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

by Visa Guides & Immigration, France15 comments

(France Schengen Visa)
UPDATE 2024: The French Embassy no longer uses VFS’ services — instead, it now utilizes TFScontact. More details about this will be discussed throughout the rest of this article.

If someone thinks of Europe, it’s quite common to have France’s Paris as their top-of-mind destination — most especially if they are first-time travelers to the continent. However, it helps to note that there is more to the country apart from this famed metropolis!

For instance, there is the Bordeaux region for wine-lovers, the French Riviera for a taste of the Mediterranean coast, the Loire Valley for its stunning array of chateaux castles, the Provence region for its vibrant lavender fields, and so much more.

What to Do in France…?

Check out this list of the top things to do in France which features the best activities and tours to do in places like Paris, Lyon, Nice, and more!

So if you are looking to visit France and explore its wonders, it is a must to undergo a French visa application; and thankfully enough, the process is easy and streamlined especially now that it is coursed through TLScontact. In fact, for my first application through the French Embassy, they have granted me a 1-year multiple-entry visa!

If you’re curious to find out how, do continue reading through this article — but first, let me discuss with you the important disclaimers as well as what a ‘Schengen Visa’ is.

  • NO ONE can give you the guarantee of your France 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.
  • There are different types of Schengen Visas (for work, study, etc.) but my main focus for this article will be a France Visa for tourism purposes only. To see a list of requirements for other types of visas for countries covered by the French Embassy, go here.
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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 27 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, 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.

» Where 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.

So as an example, you must apply at the French Embassy in Manila only if according to your Europe itinerary, you will be staying the longest in France.

» 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 France Schengen Visa

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

There are, of course, various types of France Schengen Visas out there that you can apply for: a visa for residence, a visa for family visits, a visa for studying, a visa for work, a visa for being a spouse, etc.

For this particular guide though, I will only be discussing the requirements for a short stay (less than 90 days) tourist visa — both single and multiple-entry — since it’s an experience that I’ve gone through myself.

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

Before we proceed, it helps to mention that TLScontact offers services that will help assist you with organizing your documents, etc. — however, if you ask me, it’s an UNNECESSARY expense because the services they’ll provide can already be easily accomplished by you (especially since my free France Schengen Visa guide here will technically already encompass the extra service they’ll be providing). In hindsight though, this service can be helpful if you’re in a rush; but honestly, the overall application process won’t take too much of your time.

– – –

Step 2: Register with ‘France-Visas’ and accomplish the online form

The French Embassy has their visa applications processed by their external service provider, TLScontact — but before you can set an appointment with them in order to submit your documents, you must first register through the France-Visas website.

This platform basically determines the requirements you need to fulfill. After which, it will proceed to ask for your information in order to automatically generate the France visa application form.

To do this, simply follow the instructions in the section below which you can expand by clicking the ‘+‘ icon.

How to register and accomplish the online form on France-Visas website

– – –

Step 3: Schedule your appointment online with TLScontact

To book your France Schengen Visa appointment with TLScontact, simply follow the steps below:

  1. Go to this page and create your own TLScontact account. If you already have an account with them, just sign in.
    • As a new user, an activation link will be sent to your email. In case you don’t receive it, check your spam folder.
    • Once you’re done activating your TLScontact account, proceed to login.
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  2. Once logged in, click the blue button that says ‘Create an appointment‘. The next pages will basically ask for your information, almost similar to what you’ve done previously for Step 2.
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  3. For the 3rd section under ‘Appointment‘, you’ll just need to choose a date and time that’s convenient for you in order to submit your visa application and documents to the TLScontact center.
    .
  4. Once you arrived at ‘Payment‘, this is basically the part where you need to pay for the service fee of TLScontact.
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  5. For the final ‘Confirmation‘ section, make sure to print the appointment confirmation letter since it will be needed at TLScontact’s reception area.
    • If you are a member of a group of people applying for a visa together (i.e. as a family, etc.), please fill in the data of those accompanying you too. For groups of over 5 people, please contact TLScontact via their call center at +63 282313256.

– – –

Step 4: Prepare the required documents for your application

Once again, I am only going to tackle the requirements for a tourist visa. If you have other reasons for tourism such as visiting other people etc., check the corresponding requirements here.

NOTE: From what I’ve noticed, Schengen Visa requirements are almost similar, but with only a few tweaks or changes; so, you must ensure that you follow and provide everything that the France Embassy requires as detailed below.

IMPORTANT NOTES:

  • Don’t forget to bring your Appointment Confirmation letter from France TLScontact.
  • Print documents in A4 paper.
  • Bring all your original documents for checking.
  • Photocopies must be clear and readable. Remove staple wires and paper clips from your documents.
  • Feel free to add supporting documents to help strengthen the purpose of your application.

Requirements

  • Application Form and Registration Receipt. As I’ve already mentioned previously, these are the documents you’ll get after you accomplish the instructions in ‘Step 2’ section above.
    .
  • Philippine passport, original and photocopy. Make sure that your passport is valid for at least three (3) months after the end of the planned stay in a Schengen Member State, and that it has at least 2 blank pages to affix the visa sticker.
    • You must photocopy the first page containing your personal information, as well as ALL the additional pages which contains visas and stamps that are both valid and expired — in COLOR.
    • NOT a citizen in the Philippines? Bring proof that you are a legal resident in the country (e.g. residence permit, etc.)
      .
  • 1 Passport-sized Photo. This must have a white background, must not also be older than 6 months and must be sized at 35 x 45 mm. Take note that edited photos are NOT accepted.
    • You must paste (do NOT staple) this photo on your Application Form.
    • Bring extras just in case.
      .

ARE YOU A MINOR TRAVELING TO FRANCE? If so, the following additional documents must be provided:

– Photocopy of PSA birth certificate
– Notarized affidavit of support and consent of parents or legal guardian
– Photocopy of DSWD travel clearance
– Photocopy of parents’ or legal guardian’s passport or government issued ID

  • Day-to-day Travel Itinerary & Cover Letter. If you did not book an organized tour, you must provide a document describing your itinerary in detail.
    • For this, it’s also good practice to include a personal cover letter so that you can properly explain the purpose of your trip — this becomes essentially helpful especially when you want to apply for a multiple-entry Schengen Visa. To see a sample cover letter and travel itinerary, you can view and download my file here.
    • BOOKED a tour trip instead? If you have arranged an organized trip, simply provide a document showing booking/reservation confirmation.
      .
  • Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation. Do NOT buy flight tickets before the visa is issued because the French Embassy would NOT take any responsibility for the flight costs you’ll incur if your France Schengen Visa gets denied or if your departure times get changed. So — just simply supply a confirmed flight reservation only. 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 visa applications! (Read here for more info).
    • Later on, in case you want to book your flight, my go-to platform is Skyscanner since they offer the best flight deals:
  • Proof of Accommodation, copy(ies). These are confirmed hotel reservation(s) for the entire duration of your stay in the Schengen countries and they must contain the name and contact details of the hotel(s) you’ve chosen.
    • If you will be staying in other countries during your stay, you must also provide hotel booking confirmation for those.
    • I usually reserve my hotel stays via Booking.com and/or Agoda.com. With them, you can reserve a hotel with NO pre-payment and you can even cancel the booking a day before your arrival with NO cancellation charges at all. So yes, you can make reservations without any payment, you can change the reservation anytime, AND you can cancel them at no cost as well if in case your visa is not approved.
    • STAYING with a local instead? You must get a ‘Proof of Accommodation’ (Cerfa form/Attestation d’accueil) which is a French document that your host must get from their local town hall in France. You must arrange this in advance because the embassy wants the ORIGINAL document for this, given that it must be stamped by the consulate and later on presented upon your entry in France.
      .
  • Proof of sufficient funds. If you are under the age of 18, the following documents can be from your parents or legal guardian.
    • Original bank certificate/transcripts for the last 6 months and issued within the past 30 days
    • Credit card statements for the last 3 months (if applicable)
    • Last 3 pay slips (if applicable)
    • Travelers cheques (if applicable)
    • Pension statements (if applicable)

NOTE: Is your trip sponsored by someone else? If so, apart from any of the documents already listed above, you must also provide a notarized ‘Affidavit of Support’, proof of relationship (e.g. birth certificate, etc.), and a photocopy of an ID with signature (e.g. passport).

