The Filipino travel blog world is luckily littered with instructions on how to apply for a Schengen visa. However, there didn’t seem to be a blog about applying for a Schengen visa for Portugal. I was planning to go to that country so I just decided to combine all those Schengen travel blog posts and use my best judgment and travel experience to apply for the Portugal Schengen visa in the Philippines. Remember, not all Schengen visa applications are the same.
Remember, you apply for the Schengen visa at the place where you will stay the longest. So, if you were to stay in Portugal for 10 days and Switzerland for 4 days – you apply in the Portugal Embassy. If you go to the Swiss Embassy, they will turn you away.
First thing to know is there is no Portugal embassy in Manila. The Greece Embassy luckily handles all Portuguese Schengen application. Their website is hard to Google so I’ve paste it below. Feel free to click.
The requirements for the visa application for Portugal (same for Greece) are: more detailed info can be found in their site.
- Employment Status
Employed: Employment Certificate -stating salary level and authorizing leave of absence for the duration of the travel.
For self-employed: latest business permit, company’s registration and incorporation document (GIS), and company ITR.
For University students: recent certificate of enrollment, and formal letter authorizing the student’s absence outside regular holidays.
I was employed so I got the Employment Certificate.
- Proof of Finances
Formal bank certificate addressed to the Consular Section, indicating the applicant’s bank account remaining balance and average daily balance for the past six (6) months, accompanied by past six (6) months account statement and original bank book.
Latest income tax return form (ITR).
Property titles, if applicable.
I had a joint bank account with my parents. My dad didn’t want me to bring the original bank book from Cebu to Manila so I photocopied the bank book and got it notarized/certified. The embassy accepted it.
- If invited: invitation letter from the inviting person guaranteeing coverage of travel, accommodation and medical expenses with photocopy of signatory’s id/passport
- Detailed Itinerary (I’ll paste mine below)
- Flight reservations (do not buy tickets)
I made my itinerary from http://matrix.itasoftware.com/.
No need to pay. Once you have your flight details just print the page for your itinerary
- Confirmed hotel reservations
This one was a tough one because I didn’t want to pay enormous amounts of money. Luckily there were a few hostels that accepted reservations without paying. I also just put a small deposit $5 for some to get reservations.
You can also go to hostelworld.com. You just pay a small fee to get a reservation.
Sometimes Expedia lets you reserve a hotel without paying a fee. Make sure you have free cancellation.
- Travel Health Insurance
I found this cheap agency a Filipino blogger used for health insurance for Europe. It costs 50 Euros for one month travel or so. Applying for it online was easy. There’s no need to buy those pricey health insurance Filipino travel agents sell.
Care concept www.care-concept.de
- One set of photocopies for all documents
- with your surname, name and contact number in BOLD CAPITAL letters in the upper left corner
Then you need a schedule an interview. You can schedule one in their website (see above). Follow the instructions in their website to send an appointment email. I scheduled mine 4 months before my departure date for Portugal so I have time to buy tickets. Do not schedule a week before your flight because it takes time for them to process the visa.
Once my interview day was coming, I flew to Manila. I was the first one in their list for my visa appointment because I booked mine 8 months in advance. My appointment was 8:45 am and typical Greek fashion the staff were late. They didn’t arrive till 9:30 am or so. By that time, there was a long line behind me. I also made friends with some of the people waiting who were actually travel agents who had done this several times. I was lucky to make their acquaintance and I’ll tell you why later.
Finally the Greece embassy opened. It’s a small embassy. Unlike other European embassies, the Greeks a little similar to the Filipinos. You can sense it was slightly disorganized and inefficient. The Greek staff were very friendly and jovial. There wasn’t a sense of being hassled and hurried.
I submitted my documents and they told me to wait. After an hour, they took my biometrics – finger prints and my picture.
They also called some of the people to the office of the Consul General. They didn’t stay long which was a relief. My name was called. I was a little nervous.
The consul general asked me who I was traveling with (my friends) and what I did in the Philippines (I was assistant manager to my family’s business). Then he said I might have to come back to their embassy in Manila again after my trip to Portugal for an exit visa interview.
I was surprised and blurted out, “But I live in Cebu.” It seems such a hassle and a waste of money just to pop in and say, “Hello! I’m back!”
The Consul General nodded in sympathy and said, “You’re right. I’ll waive your exit visa interview.” Yes! I had a pretty cool consul general.
Then I was given a slip of paper to pay for my visa fee by bank deposit. I went outside and deposited in the BDO bank right across.
Afterwards, the embassy staff returned my documents and told me to come back to the embassy when I’ve been notified of my visa. I think I had a pretty good chance I got it. Unfortunately, they couldn’t mail my passport. I had to come back which is a waste of money with flights and hotels.
Luckily, one of the travel agents said he could get my passport for me and mail it for a fee. I think I paid Php1,000 but hey, that’s cheaper than getting a hotel and a flight ticket from Cebu to Manila.
Two days after my visa application, I got a text saying my passport was ready. That was quick!
A week later my passport came in by mail with my first Schengen visa.
Below is my Portugal itinerary:
Praça do Comércio, Castle of San Jorge, Alfama Neighborhood, Se Cathedral, Monumento a Cristo Rei, Rua Augusta and the Beixa Streets, Santa Justa Elevator, Jernomimos Monastery, Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoveries, Praca do Imperio, Maritime Musuem, Coach Museum, Gulbenkian Museum, Park of the Nations, Oceanarium, Pena National Palace, Palace of the Moors, Quinta da Regaleira, Cascais, Cabo da Roca
Gaeiras, Senhor da Pedra, Santa Maria Church, Albarra Tower, Obidos City Wall, Obidos Castle Wall, Rua Direita, Padrao Comoneano, Forte das Berlengas, Obidos Castle, Obidos Lagoon, Meseu de Obidos
Dec 28-Jan 3
Cais de Gaia, Serralves Museum, Casa da Musica, Sao Francisco Church, Cais da Ribeira, the Cathedral, Clerigos tower, Palacio da Bolsa, Dom Luis Bridge, Soares dos Reis Musuem, Lello Book Store, Majestic Café, Gigantic Tile Murals, Art Galleries Streets, time warp shops, local market, the Atlantic
|1 day – Jan 4||Return to Lisbon, Portugal and fly back to Philippines|