How to apply for a Schengen Visa at the Greek Embassy in the Philippines

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

 
Did I just write that title? It’s finally happening. This is the first time I’m talking about my biggest trip to date – my dream trip! Remember when I said Batanes was a dream I thought was unattainable? Santorini is 1 million times like that. I never thought it would happen in my life but it is. I got teary and my heart was doing cartwheels when I finally got my visa.

I am pre-empting this post! Before the jubilation, it was nerve wrecking to get there. Being Filipino and single are common red flags when applying for a visa so I was nervous. If you’re like me and have never been to a country that needed a visa – this article will help you.

Before I go into details as to what I personally did or recommend, below are the requirements:
1.   Duly accomplished Application Form: 1 original and 1 photocopy.
2.   1 photo. The application form says 2x2 but when you go to the photo place to have your photo taken, they know a different size.
3.   Current Passport with photocopy of the data page and all previously issued visas. Also photo copy pages that have stamps.
4.   Present old passports with photocopy of data page and all previously issued visas and pages with stamps.  
5.   Economic means of the applicant as follows:
         a. Bank Certificate with original bank book (w/photocopy) & statement of account for the past 2 years.
         b. Income Tax Return (ITR) w/ photocopy
         c. International Credit Cards w/ photocopy
7.  If invited by relative/friend: Original invitation letter from the relative/friend sponsoring the trip.  Photocopy of the sponsor's passport.
8.  If employed: Original Certificate of Employment with monthly compensation and authorization for leave of absence
9.  If self-employed: present Business Permit, Registration, Company ITR with photocopy
10. For minors: Travel consent is required from both parents. If the applicant is not traveling with any of the parents, DSWD travel clearance is also required.
11.  For non-Filipino applicants, please present your ACR, ICR and re-entry permit with 1 set of photocopies.
12. BOOKING CERTIFICATE ONLY (NOT THE CONFIRMED TICKET) from an airline office.
- detailed itinerary and confirmed hotel reservations
- ONLY itineraries with Greece as main destination and/or with the longest stay will be processed.
13. Travel Health Insurance w/ photocopy
- Minimum coverage of 30.000 Euros
- Must be recognize in all Schengen States
- Validity period of the insurance coverage must be for the duration of the visa

It’s a rather long list. It’s not over. Once you’ve gathered all your requirements, here what’s next:
1. Send an appointment request to visa.man@mfa.gr with this format. It is the only way for you to secure an appointment.
2. Wait for the email reply from the Embassy confirming your appointment.
3. Reply to the Embassy’s email.
4. Secure your date and go to your appointment.

Applicants need to personally go to the embassy to present their documents and for the interview (if applicable). Put all your requirements in a long brown envelope with your name.

What happens during and after your appointment?
1. Submit your documents for checking.
2. Pay for the visa fee at a BDO branch. There is one just across the embassy’s building. At the time of my application, visa fee was 60 Euros. You'll be paying for this in the Philippine Peso equivalent.
3. WAIT.
4. Go and get interviewed.
5. Wait for instructions after your interview.
6. Wait for an email reply about the status of your application. The average processing time is 3-5 days.
7. If you’ve been given a visa, congratulations! Pick up for visas are done from 1 – 2 PM only.

My appointment was at 8:30 AM but I was interviewed at almost 11 AM. I only had 2 groups of people before me and it only took 5-10 minutes per group to be interviewed. They were interviewed rather fast so I was nervous because mine took longer and I was asked to stay after the interview.

I was interviewed on a Tuesday, I got the email about my visa approval on a Wednesday. Then I picked up my visa on a Thursday, wasn’t that amazingly fast?

I have a few insights about the whole visa process. Do note that these are thoughts of someone (1) single, (2) doesn’t know anyone in the country, (3) first timer at getting any visa (4) first timer to go to the continent.


Here are a few tips for applying:
1. Secure your appointment while collating your documents.
It will take time to secure your appointment. I presented my preferred dates but they were unavailable. We had several back and forth emails before I got an appointment. I suggest making the appointment even though you are still gathering your documents because mine took a month before I secured a date.

2. PAY for convenience and expertise.
Ask around for a reputable and good travel agency. Technically, agencies aren’t allowed to process applications since you need a personal appearance. However, they helped us in the biggest way – they made our “on paper” booking and itinerary that we submitted to the embassy.

