How to Apply for a Schengen Visa at the Czech Embassy Manila

I just got back from a 3-week Eurotrip/birthday trip. The minute I posted on social media that I was in Europe, several people messaged me asking how I got a Schengen visa.

If you’re a non-Philippine passport holder, you might be wondering why getting a visa is such a big deal for Filipinos. Let’s just say traveling to a first world country with a Philippine passport is akin to being a contestant in American Ninja Warrior. We have to go through so many obstacles just to prove to embassies and even our own immigration officers that we’re not going overseas to seek greener pastures.

But wait, there’s more! It gets even harder when you’re female.

My single-entry Schengen Visa from The Czech Embassy Manila

You see, my profile is one that is usually a red flag for embassies: a 32-year old, single, childless female with no properties under my name AND a freelancer. But because I have this childhood dream of going to Europe and I know that my profile will be an issue down the line, I worked on building my travel history for years, maintained a passbook/savings account, and most importantly, registered myself as a self-employed individual with BIR.

Anyway, enough of that and let me tell you my experience in applying for a Schengen visa.

Usually, the first question is: Where should I apply for a Schengen visa?
 

There are 26 Schengen member states, some of which require that you personally lodge an application at their respective embassy/consulate while others are coursed through VFS Global.

Here’s how to figure out where you should lodge your application:

  • For travel to one particular Schengen state, the Schengen visa application must be lodged at the embassy/consulate of that particular member state e.g. attending a 5-day conference in Belgium. You should lodge your application at the Belgian Embassy in Manila.
  • If the visit includes more than one member state, the Schengen visa application must be lodged at the embassy/consulate of the member state where you are staying the longest e.g. 2 nights in Germany, 4 nights in France, 3 nights in Spain. You should apply at the French embassy.
  • If the visit includes more than one member state and you’re staying the same amount of time in multiple member states, apply at the embassy of the member state you are entering first e.g. 6 nights in Czech Republic, 4 nights in Austria, 2 nights in Germany, 4 nights in Switzerland, and 6 nights in Italy. You should lodge your application at The Czech Embassy in Manila.

APPLICATION

You can apply as early as 3 months before your intended travel date.

In my case, I reserved an appointment from the Czech Embassy’s online reservation system, VISAPOINT, on August 29, 2016. I was surprised to get a schedule for September 27, 2016 at 1:00pm. That’s about a month of waiting, not to mention, just barely 3 weeks before my intended departure date! I was expecting to get an earlier schedule because based from the blogs I’ve read, they easily got the schedule they want since The Czech Embassy does not receive as many applications. Well, I guess word got around.

Anyway, after completing the reservation, you will shortly receive an email requesting you to confirm your appointment within 60 minutes, otherwise, your reservation will not be processed. You also need to print out the confirmation of the reservation and present it at the embassy on the day of the appointment.

REQUIREMENTS

Since I have about a month before my appointment, I had plenty of time to prepare the requirements I needed to submit.

