Planning a trip to Italy? A journey to Italy starts with the visa application. Whether you want a luxury shopping at the Galleria Vitorrio Emmanuelle II in Milan, toss a coin at the famous Fontana di Trevi in Rome, attend a mass and be blessed by the Pope at the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, or ride a gondola in Venice to feel a scene from a movie, we (Filipinos) need a visa to be able to visit these awesome sites in Italy.
A Schengen visa is a short stay visa allowing its holder to circulate in the Schengen area. The Schengen area covers 26 countries (“Schengen States”) here’s the link. Schengen Area Countries – List of All Member States of Schengen Zone.
This blog is all about applying for a Schengen visa in Italy without a sponsor. (I’ll be writing about applying for a Schengen visa with a sponsor on my next blog).
Applying for a Schengen visa in Italy (with Philippine passport) is not a breeze. I have read in my research that Italy is one of the countries that have rigid rules when it comes to issuing a Schengen Visa.
When applying for a Schengen Visa, you must know first which country in Europe you will be staying the longest. If it is in Italy, then, we’re all set. Have your documents ready (original and photocopy). You must take note that Italian consuls are serious about their country so don’t ever think of submitting fake documents.
We applied at the VIA Center Makati located at 3rd flr. Allegro Center, 2284 Chino Roces Avenue, Makati. The VIA center is a facility that handles visa application for Italy. I scheduled our appointment by calling their hotline number (02) 845-9211. I received an email confirmation afterward.
Below are the requirements/documents we submitted at VIA Center in Makati last February 2, 2018.
- Passport. Must be valid at least 6 months before your intended flight.
- Fully accomplished application form (can be downloaded at VIA center website) with 2×2 recent photo (white background and glossy) taken from Photoline.
- Introductory letter addressed to the embassy. Stating the purpose of our travel, intended number of stay, and the countries we have visited.
- Itinerary of our travel. Our itinerary was purely Milan and its nearby sights.
- Confirmed roundtrip ticket reservation. We made our reservation at Apostolic Travel and Tours located at the ground floor of Robinson’s Place Ermita. Reservation cost is P 1,000.00 per cert
- Proof of accommodation. I booked our hotel at Booking.com app then, canceled it afterward since we will be staying in our relative’s house in Milan)
- Travel Insurance. (Coverage must be at least €30,000.) We got ours from Malayan Insurance. It was a quick online transaction, I paid P 4,770 for the 2 insured then, they emailed our e policy.
- Certificate of Employment stating our position, years of service in the agency and our latest salary.
- Travel Authority since we are both government employees.
- Bank Certificate with ADB and Certificate of Deposits from our Savings and Loans Association. We paid P100 for the Land Bank certificate P150 for Bank of Commerce bank certificate.
- Latest Credit Card Statement (6 months, BPI Credit Card and Citibank)
- Land title and Car registration
- PSA/NSO Authenticated Marriage and Birth Certificate.
- Photocopy of bio and last page, visas and used pages of our passports with stamps.
We arrived 30 minutes before our scheduled appointment. The guard on duty gave us forms to be filled out and gave me a number for queuing. When our number was called, I gave my documents to the lady at the counter. She assessed all my papers and asked some questions then told me that I still have some documents for compliance. She then told me to wait for the collection of our biometrics. After the biometrics, they gave back our papers inside a folder. After 3 days we returned to their office with complete and updated documents which she accepted and told us to wait after 15 days. We paid P 4,800 for each applicant (€60 visa fee and P 1,100 handling fee)
After 15 days, There’s still no update from the Italian Embassy or from the VIA Center. I decided to call the hotline for a follow-up when someone from VIA Center informed me that our application was still in process and that she will make an update of our application through text messages. After 20 days a visa officer called us for a quick interview regarding our previous travel in Norway. After 31 days, our visa was released with the validity of 20 days, single entry. Attached to the passports was a note telling us to report back to the Italian Embassy 10 days after our arrival.
From what I have observed:
- Apply three months before your planned trip.
- VIA Center’s staff are friendly and accommodating.
- No need to hire the service of a travel agency. Requirements are straightforward.
- Italian Embassy do not normally interview applicants unless they have questions or clarifications.
If you’re planning for a Euro tour, have your documents ready and prove to those consuls that we (Filipinos) are capable of touring their country and we’ll not look for a job there. I can share my sample cover letter, itinerary and other ideas that will boost your application. Best of luck!
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