One of the requirements of getting a visa is presenting your airline and accommodations bookings. I didn’t have the time and energy to finalize all our travel details 3 months before the trip. Also I am paranoid, I didn’t want to book all these things then have my visa denied. One advantage of going through a travel agency is they can make the bookings for you. If the trip doesn’t push through, they can cancel the bookings at no extra cost.

3. If you have funds that aren’t liquid, bring them as well.
If you got the assistance of a travel agency, check with them if this is necessary. I had some funds that were tied elsewhere and I brought them with me. The interviewer asked me about my finances and I showed my COE as well as my investments. He didn’t discuss finances with me after that.

4. Bring a jacket.
The waiting area of the embassy is cold – literally and ambiance-wise. Try to also bring something to read, watch or listen to while waiting.

With everything in life, I think timing is a big factor in how things play out. Greece’s economy is down right now which I believe is why they are more lenient with giving visas because they need the money. I think it helped me get my visa. My dream is really to visit Santorini and I got to do that on my birthday!!! I also hopped on over to Athens, Mykonos and Naxos while I was in Greece. As I publish this I am in Italy getting fat (carbs and gelato – patay tayo dyan) and will head to Frankfurt to visit a friend before finally coming back home.

My plans have finally been revealed. Eeeeppp! I am a blender of emotions – excited, nervous, cautious, and jubilant but most of all wishing for a safe trip. The Italy and Frankfurt legs of my trip will be done alone and this is historic. Wish me luck, stay safe everyone!



EDIT (2015) 
People have also asked me how long it took for my visa to be processed. Here's my time line:
June 27 - Request for Appointment
June 28 - Embassy emailed that there were no slots for the date I chose
June 29 - 2nd email with new dates
July 1 - 2nd email from the Embassy informing me my dates weren't available and informed me of the earliest appointment available.
July 1 - I accepted the date they suggested
July 2 - Embassy confirmed my appointment
July 9 - Embassy appointment
July 10 - Embassy emailed this: "The result of the visa application for the following person/s is ready for release."

July 11 - Picked up my visa

Please note that processing time differs because of numerous factors. Also factor in this post was written in 2013 and conditions may have changed.



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65 comments

  1. So that's why you had all these scheduled posts! I can't wait to read about your travel stories :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jill,

      Yes! It's been forever but the posts are trickling in. Ahihihi =)

      Delete
    2. Hi rica.may i know which agency helped you book your hotel in Greece?thanks a lot

      Delete
    3. Hi, who's this please? I was assisted by Asia International Travel. Send me an email if you want their contact information

      Delete
    4. Hi Rica, I will email you. I'd like to know their contact information. Your blog is incredible :)

      Delete
    5. Hi Riza :) I replied to your email already.

      Delete
  2. Just wanted to ask if their email stated "your visa is approved"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ej,

      This is what the email said:
      The result of the visa application for the following person/s is ready for release.

      Then I was given instructions for getting my passport. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  3. Gosh, finally i saw a blog about someone who is like me (first timer in visa application). Greece is also one of my dream countries to visit (and yes Santorini too <3). I'm planning to go there by September. I just want to ask, if you dont mind, how much ung money mo sa bank in your bank certificate? do you think 175k is enough? i plan to stay in greece for 14 days. Your reply is much appreciated.

    Much thanks:)


    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Tessa, could you please email me so we may discuss things there? =)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Rica. I also sent you an email. Thank you in advance! =)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for writing this. It's really helpful. I've applied for a Schengen visa before but not through Greece. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for reading and looking through the blog Ems. =)

      Delete
    2. Thank you for this guide. :) I actually applied recently through the Greece embassy ang got my visa. I am going to Greece this winter!!! I just have a question. I noticed on your picture, it says Electra Hotel but on your blog post, you stayed at Ilissos Hotel. I am planning to stay at a different hotel than the one I submitted. Would this be okay? Haha. I feel like an errant child not following rules. :P

      Delete
    3. Hi Ems, I'm sorry for the late reply. I've been on a blog hiatus. I hope this information still helps.

      Getting your visa is amazing news, please eat a lot of Greek food for me. =) Though when we were there, We were informed the tourist season is from March - September then everything closes because it's too cold.

      The agency arranged the airline and hotel booking for us for visa purposes. My friend and I eventually stayed at Ilissos Hotel.

