Schengen Visa Application

I had an 8AM appointment at the French Embassy, today.  I arrived early and was able to score a parking space inside the Pacific Star Building.  I was instructed to register at the guard, after parking. Since I was an hour early for my appointment, I was told to come back by 7:40 since the Embassy is still closed.

By 7:40AM, I was back at the parking level (B1) and was waiting by the benches like the other applicants.  A few minutes later, our names were called to proceed to the 16th floor.

We didn't wait long until our bags were checked and were asked to surrender our cellphones/other electronic devices.  The guard gave me a set of guidelines that contains the requirements.  It is the same document you'll get from the website.

I was Applicant #4.

Step 1:  Payment and Verification of Documents

I presented all my documents at Window 2.  He also asked to see my previous passports.  (It's a good thing that I brought them at the last minute)  He just said that I should have photocopies of the documents.
I was confused because I already photocopies, apparently, they weren't enough.  I asked to confirm, "Even if I don't need the originals?"  To which he replied, "para mabilis na mamaya."

Di niya rin sinagot tanong ko.  But, I let it go.

I went back to the reception area and asked where is the nearest photocopier.  I was directed to the ground floor.

Step 2:  Biometrics and Interview

I hurriedly went back fearing that my number has been called already.  I got in just in time.  I was summoned to Window 4.

I was asked to place my fingers on the scanner.  Then, I had my picture taken.  Afterwards, he asked for my application form and PHOTOCOPIES of the other documents.  He DIDN'T need the original documents.

Kaya naman pala!  Sana sinabi na lang nila noh?  I had to get fresh NSO copies thinking it'll be like applying for a Japanese Visa.

The Questions:
1.  How long will you be staying?  Where will you be going? Blah, blah, blah

2.  Why are you going?
Me:  A Friend of mine's getting married in the south of France.
Consul:  Do your friends live here?
Me:  No, my friend relocated to Paris two years ago.
Consul:  What is the name of your friend?
Me:

Consul checks the Embassy records to see if there are legal issues.

3.  Where does your husband work?  Do you have any idea what he does?  How much does your husband earn per month?  (I guess he read that I am a stay-at-home mom). Blah, blah, blah

4.  Is this your first time to apply for a Visa?
Me:  No.  I got one in 2000.
Consul:  Where did you apply the first time?
Me:  I can't remember.  I think at the German Embassy.

I was nervous by this time because he was stamping my passport and was making marks on my application form.  Denied? 

Then he gave me back my passports and a receipt.  They don't need the passport.  I will have to come back with my reciept and passport when the Visa is ready.  Me thinking, "Thank God!"

Then, I asked, "So are we done?"  To which he replied, "Yes."

I walked away, pleased.  It was only 8:30AM. 

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Among my friends, I was the last person to appear before the Consul.  Naturally, I already knew what to expect.  I already heard the horror stories.  I was ready to hear condescending tones and mean retorts.  Surprisingly, I got none of those.  They didn't smile but they weren't mean either.

Maybe one socialite complained to the French Ambassador?  What do you think, Jonel?

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Before coming to the Embassy, make sure that:
1.  You have previously called for an appointment.  I was able to secure my appointment last April.  Don't expect it to be easy.  I was on the phone for two hours because the line was always busy or the calls get disconnected during the call transfer.

2.  All documents are photocopied.  Even if the guidelines say otherwise, photocopy EVERYTHING.

3.  You have the exact amount for the Visa Application Fee.  The guard said to prepare Php3730 because no change will be given.   I thought to myself, "Pano yun P30?"  Then he said, "one Php50 and four Php20."  Oo nga naman.

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It is difficult to get Visas from France, Italy and Spain due to the number of TNTs in those countries.  Consider applying at other member states.  Just make sure that it will be your main destination.

Comments

pkf said…
step by step! i love it! congrats again!! wooohooo!!!! see you soon!
CathyCE said…
Thanks Pia! See you in a few weeks. Tell Leo to bring lots of bakwa pambaon =P
Deepa said…
Yayyyy! Glad everything went smoothly. See you very very soon!
jonelski said…
i hope she did.

of course my visuals is that she's in a fully sequined-shoulder padded dress, wine glass in tow, (swirling) while walking sideways to the ambassador. first three words: well, well, well. :)

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