*Please regularly check the respective embassy’s website for the requirements. It could change from time to time.*
**Applicants are required to present the original documents/requirements, and must provide a photocopy of each original document/requirement.**
    • Duly filled out application form. See sample here.
    • Passport and photocopy of the bio page. It should be valid for at least 90 days after intended departure from the Schengen area, and has at least 2 blank pages.
    • 1 recent photograph (3.5 x 4.5cm) with light-colored background glued on the designated space on the upper right corner of the first page of the application form.
    • Printout of all accommodation confirmation. I secured mine from Booking.com – all free cancellation and no prepayment required save for the one I booked through Hostelworld which required a nominal downpayment. Although not officially included in the list of requirements, I also submitted a copy of my detailed itinerary with a breakdown of my anticipated expenses. I will write a separate blog post on this. I believe this greatly helped support my purpose of travel, and showed that the money I have in the bank is more than sufficient to cover my expenses while I’m there. 
    • Official bank certificate. This must include a paragraph containing waiver of rights to release information to the Embassy of the Czech Republic – Visa Section. If this is not possible, a separate authorization letter addressed to the bank concerned must be produced, signed by the account holder and acknowledged by the bank representative (whether by signature or stamp), a copy of which must be submitted to the Embassy at the time of application. It must be supported by either:
      • Copy of bank statements showing transaction history for the past 3 months;
      • Copy of passbook showing transaction history
    • Roundtrip flight reservation. Do not purchase your tickets yet. You can reserve the flights through a travel agency. They usually charge Php500.00 for this and can hold the ticket for 72 hours, and you can request them to hold it again after the 72-hour period expires. You can also check Cathay Pacific or Turkish Airlines. I later found out they have a ‘pay later’ option which allows you to print the flight itinerary without having to pay anything.
    • Travel insurance. Please refer to this list of accredited providers. I got mine from Malayan Insurance for only Php1,555.00 with a coverage of 24 days.
    • Other documents to support the visa application such as:
      • For employees: Certificate of Employment, Leave approval
      • For business owners: business papers (SEC/DTI Certification) – I submitted my DTI Certificate and BIR Certificate of Registration (BIR Form 2303)
      • For students: Certificate of Enrollment
      • Further documentation may be requested at the time of the application. In my case, they requested a copy of my ITR. 
INTERVIEW
 

It says on the confirmation email to arrive 30 minutes earlier than the schedule.

I actually arrived at Rufino Tower around 12:00 noon, but the building receptionist only allowed me to go to the embassy by 12:30pm only for me to find about a dozen people waiting because guess what? They were also scheduled that day for a 1:00pm appointment. I guess there was a system glitch, so they just gave us numbers according to the order we arrived at the embassy.

The interview was held in a small room, with the Czech Consul and a Filipina Consular Officer behind a talk through glass.

They asked me to place all my documents on the deal tray.

Make sure that you do not staple your documents because they will lay it out on the table as if dealing with cards. I felt like I went to a tarot reader to find out if I’ll get a visa or not. LOL Actually, they returned some documents like the bank authorization letter, copy of the bank statement, photocopy of passbook transactions, and credit card statement of accounts.

Then they instantaneously asked me questions. It must have been a dozen or more. I honestly cannot remember them all, but to give you an idea, they asked about the purpose of the trip, if I’ve been to a Schengen state before, duration of my trip, civil status, and itinerary among others.

To be honest, I was a bit rattled even though I know I don’t have any other intentions of going to Europe other than for tourism/leisure. I also made a minor boo-boo with my itinerary. It appeared that I was staying a day longer in Italy than in The Czech Republic so they asked me to change it, otherwise, they would have to “kick me” to the Italian Embassy – their words, not mine. Thankfully, they allowed me to just email the revised itinerary instead of submitting it personally.

Lastly, they asked me about ‘my company’. I guess this is because the documents I submitted were for business owners. So I told them I work online, and that I don’t have any employees nor am I renting an office space. The Czech Consul then said “So, you’re a freelancer?” OMFG! Hearing that 10-letter word sent shivers down my spine. Still, I confidently answered “Yes” because I know any sign of reluctance might cost me the visa. She then asked if I have any proof of my tax returns, so I gave a photocopy of my 11-page Form 1701, but they only took the first page.

They then collected the visa fee and my biometrics.

I was handed a small sheet with the embassy’s contact details and was advised to check back after 5 working days if my passport is ready for collection.

SCHENGEN VISA FEE

I paid Php3,120.00 (about EUR60) at the time of application.

TIMELINE
  • September 27, 2016 – interview and submission of requirements
  • September 28, 2016 – it was a Czech holiday so the embassy was closed
  • October 5, 2016 – a Wednesday, fifth working day since the date of my application. I called that morning, but was advised to call back by 4:00 pm. I live 3 hours outside Manila, and the website states passport pick-ups are only Tuesdays and Wednesdays so I took the risk and traveled to Makati anyway. Got my passport with the Schengen visa!!!
To follow-up on the status of your visa application:
 