      Delete
    4. Oh the "too cold" comment was for the islands pala. Perhaps it's not the case in Athens. =)

      Delete
    5. Thanks for taking the time to answer. :) The info you gave really helps. I just have a couple more questions. Are they fussy sa passport control at the airport? I am rethinking my visit to the greek islands sa Santorini. As I research, I find out more about the tourist season and empty nga daw pag winter. Do you think it's still worth it to go or save it for another time like in the tourist season? Thank you again for your patience in answering my questions. :)

      Delete
    6. Hi Ems, what do you mean fussy in the airport? If you have another chance to go to the islands, go during tourist season. The owner of our hotel in Mykonos told us that too so I think it's legit. You can try getting in touch with one hotel in any of the islands to triple check if you like. =)

      Delete
  7. Hi Rica,

    Thanks for this blog. I hope we can chat or I can get your email so I can address my inquiries also about getting a tourist visa in Greece. Thanks a lot! =)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Rica, would you know if they accommodate rush appointment in processing of Visa? I sent them an email on Mon, May 11 with a preferred date of May 13. They have not come back to me yet. I have already made a follow up yesterday through the auto-reply email they sent but still haven't heard anything. I've been trying to ring the 4 numbers they have on their googlepages site and only one is working but no one cares to answer. It's really frustrating.
    It's a actually a business trip. The company I'm working with has invited me to Crete Greece, all expenses paid. I have managed to get all the requirements including the Hotel accommodation confirmation from June 8 to June 13 2015. I don't have much time because I have another scheduled flight to Bali, Indonesia on May 24 to May 29. The Bali one is really important as it is a Sales Conference. I hope you have something for me to advise. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Louriz, I'm not connected with the the embassy. I just posted about my experience. Good luck with this!

      Delete
  9. Hi Rica, very helpful post!

    Would like to ask, how long from your initial email requesting for appointment, did you get to hear from Greece Embassy? I emailed mine a couple of days ago, not sure if I should already follow up?

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Stellas! Here's my timeline:
      June 27 - Request for Appointment
      June 28 - Embassy emailed that there were no slots for the date I chose
      June 29 - 2nd email with new dates
      July 1 - 2nd email from the Embassy informing me my dates weren't available and informed me of the earliest appointment available.
      July 1 - I accepted the date they suggested
      July 2 - Embassy confirmed my appointment

      Since my experience was fairly fast, I think following up is a good idea. Good luck on your application! Greece is UH-MAZING! =)

      Delete
  10. Hi Ms. Rica! For someone who have applied for a schengen visa do you think I will get approved given I don't have proof of employment and income? My sister will sponsor my trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nat ;) I honestly dont consider myself an expert so I really dont know. Your situation is a first I've encountered. Let me know how it turns out please!

      Delete
  11. Hi!
    Did the confirmation email asked you to re-confirm 2 days before the date of interview? Mine did and i wasnt able to do it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't receive any, perhaps it's a new step they added since?

      Delete
  12. Hey there, nice article. A lot of helpful info.
    Wanted to ask, did you apply for your visa from Greece for from Philippines?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Who's this please? As mentioned in the article, I applied in the Philippines at the Greek Embassy for a Schengen visa.

      Delete
  13. Hello po magkano po kaya kumuha ng travel insurance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what the rate is now and there are different kinds. Best to check with companies that offer travel insurance like Blue Cross.

      Delete
  14. Hi Ms Rica, i just want to ask if its possible to apply the schengen visa in greece embassy going to portugal? And if its possible even i dont have any bank account and work permit in philippines but my bf from citizen in portugal who will be the one sponsorng all my expenses like foods,accomodation,etc. hope u read my question..thanks ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Phen :) You need to apply in the country where you will spend the longest period of time at. The requirements are listed above. You may also check with the Portugese embassy for updates in the requirements. Good luck!

      Delete
  15. When should I pay the 60 euro:

    (1) before I make an appointment or
    (2) after the appointment and before the interview

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As mentioned above, it is paid during the appointment.

      Delete
  16. HI Ms. Rica,

    How much does it cost you to travel in Greece?

    Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kaye :) With any trip, it would really depend on a lot of things like length of stay, when you are going and the your style of traveling.

      Delete
  17. Hi. Your post is a great help! I emailed you for further questions. ^^

    - Erica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Erica :) Please check your inbox, thanks!

