines is also accredited to Schengen embassies. 

How much is travel insurance for Schengen visa?

The cost is directly affected by the duration of your travel. For my 2-week trip, the Schengen-approved travel insurance costs around Php 2,100.


3. Schedule an Appointment

I applied for Schengen visa 11 weeks before my intended travel.

Most Schengen countries require applicants to book an appointment to submit their visa application in person.

VFS Global Website

Visit the embassy or consulate's website to schedule your appointment, ensuring that you do in advance to secure your preferred date. Applying through the Swiss embassy means going through VFS Global. I scheduled my appointment online through their website  VFS' website.


Be ready to explain your travel intent.

Familiarize yourself with your travel plans and be prepared to discuss your purpose of visit, itinerary, financial status, and other relevant details.

laptop and travel stuff

I was prepared but luckily I did not have to undergo an interview. They only clarified some things in my itinerary.

After gathering all the documents, VFS will forward your documents to the Embassy.

They will get your biometrics so it is advisable you prepare for this photo op.

4. Proceed to VFS Global on your confirmed schedule

Pay the Schengen visa fee

The cost is about  Php 6,000 per applicant. 

VFS global visa fee here in the Philippines is Php 4,800 plus about Php 1,200 for logistics.

There is a non-refundable visa application fee that must be paid during the application process. The fee amount may vary depending on the Schengen country you are applying to, so ensure you have the necessary funds ready.


Submit your passport

They will get your passport at this stage.


Tip: bring a book or a newspaper to pass time because you will have to surrender your gadgets to them. The lockers are free and secure.


5. The Waiting Game

calendar and hourglass

I got my approved Schengen visa real quick

In general, the visa processing time can vary.

In my case, after 6 days, my Schengen visa was approved.


Receive your passport

If your visa application is approved, you will be notified.

You can collect your passport with the Schengen visa from the embassy or consulate.

VFS Global time for pick up is at 1400H-1600H PH time. 

Tips in applying for Schengen visa in the Philippines

Securing a Schengen visa in the Philippines may seem like a tedious process, but with the right information and preparation it can be done by yourself.

Complete the requirements and make a positive impression during the interview (if there is an actual interview) and patiently await your visa approval.

Make your documents accurate and connected so they won’t notice any discrepancies.

Carefully plan the actual travel dates in advance.


Schengen visa is the gateway to a wonderful Europe trip

I was able to visit a number of cities in Switzerland and Italy during my 2-week trip

Siena Florence Italy

Canal in Venice Italy


Interlaken Switzerland

A day somewhere in Switzerland



Need Travel Medical Insurance for Schengen Visa?

Checkout your available Schengen-approved travel insurance options by either: