How to Apply for a Belgium Schengen Visa for Filipino Tourists (Manila, Philippines)

by Visa Guides & Immigration, Belgium406 comments

UPDATE AS OF JANUARY 2017: Starting January 16, there will be a Belgian Visa Application Center at VFS located on the ground floor of Ecoplaza Building in Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati. Rest assured, you can already start lodging your applications via the VFS website by January 9 without the need to go to the Belgian Embassy.

So as some of you may already know, applying for a Schengen Visa can be such a hassle — but it’s never an impossible task to be granted one! My first ever Schengen application was actually to the Embassy of Belgium, so I might as well help you guys out if you’re also planning on getting a similar one. Let’s go and make your Europe dreams come true!

But first, some disclaimers…

  • There are different types of visas (for fiancé, work, study, etc.) but my main focus for this article will be on the ‘Visa for Tourists‘ in which the requirements are quite similar ‘Visa for Family Visit or Private Invitation’.
    • To see a list of requirements for other types of visas for Belgium, go here.
  • NO ONE can give you the guarantee of your Schengen Visa’s approval — not even a lawyer, a consultant, a travel agent, or an embassy employee. Anyone who says otherwise is most likely going to be a scammer. So what I’m rather offering you here is a comprehensive guide with helpful tips to increase your chances of getting that visa. Nothing more, nothing less.
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[special_font size=”20″ unit=”px” ]What to Do in Belgium?[/special_font]
[icon icon_size=”30″ color=”#ed2665″ spinning=”no” icon_type=”theme-icon” icon_theme=”question-circle” circle=”no” rotate=”normal” ]Come and check out this list of the top things to do in Belgium which features the best activities and tours to do in places like Brussels and more!

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[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”23″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”around” animate=”” ]THE SCHENGEN VISA[/box_title]

» What is a Schengen Visa?

A Schengen Visa is a document that 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. This Schengen Area is a group of 26 European countries (22 European Union member states and 4 EFTA member states) that have abolished passport and immigration controls at their common borders and they are namely:

  1. Liechtenstein
  2. Lithuania
  3. Luxembourg
  4. Malta
  5. Netherlands[3]
  6. Norway[4]
  7. Poland
  8. Portugal
  9. Slovakia
  10. Slovenia
  11. Spain[5]
  12. Sweden
  13. Switzerland

[1] Excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands [2] Excluding overseas departments and territories [3] Excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands [4] Excluding Svalbard [5] With special provisions for Ceuta and Melilla

There are certain nationalities worldwide that are exempted from applying for a Schengen Visa, but as Philippine passport holders, in order to visit one or more of these Schengen states, we are required to apply for the visa. (Remember, Schengen Tourist Visa holders are NOT allowed to live permanently nor work in Europe, they only have the right to travel as a temporary visitor within the allotted timeframe indicated on their visa.)

NOTE: It helps to mention that there are non-Schengen members in Europe that allow entry to their country if you have a Schengen Visa, namely: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Macedonia, Monaco, Montenegro, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Turkey, and Vatican City.

HOWEVER, you must check these details beforehand since their rules might have changed. Plus, customarily, only multiple-entry Schengen visas are allowed. You can check this list for more details and updates.
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» When should I apply for a Schengen Visa?

Apply as early as three (3) months or 90 days before your planned trip date departure.

You can apply several days before your trip, sure — but it’s always best that you give enough time for the embassy to look into your application since the visa processing could take longer. After all, you wouldn’t want to make plans only to have the embassy provide you with a visa that has a validity period that’s NOT within your intended travel dates.
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» Where to apply for a Schengen Visa?

For Schengen Visas that have the main purpose of visiting a friend/family/national or reuniting with a fiancé/husband/etc. in a Schengen state, naturally, you should apply in the corresponding Embassy of the country where that person comes from.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to visit several Schengen Countries for your trip, your application must be made at the embassy of the main destination country — meaning, the country where you will be staying the longest. If the length of stay is almost the same, it’s best to apply for the country that you will first fly or enter to.

So as an example, you must apply at the Belgian Embassy in Manila only if according to your Europe itinerary, you will be staying the longest.
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» Which Schengen embassy will I have a better chance of getting a Visa?

There’s NO such thing as an embassy that would easily give away Schengen Visas. But, if it is a question of time — like which Embassy can you get application results the quickest — then that would be an easier query for me to answer, which then leads us to the question…
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» How long does it take for Schengen Visa results to be released?

To the best of my knowledge, the following Embassies usually release visas earliest in an average of:

It can surely take longer if they need more documents or details from you.
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[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”23″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”around” animate=”” ]How to Apply for a Schengen Visa via the Belgium Embassy[/box_title]

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Step 1: Determine the type of Schengen Visa that you need to apply for.
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There are, of course, various types of Schengen Visas out there that you can apply for: a visa for residence, a visa for studying, a visa for work, a visa for transit, a visa for being a fiancé, etc.

For this particular guide though, I will only be discussing the requirements for a short stay (less than 90 days) tourist visa which is also similar to a visa for a family visit or private invitation since they are experiences that I’ve gone through.

So if you have a different situation or purpose of visit, it’s best that you head over to this page for more information.

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Step 2: Schedule your appointment online with VFS Global
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Starting this 16th of January 2017, all applicants should place an appointment through VFS.

The steps you should take would be:

  1. First, create a new electronic visa application form and complete it correctly. You can do this by going to this link. Create an account as a new user by click ‘Not registered yet‘, and once your account is set up, you will be led to the electronic visa application form. There are mandatory fields indicated by an asterisk (*) in this form and they all have to be filled in correctly before you can submit your application.
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  2. Once the application has been submitted electronically, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with the application form in PDF format in the attachment. You must print and sign this form, and then join it with the rest of your documents in support of your application (For family members or a group, an application form must be submitted for each person.)
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  3. By this point, you should make an appointment with VFS by going to this link. Once an appointment is booked, the system will generate an appointment letter, and you should bring this when you visit the Belgium Visa Application Centre of VFS in Makati.
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Step 3: Double-check your documents
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GENERAL REQUIREMENTS:
Apart from the printed electronic visa application form mentioned above that you filled out in this link, you should also submit the following additional requirements to VFS on your appointment date, as applicable to you.

Make sure that you submit 1 original copy of all the below applicable documents and 1 complete set of their photocopy.

  1. Valid passport with no less than 3 months validity from the date of intended travel
    Note: Provide a photocopy of your valid passport, a photocopy of former visas, if any, and photocopy of entry/exit stamps of countries you’ve previously visited.
  2. Two (2) recent 2 x 2 colored passport-size photos with WHITE background
    Note: Taken with nothing covering the face, without sunglasses or contact lenses, or a head covering unless worn for religious or medical reasons. The subject should have their mouth closed (no grinning, frowning or raised eyebrows). Paste your photo on each of the electronic visa form that you completed online (1 original and 1 photocopy of the form).
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FOR THE SPONSOR (IF APPLICABLE):

  1. Original Affidavit of Support called “Bijlage 3bis/Verbintenis Tot Tenlasteneming / Prise en charge/Annexe 3Bis”, legalized by the sponsor’s municipality in Belgium
    Note: Make sure it is the original, so they should ship this document to you.
  2. Photocopy of the sponsor’s resident or Belgian ID card (front and back)
  3. Photocopy of the sponsor’s birth certificate or marriage certificate
  4. Original copy of the Family Composition of the sponsor called “Composition de Ménage/Samenstelling Van Het Gezin” to be obtained from the sponsor’s municipality as well
  5. Recent proof of financial capacity of the sponsor
    • For employees: Proof of employment and salary slips in the last three (3) months and last income tax assessment paper from the Finance Department in Belgium
    • For private businessmen: An extract of the company from the Chamber of Commerce (business registration), bank statements of private bank and their company’s bank account in the last three (3) months.
  6. Invitation letter explaining the reason for their invitation, the duration of your stay, where you will stay, their email, address, and contact number, and an assurance that you will not overstay there.
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FOR THE APPLICANT:

