How to Apply for a Schengen Visa at the Embassy of Italy via VIA.ph
Out of the three visa applications I've done, the one for Schengen Visa was the messiest and bulkiest. Not to scare you or anything, but at that time, my Petition for Correction of Clerical Error on my birth certificate has begun, and I had to submit twice as many documents to prove that the name I've been using my whole life is the one I use in all of my documents, including summer workshop certificates! Fortunately, all those trips to Manila City Hall and the lawyer's office did pay off because the Embassy of Italy granted me, and my family, a tourist visa. Out of the three visa applications I've done, the one for Schengen Visa was the messiest and bulkiest. Not to scare you or anything, but at that time, my Petition for Correction of Clerical Error on my birth certificate has begun, and I had to submit twice as many documents to prove that the name I've been using my whole life is the one I use in all of my documents, including summer workshop certificates! Fortunately, all those trips to Manila City Hall and the lawyer's office did pay off because the Embassy of Italy granted me, and my family, a tourist visa.
How to Apply for a Schengen Visa (Short Term Stay)
Visa applications for Schengen Visa must be made at the Embassy/Consulate where you'll stay the longest. Meaning if you're spending two days in France, ten days in Germany and five days in Italy; you have to apply at the Embassy of Germany. But if you're visiting several countries for an equal number of days, you have to apply at the first country you're going to visit.
Here are the countries covered by the Schengen Visa: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein
Embassy of Italy: Application through VIA.PH
Since our family will be staying longest in Italy, we applied through a processing center. The Embassy of Italy has contracted PIASI to offer assistance in the lodgement of visa applications, and their website, via.ph, has all information you need for the application. I love processing centers when it comes to visa applications because they will tell it to you straight if your documents are incomplete. If you don't have the required documents with you, then you must go home and come back later or set a new appointment. I think this greatly beneficial to those who came in prepared and are just waiting for their turn to submit the documents needed.
- The first step is to prepare the necessary requirements for a tourist visa. Here are some of the critical documents you need to provide:
- Old and valid passports with at least six months of validity
- Photocopy of the bio and last page, visas, and immigration stamps on the passport
- Completely accomplished application form with a 2x2 colored photo
- NSO Birth Certificate
- Bank certification
- Bank statements for the past six months or one year
- Travel itinerary
- Letter of introduction addressed to the Embassy
- Travel insurance (See list of accredited insurance companies here)
- Minimum coverage: EUR30,000
- Proof of Employment
- Employed: Certificate of Employment that states the approved leave of absence
- Self-Employed: Business licenses, permits, registrations, statements and ITR
- NSO Marriage Certificate, if married
- Visa Processing and Service Fees (See rates here)
- Schedule an appointment via phone or walk-in. If you call them, it's PHP32/minute.
- PLDT/ Smart: 1-909-101-2200
- Bayantel: 1-903-2200
- Globe: 1-900-101-2200
- Submit your application at the following centers, on the date and time of appointment:
VIA CENTRE MANILA 3rd Floor, Allegro Center 2284 Chino Roces Extension Barangay Magallanes, Makati City 1232 VIA CENTRE CEBU Unit 1004-B 10th Floor Keppel Center, Samar Loop corner Cardinal Rosales Ave., Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
Things To Know
- As a general rule, late-comers will not be entertained. They open as early as 7 AM and in my experience, it was the best time to visit. There'll be a security check and queuing system, so come at least 15-30 minutes before your appointment.
- Personal appearance is required because you need to register for the biometrics.
- The staff at the VIA center are nice and knows what they're doing. In fact, they were the one who suggested that I should file a petition for my birth certificate. If you have any concerns or questions about your documents, feel free to ask them for advice.
- The Italian Embassy also does not do an interview unless they have questions. In our case, they asked my mom to go down to the Embassy's office in Makati to submit additional requirements.There's no computerized queuing system at the Embassy; you'll just be asked to surrender your passport at the guard and wait for your turn. We ended up waiting for two hours because the guards forgot to surrender our documents to the consul.
- Gadgets aren't allowed inside the Embassy. They have a TV with a poor satellite signal (ABS-CBN black box wasn't available at that time), so bring something to read while waiting.
- Our trip was partially sponsored by a dental conference happening in Milan, Italy. The organizers gave us a copy of the documents needed (invitation, bookings, and accommodations). Since it's strongly encouraged not to purchase the tickets before you receive your approved visa, these materials are arranged by a travel agency who partnered with the organizer.
- Processing time may vary, but the standard time is two weeks. If you applied through VIA.PH, you'll claim your passport at their center.
So that wraps up my entire Schengen tourist visa experience! I hope this post will help enlighten and prepare you should you ever apply. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or call the numbers posted above.