How to Apply for Schengen Visa via French Embassy in the Philippines?
It was in October when my friends and I started planning for our first ever trip to Europe. To visit most of the countries in Europe, one must have a Schengen Visa. So when we began planning, our first agenda was how to apply for Schengen Visa and where? Choosing the right embassy to apply for Schengen Visa depends on which country you would be staying the longest. Because of that, we had to plan our journey first. We have two weeks to spend in Europe. My friends and I had a few meet ups and even set up an online board to thoughtfully plan our destinations and the activities that we would like to do. After creating our initial travel itinerary, it showed that we would be staying the longest in France so we decided to apply for Schengen Visa via French embassy.
What is a Schengen Visa?
Before I go to the steps on how to apply for Schengen Visa via French embassy, let’s tackle first what is Schengen Visa. This is a short-stay visa that allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area. Currently, 26 countries in Europe are members of the region. A person with Schengen Visa can stay up to 90 days for tourism, visit or business purposes. It enables the visa holder to enter and freely travel within, and leave the Schengen zone from any of the Schengen member countries. There are no border controls within the Schengen region.
How to Apply for Schengen Visa via French Embassy?
Since my friends and I would be staying in France the longest during our trip to Europe, we had to apply for Schengen visa via French embassy. Here are the steps.
1. Create a France-Visas account
You need to create an account to access the visa application form.
2. Complete the visa form
After setting up an account, you can now accomplish the visa application form. Filling up the form is pretty straightforward so just provide whatever is needed. The form has 5 parts that detail the following:
- Plans – tourism
- Personal information – provide information on your identity, personal details, information about your family
- Last visa – indicate here if you have previously received a Schengen visa within the last five years
- Stay – provide all the information regarding your stay in the Schengen area
- Contact – provide all the information regarding your contacts in the place of your stay
You can save your progress at any time. Any change made to a step (next, back) will be saved automatically. Fields marked with * are obligatory.
If all the steps of your application are confirmed, make sure to review and double check the content. If certain information needs to be corrected, return to your application.
When everything’s completed and double checked, click submit. Then, the page will be redirected to the checklist and the completed application form. Print both, which you need to bring to the VFS Global Center along with other requirements.
3. Prepare the requirements
Prepare the originals and copy of the required documents in support of your application for Schengen visa via French embassy. Here are the documents I submitted:
- ID Photo
- Flight ticket
- Bus reservations
- Cover letter
- Travel itinerary
- Hotel reservations
- Travel insurance
- Certificate of employment
- Pay slip
- Bank statement
4. Make an appointment
When you have all the documents required for the application already, visit the VFS Online Appointment system and make an appointment. Print the appointment letter.
5. Go to VFS Global Center
On the day of your appointment, go to the VFS Global Center to submit the application and supporting documents. Make sure to come at least 15 minutes early before your schedule. Once in VFS Global Center, you will be asked you’re your appointment letter. Then the staff will give you a queue number. When called, a VFS Global Center representative will review your application and requirements. The visa center might also ask for further documentation and information just like when they asked for a photo copy of some of my previous visas, which wasn’t on the check list.
After submitting the documents, I paid for the visa fee (see below). Then I waited for my turn for biometric data collection. Afterwards, the VFS Global Center representative told me to just wait for the result, which could take up to 5 to 15 working days. I didn’t avail of the SMS service therefore I’ll just be notified by email.
- Schengen Visa fee – EUR 60 (~Php3,470)
- As of February 2, 2020, the Schengen visa fee per person has increased to EUR 80 (~Php4,625).
- VFS Global Center service charge – Php1,500
- Optional services:
- SMS service
6. Track the progress of your application
While waiting for the result, you can also track the progress of your application. Simply visit, the VFS Global online and log in with your account.
7. Claim your passport
If you opt for a courier, you can wait for your passport to be delivered in your address. However, if you choose to collect the passport in person, go to the VFS Global Center between 2:00pm to 4:00pm. I was able to get my passport 7 days after I submitted my application. It took a little longer because the embassy asked me to provide additional requirements.
My Schengen Visa application timeline
October 11, 2019
- Submitted documents for my visa application to the VFS Global Center
- Received a notification that my visa application has been dispatched to the France Embassy Manila
October 15, 2019
- Received an email telling that the visa section of France Embassy Manila was asking for some additional requirements. These were tickets or proof of transportation between the Schengen countries that we intend to visit and an updated and full ITR
- Proof of transportation between the Schengen countries – since we will be visiting three countries, the embassy was asking for a proof on how we will travel from one country to another. My friends and I reserved a ticket from Italy to France and purchased a bus ticket from France to Switzerland
- The ticket doesn’t need to be confirmed. Our train ticket from Italy to France was only a reservation.
October 16, 2019
- Went back to the VFS Global Center to submit the additional requirements
October 18, 2019
- Received an email that my passport was ready for collection
- Went to the VFS Global Center and collected my passport with granted Schengen visa.
Frequently asked questions
- When is the best time to apply for Schengen Visa? It’s highly recommended to apply at least three months before the trip.
- Do I need to have a show-money? Yes. You must submit proof of means of financial support. This could be bank statement for the past four months or pay slip.
- How much should be the show-money? It depends on the number of days that you will be in France and other member countries of the Schengen area. For France, you must have sufficient resources to cover your expenses to the amount of €120 or ~Php6,800 per day (if holding no proof of prepaid accommodation).
- Do I have to buy a plane ticket before or after they issue the visa? It is not recommendable to buy a confirmed ticket before getting the visa. When you submit the application, you only have to present a copy of the reservation of the return ticket.
- Is there an interview at the VFS Global Center? There’s none. The visa representative will only review your form and requirements – and might ask additional documentation if needed.
- How much time does it take to get the result of the application? When I applied, I was told to wait for 5 to 15 working days. In some cases, it could take up to 21 working days.
Please note that steps provided in this blog are for application for Schengen Visa intended for tourism only. If you are applying for other types of visa, please contact the embassy or visit the official website.
Got questions? Comment it down below and we’ll try to answer it.
VFS Global Center for France
30th Floor, The World Centre, Senator Gil Puyat Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
Hours of Operation: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Phone: +63 2 8790 4903