  1. Cover letter stating your itinerary, why you are going to Belgium and explanation/details of relationship with sponsor.
  2. Proof of relationship with sponsor
    Note: I provided travel history and photos of my ex and me, and photos of that said ex and his father.
  3. Authenticated birth certificate from NSO.
    If you’re married, bring also a photocopy of your marriage contract.
  4. Usually, since you have a sponsor, they don’t need proof of financial solvency on your part, but still, they tend to ask for this nonetheless, so best to provide them this just so you’re prepared:
    • For employees: Proof of employment of the applicant such as a certificate of employment (COE) stating position, years of service, monthly salary, and approved leave of absence (this will help justify that you will NOT overstay). If you are going away for a long time, the Belgian Embassy might ask for a certified leave of absence (LOA) from your employer. Also: provide 3 most recent payslips and ITR (Income Tax Return) for the past year.
    • For self-employed: A copy of Official Business Registration/ Business Permit, ITR, and bank statement of the company for the last 3 months
Start filing your local taxes as early as NOW — after all, a lot of embassies (not only Belgium) require an ITR. So if you’re looking for a hassle-free experience on Philippines tax compliance, I suggest registering with Taxumo because they can take care of literally everything for you: tax forms, payments, and submissions. I’ve been using them for years now and it has been such a time-saver. Come sign up with my code AILEEN and you can get a 10% discount on all their subscription plans!
How to Apply for a Belgium Schengen Visa for Filipino Tourists (Manila, Philippines)
  • For students: School enrollment certificate and approved leave of absence.
  • For minors: Parental consent legalized by DFA 6 or a DSWD Travel, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) clearance, copy of the passport of parents or legal guardian clearance, and birth certificate of the minor issued on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper.
  • For unemployed persons: It could work if you could show them a job offer, or if applicable, documents showing any of your real estate property here in the Philippines. For proof of financial credibility, you can provide copies of credit cards, bank certificates, or bank statements in the last six (6) months.
  • Travel Insurance
    With coverage of 30,000 Euros, should be valid to all Schengen countries, and should be valid for the entire duration of stay. IF you’re going to purchase locally, the Belgian Embassy only accepts the insurance policies of the following Philippine Insurance companies. (Just visit their website by clicking the links below, and then email them to start your inquiry.)

     

  • If you are not gonna reside/stay in your sponsor’s house of residence for the whole trip since, let’s say, you are planning to travel to other countries too, then also provide details of your trip as applicable:
    Example: Proof of confirmed hotel reservations for the whole travel period, including all other countries that you are going to visit.
  • TIP: If you want to make hotel reservations, I suggest doing it through Booking.com! Why do I suggest them? You can book or reserve a hotel WITHOUT paying for it yet (so NO downpayment or pre-payment) which is useful for giving as proof to the Embassy of Belgium. Also, cancellations can even be done 24 hours prior to your booked date (just read through the hotel policies to be sure that they’re under this scheme).
  • Proof of travel flight tickets
    Copy of the roundtrip airline ticket reservation ONLY with passenger name & registration number (or reservation number). You can get a reservation typically from the airline itself or through a travel agency. Do NOT pay for/buy the ticket until a visa has been granted — besides, the Belgian Embassy does NOT and will NEVER require a booked plane ticket to be submitted during the application process. (Later on, if the application is approved, the visa will be issued according to your roundtrip airline ticket reservation.)

     

    In case you’re wondering where to look for the best flight deals, my go-to platforms are MomondoKayak, and Skyscanner.

     
     

  • If traveling with your spouse/children, please also provide:
    • Marriage contract issued on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper.
    • Birth certificates of children issued on National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper
  • *NOTE: Further documents may be needed from you at the discretion of VFS or the Belgian Embassy.

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    Step 4: Submit your application at VFS on your appointment date
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    On the date of your scheduled appointment, you should submit all the necessary documents in support of your visa application in person to VFS in Makati.

