Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Schengen Visa: 4 Mistakes You Should NOT Commit

I arrived at the French Embassy 30 minutes before the scheduled interview at 8am. There were other applicants who arrived ahead of me and by the time I wrote my name on the handwritten list, I was the 21st.

Gladly, when we were by the embassy’s door, they changed the system, and called out people’s names according to the pre-scheduled list they have. Several names were called, most of who weren’t there yet. I automatically became Applicant #2.

Steps 1 and 2 were a breeze. They only asked for my passport, flight and hotel bookings. Second, they took my biometrics: scan of fingerprints and photo.

Step 3 was when I made several boo-boos. It’s good that the consul was patient enough to allow me to put my documents in order, despite the fact that he had to call me 3 or 4 times until he was satisfied. And here I’ll share with you the four mistakes you should not commit to have a faultless embassy visit:

Mistake # 1: Have your bank statements printed in large paper.
The embassy deals with a lot of documents per day, and if your attached documents are not in the standard letter or legal size, you will be giving them a massive headache.

What to do: If the bank re-prints your statement in a paper double the standard size (just like they did mine), you can have it photocopied in a reduced size. Otherwise, you can just log into your bank account online and print it yourself!

Mistake # 2: Only bring the originals. Do not photocopy your documents.
When I thought all my papers were in order, the consul asked for my travel insurance. I handed him the original, still in plastic. Another mistake! He handed it back to me, and I had to take another trip to the copier.

What to do: Sure, bring in the originals, but make sure everything, as in everything has a copy.

© S.C. Asher

Mistake # 3: Submit your documents in a disorderly manner.
By this time, I’m sure I didn’t miss a thing anymore.
Or so I thought.

The consul shoved back the papers and specifically instructed me to arrange my files according to the chronological order they have listed.

© S.C. Asher

What to do:
Be compliant and do as they say.

For Tourist visa application, they should be organized in this specific manner:
1. Signed application for Schengen visa with photo + 1 extra photo. 
2. Proof of accommodations
3. Proof of employment (if any)
4. Proof of income
5. Identity / Marital status
6. An international insurance 
Not 1, 3, 5, 6, 4, 2.

Mistake # 4: Leave some blanks in your application form.
I was already getting discouraged when for the nth time, the consul looked at me straight in the eye with a tone that’s overbearing and said, “It’s really not that complicated”. I missed out some items in the application form.

What to do:
Even if the question is not applicable to you, write N/A. Do not leave it blank.
Had I not committed any of those mistakes, I would’ve been out of the embassy by 9am! Do yourself a favor. For an effortless visit at the embassy, don’t make the same blunders I did.

BONUS tip:
So, this is not one of my gaffes, but I thought it might be helpful that you should know to bring the exact amount for the visa fee, which is €60,00. At the time of this writing, the prevailing peso equivalent is PhP 3,730.00. They do not give out change, and they do not accept coins.  Because I didn’t have smaller notes with me and I felt like tipping the embassy P10, I shelled out P3,740.00. If you do not want to feel shortchanged in any way, you might as well bring :
three (3) P1,000s, one (1) P 500, (1) P 100, (1) P 50, and four (4) P 20s. 

Have a stress-free Embassy visit!!!


  1. Wow, this is very helpful to me since I'm thinking of applying too. Great blog! :)

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Wow! It's a big help to those who are also interested to apply... =)


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