Some of you dream to see the Colosseum in Italy, the Eiffel tower in France, the canals in Amsterdam, eat Paella and Churros in Spain, dip the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, hike the Pulpit Rock in Norway, and a lot more. But some passport holders (like myself) are limited to experience all those because of entry restrictions. Here are some guidelines which can help you out when applying for a tourist Schengen visa.
The Schengen Area
The Schengen area covers 26 countries (‘Schengen States’) without internal border controls. These are:
Do I need a Schengen visa?
Citizens of some countries are exempted from the visa requirements to enter the Schengen Area for a short stay or transit. Click the link below to check if you qualify:
For Philippine passport holders, such as myself, require a Schengen visa to be obtained prior to departure.
Where to apply?
This is the initial question to ask which country has the authority to issue your visa. There are a few rules you must take into consideration:
- If you intend to visit only one Member State of the Schengen area, you must apply thru the consulate of this state.
- If you are visiting two Schengen countries, you must apply for a visa at the consulate of the country where you will be staying longer. Example: If you are staying in Spain for 4 nights and in Italy for 5 nights, you must apply thru the Italian consulate.
- If you want to visit several Schengen countries for an equivalent duration of time, you must apply for a visa at the consulate of the country where you will arrive in first. Example: You are staying for 5 nights both in Spain and Italy, and your first entry is Barcelona, you must apply through the Spanish consulate.
- Once you have decided which country you’ll be applying your visa, here are the embassies/application centers here in Qatar for each Schengen countries:
- Austria, Finland, Germany, Norway, Slovenia: https://www.visainfoservices.com
- Belgium, Luxembourg: http://countries.diplomatie.belgium.be/en
- Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia: http://www.mfa.gov.hu/
- Estonia, Italy, Malta, Sweden: http://www.it.ckgs.qa/
- France, Iceland, Portugal: http://www.capago.eu/
- Greece: http://www.mfa.gr/missionsabroad/en/qatar-en/visas
- Netherlands: http://qatar.nlembassy.org/schengen-visa
- Poland: http://doha.msz.gov.pl/en/
- Slovakia: https://www.mzv.sk/web/kuvajt-en/services
- Spain: http://www.vfsglobal.com/spain/qatar/
- Switzerland: https://www.vfsglobal.ch/switzerland/qatar/
When to apply?
The application must be submitted at least 15 working days before the intended visit. In general, an application cannot be submitted more than 3 months before departure.
So far, I have applied through France (early 2014) and The Netherlands consulate (late 2014). Since I’m traveling again this year, I’ve applied and received my multiple visa thru Netherlands embassy. So I thought it would be helpful that I share how I processed my visa thru that embassy.
How to apply?
Scheduling an appointment with the Dutch embassy can only be done online. I scheduled mine thru this link: Apply for your visa. My advice is to book your appointment 3-4 weeks prior to your preferred date in order for you to have enough time to prepare your requirements, as their appointment slots get filled fast!
What are the requirements?
Below is a checklist of the application for a tourist Schengen visa for nationals who are not included in the exempted countries residing in Qatar:
- A completed and signed Schengen Visa application form.
- Original passport and a copy of:
- The personal details page.
- All previously issued visas. (Schengen visa, USA visa, South African visa, etc.)
- Any previous passports. (Only the personal details page)
NOTE: Your passport or travel document must be valid for at least 3 months from the date on which you leave the Schengen area, must have at least 2 empty visa pages and cannot have been issued more than 10 years ago.
- A copy of your Qatar residence ID (front & back).
- A passport photo that meets Dutch passport requirements. See the Photomatrix-guidelines-2007 for reference.
- Flight reservations in your name (not a ticket)
- Hotel reservation(s) for the duration of your visit.
Note: Make travel reservations which you can cancel.
- Proof of health insurance.
- The insurance policy has been taken out in your name.
- Valid throughout the Schengen area and for the duration of your visit.
- At least €30,000 of medical costs are reimbursed.
- Medical costs, including hospital care, emergency treatment and repatriation (including in the event of death) are covered.
- Employment certificate, proving you are employed in your country of origin (indicates current position, joining date and monthly salary).
- Three recent bank statements (with bank stamp)
*You can also click this link if you would like a printout of the checklist: Checklist – Visa tourism
How much is it?
The Schengen visa fee costs QAR 243 (EUR 60). Please note that at the Netherlands embassy in Doha, only accepts cash in Qatar Rial (QAR).
How long does it takes?
As a general rule, a decision will be taken on your application within 10-15 calendar days. An email will be sent to you once your passport is ready for collection.
I received an email after 4 calendar days that my visa was ready for collection the following business day. That was fast! I guess it’s because I have applied thru them before.
But wait, there’s more! (I just sounded like one of those infomercials. Hahaha!)
Did you know that Philippine passport holders who have a valid Schengen visa (double or multiple entry), do not require a visa for transit or intended stays in the following countries? Awesome right!!
|COUNTRY||MAX. DAYS OF STAY|
|Albania||90 days within 180 days|
|Andorra||The only way to reach Andorra is land travel through France or Spain.|
|Antigua and Barbuda||30 days, FEE: US$100|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||15 days|
|Cyprus||Period equal to the remainder of the time for which the visa is valid.|
|Dominican Republic||30 days, FEE: US$10 tourist card (extendable twice)|
|Georgia||90 days within 180 days|
|Macedonia||15 days every entry, not exceeding 90 days within 180 days|
|Panama||30 days, FEE: US$30 tourist card (renewable for extra 60 days)|
|Romania||90 days within 180 days|
|Serbia||90 days within 180 days|
|Taiwan||30 days, multiple entries within 90 days|
|Turkey||30 days within 180 days. E-visa can be obtained through this website: https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/tour/|
Note: The information provided are merely based on my visa application experience and research. For any further inquiries unlisted, kindly contact the embassy directly.
Good luck in applying and happy travels soon!