For short-term (Type C) visa applications, please contact the Visa Section through (+632) 811 11 55–56, 9:00am – 12:00noon and 2:00pm – 4:00pm. A follow-up can be made five (5) working days after the application date.
To claim your passport:
Once a follow-up has been made and the passport was confirmed for pick-up, the applicant may claim his/her passport personally or by his/her authorized representative. The representative must have with him/her an authorization letter signed by the passport holder and duly notarized.
Passports may be picked up at these times: Tuesday or Wednesday from 4:00pm to 5:30pm unless otherwise indicated.
CAVEAT: While I find the Czech Embassy in Manila is the most lenient in terms of requirements and the approval rate is high (based from what I read on blogs and message boards/forums, and of course, through my own experience), they will only give you the exact number of days you request for.
When I claimed my passport, they gave a sheet of paper explaining the details on the Schengen visa i.e. validity, type of visa, number of days etc. They also asked me to sign a copy of this for their records. It’s also important to note the section pictured below.

There was no mention of this while I was doing my research, so I guess they just started it this year most likely to prevent people from ‘using’ the embassy to go to Europe and then not actually going to The Czech Republic. Just be aware that there might be repercussions if you intend on doing so, and that it will most likely affect your future Schengen visa applications.

Embassy of the Czech Republic in the Philippines (Manila)
30F Rufino Pacific Tower,
6784 Ayala Avenue
Makati City, Metro Manila
Telephone: 811-1155

12 thoughts on “How to Apply for a Schengen Visa at the Czech Embassy Manila

  1. Your blog posts are really helpful in helping me plan for Eurotrip and i am planning to do it this year as well. Question, from other blogs kasi from other blog posts they submitted a birth certificate. Pag sa Czech embassy ba di na needed?

    Also would it be safe to apply sa Czech Embassy if I do 4 days each for Czech Republic, Poland, France & Italy with Czech Republic being the entry point? Plan ko kasi ganun pero I might do Czech shorter if maapprove since I heard that Prague can be explored in 2 days.

    TIA!

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

      Though not officially listed as part of the requirements, it would be best if you still bring your birth certificate with you because you’ll never know when the consul will ask for it e.g. in my case, they asked for my ITR.

      Re: your itinerary, I think that would be fine since you’re entering via Czechia. But if you really want to be on the safe side, you can put on your iti that you’ll be spending 5 days sa Czech and 4 days in the other countries.

      1. Thanks as well!

        Is it okay if I can get a copy of the itinerary that you submitted so I can reference?

        Also, yung about sa 90-day before travel policy so let’s say aalis ako ng June 1, balik ng June 15 sa pinas, does that mean I can apply as early as March 1 (90 days prior sa entry) or sa March 15 pa (90 days prior to the completion of the trip)?

  2. Hi Kat. Very informative post. Thank you.

    Regarding the screenshot, yung registration once you are in Prague, may binayaran ka ba? Para saan yung 2500 czk? Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Anette!

      Wala na ko binayaran. Sabi naman kasi sa letter, no need if the hotel will do it on your behalf. Pinakita ko rin yan sa hostel receptionist, sabi niya nasa system naman nila yung info ko (passport and visa details) so automatic na raw yun. I don’t know. I guess required sila ng local authorities to submit a report?

  3. Hi! Thanks for all the info. Ask ko lang, im attending a congress in prague fr july 23-30. But im leaving on the 16th to explore prague, and probably cruise to paris and rome. Need p kaya ng embassy my itenerary fr the 16-22? Or enough na kaya my invitation for the congress? Or is it better to create an itenerary (thru booking.com free cancel hotels) in paris and rome? To support my visa application. Thanks and more power!
    Joanna

  4. Hello! Was just wondering i applied for a visa yesterday. Ill wait until Monday they said to call.
    Anyway, this is regarding the Malayan insurance, im gonna travel for 16 days but to be sure i got the 31 days to have more coverage. But then i noticed that the premium is only 1million which is less than the 30,000 euro minimum requirement. Was your premium the same? Did they question you on this one ?
    Im just worried that they might question me on this.
    Realized this after the interview, although they accepted the insurance and all my requirements.

    Thanks!!

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