    Your biometric data (digital fingerprints and photo) will be captured and you will be asked to pay the non-refundable visa fee (except in case of gratuity) and a service fee by VFS for the deposit of your visa application Once you submit your visa application, you can choose to receive your passport via courier or you can collect it at the VFS counter.

    *ADDRESS OF VFS BELGIAN VISA APPLICATION CENTER: Ground floor of Ecoplaza Building in Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.
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[box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”20″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”middle” animate=”” ]Booking Essentials[/box_title]

     

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    [box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”20″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”middle” animate=”” ]OTHER TOP BRUSSELS TOURS[/box_title]

    Ghent and Bruges Day Tour …straight from Brussels!

    Chocolate Walking Tour Explore Brussels’ finest chocolates!

    Antwerp Half Day Tour …a quick departure from Brussels!

    [box_title class=”” subtitle=”” subtitle_font_size=”15″ font_size=”23″ border_color=”#ed2665″ animation_delay=”0″ font_alignment=”center” border=”around” animate=”” ]F.A.Q.[/box_title]

     

    » How much is the Schengen Visa processing fee? The visa-processing fee is EUR 60 (it is approximately Php 3,500 – depending on the day’s official Belgian Embassy exchange rate). This fee is non-refundable even if the application is unsuccessful. Payments are made at VFS during the submission of your application, and it is best that you have the exact amount on hand.

    NOTE: For a complete list of visa fees imposed by the Belgian Embassy, see here. Meanwhile, for the additional fee of VFS, it’s at Php 1,100.

    » What should I wear if in case the Belgian Embassy invites me for an interview? Even if visa applications are now simply submitted to VFS, there is still a chance that the Embassy might ask that you visit them for an interview. If they do, there’s no need to come in wearing formal or business wear — casual wear is the best to have as long as you appear respectable and clean.

    For my case before, I just came to the Belgian Embassy wearing a dress. (Don’t go in a revealing dress, of course.) Guys who were there were usually wearing pants and polo. So basically, wear something that makes you feel confident, presentable, and comfortable.

    The address of the Belgian Embassy in the Philippines is at: Multinational Bancorporation Center, 9th floor, Ayala Avenue at Makati (somewhere near PLDT’s business center).

    » How will the interview be like? It helps to note that my interview experience happened before the implementation of VFS services, so it’s possible that the interview process in the Embassy has changed. Nevertheless, I will just continue to share my past experience as it might already help you.

    So upon arrival, you will be greeted by the security guard asking for your reason of visit. Tell him that you’re applying for a Visa and are scheduled for an interview at the current time frame. He will ask you to leave your bag and your mobile device; you will only be allowed to bring in the additional documents needed from you (if applicable). Once inside, wait for the visa officer to call your name.

    TIP: Bring a book with you to amuse yourself. Remember, they don’t allow any gadgets to be taken in at all.

    Regarding the interview, there’s no need to be scared of the Visa Officer (who is also Filipino) even if they generally appear to be non-smiling people. Give ’em a break, it’s just part of their job; they’ve been doing it for quite a while. You can respond in Filipino or English, but never “TagLish” and usually their questions are just aimed to double-check the information in your documents to know more about your background, etc.

    From what I can remember, the questions that were asked of me were about:

    • The purpose and length of stay in Belgium
    • My financial status and my employment
    • Where will I be staying and my planned itinerary

    Generally: the questions will vary depending on your situation, but going by what others were asked of as well, these were usually the ‘main’ issues that the Visa Officer wanted to ask about. So just be honest and consistent, and all will work fine.

    » How can I follow up on my application? There are times when the Embassy must submit your visa application to the Immigration Office of the Federal Public Service Home Affairs in Belgium for further decision. In such a case, your file number will be communicated to you upon the submission of your file to the Immigration Office. From this stage onwards, the Immigration Office is the only authority to contact, if you wish to know the status of your application.

