Schengen Visa: Your Key to Europe

By: Marie Claire Lagrisola

We all know that you have been dying to tour Europe. We mean, who does not want to experience life on the most aesthetic, and sophisticated continent ever?

It Is the Dream

Europe has been long exuding that kind of lifestyle that just screams success and tranquility and it is no brainer that visiting this beautiful place has been long on our bucket list. The reasons to be on this continent are endless. Rich history? Check. Art? Ahem, the Louvre and its 5,500 paintings in it. Check. Fashion? Crazy Rich Asian Darling Heart Evangelista’s annual vlog visit to Paris Fashion Week (come on, we know that you have been watching her, too) is waving at you. Check. The food?! The birthplace of pizza and pasta? Really, now. We bet you have something Paris-inspired in your Crown Asia house and lot for sale.

We all want a taste of where many of life’s inspirations come from, and perhaps even life itself. Just by visiting any country here, well, your friends and your colleagues, will most definitely look up to you. Going to Europe, may it be Eastern Europe, Central Europe, Northern Europe, Southern Europe, or Western Europe, is already a success as it is.

Must Europe Stay Only a Lifelong Fantasy?

It is quite difficult to plan a trip to the European Union. Setting aside the skyrocketing finances for the trip as well as the monkeypox virus booming around and COVID-19 still looming, for one thing, how do you even choose where to go? Paris, Switzerland, Spain, it is impossible to choose in one go. And God knows how long and such the hassle the visa process will take. This is probably one of the reasons why you and your family still have not gone to the continent of your dreams. You hardly find the time to get all the paperwork done because you all have been working so hard to achieve your goals all the while trying to enjoy life’s pleasures and each other’s company. Visa processing to go to a country can indeed be stressful and ever-time-consuming. However, many people do not know there is a shortcut. Two words: Schengen Visa.

2 in 1? More like 26 in 1!

Schengen what now? It is a common but hidden gem for most people because of its incredible and astounding benefits. The Schengen Visa, also known as the EU passport-free zone, will allow you and your family to travel to numerous countries in Europe. 26 of them actually, making it the largest free travel area in the world. These countries also coined the Schengen countries as they do not have any strict bounders surrounding them, including the jaw-dropping and mindblowing nations of Austria, Belgium, the British Isles, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy (the inspiration of your house and lot for sale), Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. You also have access to the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the islands that straddle it.

Shocking, isn’t it? Indeed, with this kind of visa, your limits are pretty much nonexistent in Europe.

A Little History Lesson

Basically, if you look at the map of Europe, every country is not separated by some kind of body of water unlike how our country does being an archipelago. This is why it should be a brainer that people could jump from one country to the other just like how we go from one Philippine province to the other! However, only til recently, this was not the case in Europe.

The longing for freedom has been echoing in Europe even during the Middle Ages. After the Second Cold War, the world has no borders and has been yearning for more than ever before. Ironically though, no concrete actions took place until the 1980s when Europe was stuck on two ideas: to have a borderless Europe or not, having France and Germany being the pioneers of the former option.

Obviously, the former had won the debate because of the birth of the Schengen Visa on June 14, 1985.

So, the next important question is, how do you get one?

How to Get This Prestigious Visa

Lucky for all of us, 80% of the 170, 695 Filipinos who filed for a Schengen Visa application got approved, according to the statistics of 2017.

And according to schengenvisainfo.com, If you are among the following, however, rejoice for you are exempted from going through the tedious (but not that tedious as compared to getting other visas of course) task of applying for this kind of Visa:

  • Nationals of Schengen countries living in the Philippines
  • Nationals of countries that have established visa-free regimes with the Schengen states, living in the Philippines*
  • Philippine passport holders, that hold dual citizenship:
  • Philippine citizenship and of one of the Schengen member states (These persons will have to travel with their European passport)
  • Philippine citizenship and of one of the countries that have a visa-free regime with the Schengen Zone (These people will have to travel with their Schengen-visa-exempt-country passport)*

Unfortunately, though, as of January 1, 2021, these people who qualified in these categories have to apply for an ETIAS. Read this article to learn more: https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/etias/

So, say you are not qualified for any of these categories. Fret not, though, we aren’t, too. Here are the actual steps for applying for your Schengen Visa:

  1. First things first, you need to find out what type of Schengen visa you need. This will depend on the purpose of your visit to these countries. Like how you do it when you go to the US, you may get a student visa, work visa, or tourist visa. There are also two types of entry: a multiple entry visa and a single entry visa.
  2. Research and schedule. You must research and know where you can submit your Schengen visa application. (Hint: You must submit it at the Visa Application Center located in Manila). Plan ahead and check when will be your supposed flight and align it with your visa processing period.
  3. Additionally, find out when is the right and most favorable time to apply for a Schengen visa in the Philippines. You don’t go inside a restaurant already filled with people, do you? The best way to start your visa application is during the summer, some say. This way, while you are on vacation somewhere else, you are already planning for your next family trip which will now be to Europe!
  4. Collect the required Schengen visa documents for Filipinos. This again will be determined by which type of visa you are going to get.
  5. Schedule an appointment for an interview. You can make your appointment, online, in person, or by phone!
  6. Attend the said interview. Good luck!
  7. Pay the visa fee. Fortunately, the rates are already fixed so no need to worry about if you are being overpriced.
  8. Lastly, wait. Don’t worry that much, though. The processing of your Schengen visa usually takes up to a maximum of 60 calendar days.

Aren’t you excited to fill up the walls of your house and lot for sale with pictures from Europe? As the Filipino expression goes, sana all!

Read more: Expensive European Trips Your Family Can Try

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