This post was last updated on October 24th, 2018 at 07:30 pm
Some of you dream to see the Colosseum in Italy, the Eiffel tower in France, eat Paella and Churros in Spain, dip the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, hop on a dog sleigh ride in Finland, 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 in Qatar.
The Schengen Area
The Schengen area covers 26 countries (‘Schengen States’) without internal border controls. These are:
Schengen Visa allows the holder to travel freely within the Schengen Area or Zone for a maximum stay of up to 90 days in a 6 month period.
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. Check below if you qualify:
For Philippine passport holders, such as myself, a Tourist Schengen visa is required to obtain prior departure.
- Where to apply?
- When to apply?
- How to apply?
- What are the requirements?
- How much is it?
- What is the process?
- Where do I submit?
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: http://www.vfsglobal.com/Germany/Qatar/
- Belgium, Luxembourg: http://qatar.diplomatie.belgium.be/en/travel-to-belgium/visa
- Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia: www.mfa.gov.hu/emb/doha
- Estonia, Italy, Malta: http://www.it.ckgs.qa/index.html
- France, Iceland: https://fr-qa.capago.eu/
- Greece: https://www.mfa.gr/missionsabroad/en/qatar-en/visas
- Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia: http://www.vfsglobal.com/Netherlands/Qatar/Tourist
- Poland: https://secure.e-konsulat.gov.pl/
- Portugal: https://www.doha.embaixadaportugal.mne.pt/en
- Spain: https://qatar.blsspainvisa.com/
- Switzerland: https://www.vfsglobal.ch/switzerland/qatar/
The application has to be submitted at least 20 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 and Netherlands embassies.
Previously, I’ve applied directly at the Netherlands Embassy. Now, they process their visa applications via VFS Global Netherlands.
- Book your appointment beforehand so that you can select your intended time of visit. Visit VFS website here and click the text that says ‘Schedule an appointment online‘.
- A separate window will pop-up for appointment login then click the text that says ‘New User‘. Provide details and click the button that says ‘Submit‘ when done.
- The page will load by itself and show you the log-in page. Enter the email and password you set up and click the ‘Continue‘ button.
- On the next page, you will see a list on the left. Select ‘Schedule Appointment‘. Details show as follows:
- Once you have input all the necessary information, click ‘Continue‘.
- The next page will show the ‘Applicant List’ page. If you’re applying together with family or friends, you can add 5 more applicant data (other than you) on this page to schedule a group appointment.
- Proceed to click ‘Add Applicant’ and input all your relevant details. Afterwards, click ‘Submit’ and proceed to secure your intended date for your appointment. The appointment details will be sent to your email.
Below is the guideline for the application of a Schengen Tourist visa for Qatar residents:
- A completed and signed Schengen visa application form.
- Original passport and a copy of:
- The personal details page.
- All previously issued visas and a copy of all entry/exit stamps.
- 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). Residence permit should be valid for at least 3 months after departure from Schengen.
- A passport photo that meets Dutch passport requirements and cannot have been taken more than 6 months ago and must bear a clear resemblance. See the Photomatrix-guidelines-2007 for reference.
- Proof of travel:
- 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)
NOTE: You can also click this link if you would like a printout of the checklist: Checklist - Visa tourism. Make sure that the form is duly filled out and all documents are checked .
- Arrival and waiting period. Once you arrive at VFS, the security guard will confirm that you have an appointment and then he/she will usher you to the waiting area and advice you to wait for your name to be called.
- Submission of documents. Simply hand out your documents to the VFS staff and he/she will check the documents that you prepared and then ensure that everything is complete.
- Make sure that your documents are arranged in the right order.
- If in case you have any missing documents, the staff will inform you about it.
- Biometrics. VFS will have to capture your biometric data (finger scans, digital signature, and portrait photo).
- Visa payment. This must be paid in cash and it helps to prepare the exact amount in Qatari Riyals (QAR) only. Once paid, they will give you a payment receipt (that has your application reference number and details) which you should keep. So DO NOT loose the receipt.
- Be advised that the fee is NOT a guarantee that the visa will be granted. It also helps to note that these are non-refundable and non-transferable if your application is denied or if you decide to terminate your application.
- As a general rule, a decision will be taken on your application within 15 working days. For my experience, it took 7 working days.
- Netherlands Visa Application Centre, 1st Floor, 103 Abdul Jaleel Business Center, Al Matar Street Doha, Qatar
Contact details and timings:
Application Submission: 0900hrs – 1600hrs
Passport Collection: 1600hrs – 1700hrs
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?! Check out the list of countries below:
Note: The information provided are merely based on my visa application experience and research. For any further inquiries unlisted, kindly contact VFS Global directly.
Good luck in applying and happy travels soon!