    With the file number, you can inquire about the status of your application by…
    Telephone: + 32 2 793 80 00
    Email: [email protected] (link sends e-mail)
    By fax: + 32 2 274 66 91

    You can also track your visa application on the Belgian website of VFS here. Rest assured, you will be immediately informed once a decision has been taken regarding your visa application.

    » Were there any conditions upon the issue of your Schengen Visa? For one of my applications that involved staying at my sponsor’s residence/house in Belgium, I was required to report to their town hall within the first 8 days to request an official paper stating my registration of stay. I was to submit this paper to the Embassy of Belgium in Makati for as soon as I am back to Manila as proof that I have traveled, that I am back, and that I did NOT overstay.

    » My Schengen Visa application was denied. Is there anything I can do? I haven’t gone through this, so I am unsure how you can proceed if this happened to you. But from what I’ve heard, the Belgian Embassy will usually provide you the reason for their refusal (oftentimes, it’s usually because of the Embassy’s uncertainty that you will return back here to the Philippines so it is best that you really give them the reason/assurance that you WILL go back.)

    Anyhow, I believe you can appeal to them and the steps on how will usually be enclosed in their letter to you. I am not sure what the other details are since I couldn’t seem to find any info in the Embassy of Belgium’s website, so if ever this does happen to you, feel free to contact the Belgian Embassy for more information on how you can appeal on your application.

    Otherwise, just try applying again! There’s no limit to reapplications; but of course, try to learn from your past mistakes and ensure that you have ever needed document. Good luck!

    SOURCES: My experiences and the website of the Embassy which is located here: [ click! ]

    Ideas for your Eurotrip itinerary!

    I have been to a LOT of places in Europe, and you can find my travel guides for places like the ones below…
    France 

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    406 Comments

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    1. Gracey

      Hi, thank you for this blog. Can you suggest the best month to book an appointment if the intended journey is on the last week of May 2014? Coz i want to apply as early as possible. Thanks and happy new year! ^^

      Reply
      • Aileen

        You’re welcome :D You can apply as early as 3 months from the date of your intended travel. So, by the last week of February you can already call their service center to book an appointment. :) Happy new year to you too!

        Reply
        • Gracey

          Hi Aileen, thank you for responding. I really appreciate it!
          Do you think there is a possibility that my preferred chosen date and time was already booked by someone else? Because I was planning to hand in my all required documents on March 3rd and I wanna purchase an online ticket for Manila as early as now since I am from the Visayas Region so I can minimize expenses. :P The earlier I purchase it the cheaper the ticket is. ^^ So what can you suggest? Thanks! ;-)

          Reply
          • Aileen

            March 3 is still months away; I’m pretty sure there will still be a slot available. But I wouldn’t, of course, know this exactly, so it’s best for you to just call their customer service center now to set your appointment. :)

            As for the ticket, I don’t advise buying it unless your Visa is approved, because there’s a chance that your intended dates won’t be the exact date that the Embassy will let you leave. It’s a hassle, for sure, but it’s just how it works, to the best of my knowledge :( You can do a reservation though, which you can do through the airline or through a travel agent–but I haven’t done this myself. You can contact them to know up to when they can hold the reservation for you.

        • Gracey

          Thank you Aileen. More power to your blog! ;-)

          Reply
    2. Ayame A.

      hi Aileen just read you site.. Ask ko lang my Bf ako noon Belgian pero hindi kami ng worth, at 4 times na ako deny siya sponsor ko maybe hindi sapat ang salary niya na suportahan ako dun.. Now meron akong new Bf at sa Senate ng Brussels nagwork.. just in case mag apply ulit ako kc gusto niya ako imbitahan sa kanila, makikita ba ito ng embassy?? na nagkaroon ako ng 2 Bf at same Belgian pero itong new and salary ay medyo mataas at may business na ubasan sa Belgium. Asko ano ba ang mas mainam na aplayan na visa ? Visa to Visit a friend ?? or Fiancee Visa?? ano mainam?? Thanks i wait for your reply..

