A Schengen Visa is very handy. It allows you to enter any of the 26 countries that are part of the Schengen agreement—from Iceland to Greece. It’s like an all-access pass that lets you through several countries in Europe. How can you improve your chances of getting a Schengen Visa? Here are a few suggestions.
Apply at the Embassy of Your Main Destination
If you’re only visiting one country, apply at the embassy of that country. But if you’re visiting multiple countries, apply at the country where you will be staying the longest, otherwise known as your main destination.
Be Prepared with Your Visa Requirements
Most of the embassies ask for the same requirements. The usual requirements include your passport, a passport-size photo with a white background, a fully accomplished application form, your detailed itinerary, flight reservation, hotel reservation, travel health insurance, proof of financial capacity (bank statement), and proof of rootedness in the Philippines (most recent income tax return, certificate of employment, leave of absence approval letter).
Reserve a Flight First
You are required to provide your flight reservation, but don’t book your flight yet. You’ll end up wasting your money if your visa application is denied. Save your money and don’t pay for your ticket just yet. To make things easier, you can opt to get a travel agency to reserve your flight for you.
Book Hotels with Free Cancellation Policy
Is it smart to get a hotel room when you could easily be denied access to the continent? No. So book via third-party websites like Agoda and Booking.com so you can book hotels with no cancellation fees. In case you are denied a visa, you can easily cancel without wasting a lot of money.
Include a Cover Letter
A cover letter is not required, but provide one anyway. A cover letter basically explains the purpose of your trip. It is an added assurance that you intend to return to your home country.
Prepare for Your Interview
Some embassies may require interviews. Try to calm your nerves and just answer the questions as honestly and clearly as you can. Do not lie. The truth is bound to come out. Prepare for your interview by thinking of your answers in advance. The usual questions are about your itinerary, your rootedness in your home country, and your connection or relatives in Europe. It is important that you know your itinerary like the back of your hand. Be confident when you’re talking about your reasons for returning to your home country.
Make Sure You Have Enough Money in Your Bank Account
Your bank statement is meant to show that you can afford the trip. So how much money is enough? A good rule to follow is to add the cost of the flights you reserved, the cost of your accommodation, and some pocket money, say 60 euros per day of your stay. That should be enough to cover your trip. But your bank account should have more than that. If they see that you don’t have enough money, then that would definitely raise red flags.
Apply in Advance
Some embassies can process your application in as quickly as three days, while some take as long as a month. Since you can apply up to three months in advance, apply as early as you can. Don’t miss out on Europe just because you ran out of time.