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

by Visa Guides & Immigration, Belgium406 comments

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 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! (Belgium Schengen Visa)

What to Do in Belgium…?

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!

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.

Schengen Area

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 any 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:

These 26 countries are namely:

[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.)

» READ: How to Stay Longer in Europe

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. For starters, you can check this list for a list of countries you can visit with a Schengen visa.

» 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. 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.

» When should I 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 in.

For my case, I determined that I had to apply at the Switzerland Embassy because I will not only be staying in their country the longest, but my first point of entry will also be in their territory.

» 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 timelike 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…

» 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.

• • •

Application Process for Belgium Schengen Visa

Step 1: Determine the type of Belgium Schengen visa you need to apply for

There are, of course, various types of Belgium 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.

– – –

Step 2: Schedule your appointment online with VFS Global

Starting the 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 clicking ‘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.
    .
  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.)
    .
  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 Schengen Visa Application Centre of VFS in Makati.

– – –

Step 3: Double-check your documents

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. Visa application form
    This is the document you completed above in ‘Step 2’
    .
  2. 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 a photocopy of entry/exit stamps of countries you’ve previously visited.
    .
  3. 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).

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 the 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.

For the Applicant

  1. Cover letter with itinerary, and explain why you are going to Belgium and explanation/details of relationship with the sponsor.
  2. Proof of relationship with the sponsor (if applicable)
    Note: I provided travel history and photos
    .
  3. Authenticated birth certificate from NSO.
    If you’re married, bring also a photocopy of your marriage contract, as well as the birth certificates of your children (if applicable).
    .
  4. Recent proof of financial capacity. If you have a sponsor, they usually don’t need to see your proof of financial solvency; but still, they tend to ask for this, so it’s best to provide it 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
    • 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.
    • 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 students: School enrollment certificate and approved leave of absence.

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  1. Travel Insurance. With coverage of 30,000 Euros, should be valid for all Schengen countries, and should be valid for the entire duration of the stay.
  2. Hotel bookings. If you are not gonna reside/stay in your sponsor’s house of residence for the whole trip (i.e. you are planning to travel to other countries too), then, do 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).
      .
  3. Proof of travel flight tickets. Copy of the roundtrip airline ticket reservation ONLY with passenger name & registration number (or reservation number). You can easily get a flight reservation online with OneWayFly for a small fee of only Php 1,000~. I highly recommend them because they are fast, easy, and legitimate; plus, I have been using them for years for all of my Schengen visa applications! (Read here for more info).
    • Later on, when you want to book your final plane tickets, my go-to platform is Skyscanner because they show you the best flight deals worldwide.
  1. Family documents (as applicable). 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 the National Statistics Office (NSO) security paper
      .
  2. Document checklist. Download this document, print it, and then sign.

*NOTE: Further documents may be needed from you at the discretion of VFS or the Belgian Embassy.

– – –

Step 4: Submit your application at VFS on your appointment date

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 BELGIUM SCHENGEN VISA APPLICATION CENTER:
The ground floor of Ecoplaza Building in Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB
Booking.com

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck your World Nomads‘ total travel insurance price with that of SafetyWing because the latter is often priced cheaper (especially when it involves travel that spans for several weeks or months — and even years!).
.
However, take note that SafetyWing’s affordability typically means lesser coverage than World Nomads. So please always ensure that you read the fine print in order to decipher which travel insurance company is the right fit for you and your trip! On that note, HeyMondo is also a good alternative (click this link to get 5% off).

Looking for more travel tips for Belgium?

Check out my other detailed Belgium travel guides!

• • •

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How much is the Belgium 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. (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. In my case before, I just came to the Belgian Embassy wearing a dress. (Don’t go in a revealing dress, of course.) The 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).

What 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. 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’ topics 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 Belgium Schengen visa application?

You can 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.

If in case the Embassy submits your visa application to the Immigration Office of the Federal Public Service Home Affairs in Belgium for further decision, 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

Were there any conditions upon the issue of your Belgium Schengen visa?

For one of my Belgium Schengen visa 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 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 Belgium 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 on 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 every needed document. Good luck!

• • •

» Top Belgium Tours «

Ghent and Bruges Day Tour

Ghent and Bruges Day Tour
…straight from Brussels!

Chocolate Walking Tour

Chocolate Walking Tour
Explore Brussels’ finest chocolates!

• • •

Have you seen my latest vlog?

How I Afford to Travel the World (Vlog)

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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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