      Reply
      • Aileen

        I think that the Embassy of Belgium has all your previous records every time that you have tried to apply to them. (I say this because while I was waiting there before, I heard the staff interviewing this guy who was also declined several times; and the staff did mention his previous applications’ results).

        But I don’t think it matters if you had an application before with a different citizen in Belgium. I think that ultimately, what the Embassy wants to ensure is that (1) as you’ve said, your sponsor can really support you, (2) you won’t overstay there and provide ENOUGH proof that you will come back to the PH, and that (3) you won’t look for work in Belgium — so yeah, it helps if you’re already employed here.

        Just satisfy these main three points and I’m sure your application will go smoothly.

        As for Fiancee Visa, I haven’t tried this one yet but I checked the requirements for this, and it doesn’t differ much with Visa to Visit a Friend–except that of course, it needs to verify that the two of you are single and that you will need to show and discuss to them the history of your relationship. I guess Visa to Visit a Friend will help you better especially if the two of you are still new? Sorry, I’m not much of a help for this Fiancee Visa since as I said I haven’t applied for this kind yet. But I hope I still helped :)

        Reply
        • Ayame A.

          Hi Aileen, thanks for your reply.. parang mahirap sa akin kc wala akong work dito, pero my paupahan ako na 4 doors apartments pwede ko ba ito gamitin as patunay na hindi ako mag over stay dun?? What if magpakasal kami dito anong mga requirements ang dapat niyang dalhin? then after anong visa ang dapat ko aplayan after at mga requirements except yung nasa website nila…. Thanks

          Reply
          • Aileen

            Yes, provide all the necessary screenshots/documents/photos that shows that you were in contact with your new BF.

            And yes, Visa to Visit a Friend would work. :) And as per this kind of Visa, you only need to present the confirmed tickets and travel insurance AFTER they approve your application :)

    3. Ivory

      Hello Aileen si Ivory to yung nag message sau sa facebook. Akala ko kasi di ka laging nag nag a-update nitong blog mo kaya i messaged you there :) Yung tanong ko pala na about sa proof of ticket reservation na kelangan e submit. Nakalagay kasin dun sa site nila. Hindi ka ba ngbigay ng proof of ticket reservation nung nag apply ka? Yun na lang kasi yung kulang sa amin. Di kasi alam ng bf ko paano mgpa reserve ng ticket. Thanks a lot :)

      Reply
      • Aileen

        Hi Ivory! Thank you for posting your question here :) [And no worries; I started to become more active on blogging, so don’t worry about me not replying, because from now on, I will :P)

        Regarding this ‘proof of ticket’, this is actually the confusing part.

        Like what you’ve read here in my article, I didn’t list ‘reserved plane tickets’ on the initial list of requirements and that’s because on their site, it wasn’t required if you’re applying for a ‘VISA TO VISIT A FRIEND’. (And I don’t know why, haha!)

        So I guess you’re applying for a ‘VISA FOR TOURISTS’, and I saw in the site that ticket reservation is rather required.

        Now I haven’t done this nor have I done ticket reservations to international airlines. BUT I know that it’s possible; you just have to accomplish it by phone or if you personally go to the airline’s office (wherein they’ll give you the supporting documents of your reservation and NOT of purchase; I think this is what they sometimes call as a ‘pencil book’ since they won’t hold the reservation for you for long, there’s a time limit).

        I hope this helps :) Let me know if you need further help :D

        Reply
    4. JOSEPH JR Pajanustan

      aillen can i have the example of your cover letter ? thank you

      Reply
    5. Sleepybear

      Aileen, congrats for this comprehensive, useful and accurate report! I am Belgium citizen residing in Manila. Your blog is more precise and helpful than the embassy’s website ! :) They should hire you !

      Reply
      • Aileen

        Hey there. Thank you so much! It makes me glad to hear comments like this. If there’s any way I can help, let me know. My boyfriend is Belgian and also residing in Manila. He often renews his passport at the Embassy here too. :)

        Reply
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