      Delete
  18. How much would be the "show money" for greece?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Armarie :) I've replied to this in the previous comments. Thanks!

      Delete
  19. Hello! Is the average processing time standard? :) Just want to know as my scheduled appointment is quite close to my trip. :S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not sure what the updated processing time is right now because my experience was in 2013. Best to get in touch with them :)

      Delete
    2. Hi BERNADINE NACUA,

      I Have the same situation, Can I ask if how long did it take for you to get the visa?

      Thank you so much in advance.

      Delete
  20. Hi Rica! What if I don't have a bank account? Can I show my dad's cause he'll be supporting me naman the whole trip. Thank you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Melissa :) I'm really not an expert, I just shared my experience with my specific profile. Are you traveling with your family? I think there's an option for group travel application or something like that. You may want to check that out instead.

      Delete
  21. Hi po. I just want to ask yung detailed itinerary.. kailangan po ba talaga na detalyado sya? like ano ang gagawin mo for the day? or I could just do the simple one.. like datein-date-out-city-accommodation?
    Pa help po..

    Thanks in advance

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi There :) You can also ask the help of a travel agency for this. Our travel agent prepared it for us.

      We submitted a simple one showing the dates, places and hotels we would be in.

      Delete
  22. Hi Rica.
    Thanks for the reply.

    When you said PLACES - does this mean na kung anong city ang pupuntahan nyo? like Lisbon,Barcelona and it's corresponding hotels?

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Rica.
    I have another question with regards to travel insurance. My total days of traveling is 13 days. Kailangan po ba na exact talaga ang number of days sa travel insurance? Or there is a need for me to add add days like +15days?
    Thanks in advance po.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It doesn't have to be the exact days. Even for the visa application I gave a buffer of a few days before my real plan and a few days after to give leeway for adjustments.

      Delete
    2. Hi Rica.
      Thanks for this. I have another question po. Its about sa application form item #25 "Duration of the intended stay or transit
      Indicate number of days" I put po 11 days kasi yung "Intended date of arrival in the Schengen area" is August 12, 2016 then yung "Intended date of departure from the Schengen area" is August 22, 2016. However po, yung sa travel insurance ko it's 13 days kasi I included yung August 11, 2016 flight from Cebu-Lisbon(will arrive in Portugal on August 12, 2016) and my flight back from Paris-Cebu is on August 22, 2016(will arrive in Cebu on August 23, 2016)
      Question: Tama po ba na 11 days nilagay ko? or dapat 13 days? I am a bit confused po.
      Pa help po. Thanks in advance :)

      Delete
    3. Hi Rica.
      Sorry I have soo much questions
      I have another question. One of the requirements is detailed itinerary. Ok na po as detailed itinerary like:
      *ilagay ko yung date na i fly from manila to lisbon then my hotel there(booking reservation) *DATE HERE: night train from lisbon to barcelona then may accommodation sa barcelona(booking reservation)
      *DATE HERE: night train from barcelona to paris then my hotel there(booking reservation)
      *DATE HERE: flight from Paris to Manila.

      Ok na po to as detailed itinerary kailangan talaga na ilagay na kung ano yung gagawin ko per day? like visiting museums or something

      Pa help po thank you.

      Delete
    4. Hi! As mentioned above I put in buffer days to my duration of stay. Please check with your insurance or with a travel agent. What we did was whatever dates (including buffer) I indicated in the visa, those were also the dates in the insurance.

      Yes, we submitted something like that for our itinerary. The travel agency also added our tranpo details (like flight details), the date, place, hotel, hotel info.

      I'm not an expert about visa application but just shared my experience. :)

      Delete
  24. Hi! I have some questions, if you don't mind. I am also applying for a Schengen visa via Greek Embassy.

    I emailed you :) Hope to hear from you! :D

    ReplyDelete
  25. I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work. Definitely a great post. Hats off to you ! The information that you have provided is very helpful. annulation voyage

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Calvin! This made my day. Thank you for the kind words. I get all giddy when I hear that people read the blog and find it useful. :)

      Delete
  26. Hi Rica! I've sent you an email :) I'd like to ask for some tips in getting a Greek visa for a solo traveler and first time to visit Europe. I plan to tour around Greece only for 2 weeks. Please give me some advice :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have different names here and the email you sent. I replied already :)

      Delete

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