UPDATE: The Embassy now requires travel insurance to have COVID coverage. From the list above, Malayan Insurance provides COVID coverage.
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TIP: I purchased travel insurance with COVID coverage from HeyMondo (click this link to get 5% discount off) and the France Embassy accepted it.

– – –

Step 5: Submit your application at TLScontact on your appointment date and pay the visa fee

It helps to arrive early for your France Schengen Visa appointment. TLScontact’s address for Manila is:

TLScontact Manila Visa Application
Centre 1 Proscenium Tower, 9th Floor
Estrella, Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

STANDARD APPOINTMENT HOURS: Monday to Friday (8AM to 12PM, 1:30PM to 4:30PM)
PASSPORT COLLECTION: Monday to Friday (8AM to 6PM), and Saturday (8AM to 12PM)

For Cebu, the address would be:

TLScontact, Latitude Corporate Center
12th Floor, Mindanao Avenue
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City, Philippines

After the security check, you will be queued and when it’s your turn, they will check appointment confirmation letter as well as your documents. Once they see that your documents suffice, TLScontact will get your biometrics and this will be followed by visa payment (sometimes, biometrics will be done first in which they basically take your photo and fingerprints).

NOTE: TLScontact will not express their opinion on the quality of your files, BUT they will check if everything is complete. They will NOT have any influence either on how fast the Embassy will process your application because they are basically just acting as the middleman.
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VISA FEE: €80 euro or its equivalent in peso that day (about Php 4,780). This fee is non-refundable and preferred to be at an exact amount.

Afterward, you will be issued a receipt and a tracking or reference number (take note of this especially if you want to follow up on your application). You’ll be given an option to pick up your results and passport in person or by courier.

The French Embassy still reserves the right to ask you to appear for a personal interview after checking your France Schengen Visa application.

– – –

Step 6: Wait for the results of your France Schengen Visa application

Once the France Embassy is done assessing your application, they will send back your passport and your other original documents to TLScontact.

Consecutively, TLScontact will send you an email or text message once your application is done — if you have chosen the courier option, TLScontact’s partner coureir will deliver your passport and visa results to you. Once they’re at your address, make sure to present the receipt that you received from TLScontact.

  • Please do NOT inquire with TLScontact directly if your application has been approved OR denied because they also do NOT know the result themselves. They are simply functioning as a middleman between you and the French Embassy. However, what you can do is track the status of your application checking your account online with TLScontact.

When claiming in person at TLScontact, make sure to bring the following:

  • Your Original Application Checklist
  • Your Original ID
  • A copy of ID

Applications accepted at TLScontact are usually submitted the next working day to the France Embassy and the time required to process France visa applications is up to 2 to 7 working days; however as per Schengen Codex, it can take up to 15 working days and some might even be called for an interview at the French Embassy.

As an example, my first experience with the French Embassy took only 5 working days and I was granted a multiple-entry tourist visa application. As for my most recent experience, I was granted a 2-year multiple-entry visa in just 48 hours!

  • February 26, 2020: appointment
  • March 3, 2020: Visa results and pick-up
  • October 19, 2022: appointment, and then my passport was dispatched to the Embassy on the same day
  • October 21, 2022: Visa results and pick-up

It is said that applicants with complete documents and good financial standing will typically get their results within 48 hours (or 2 days).

* * * * *

WAS YOUR APPLICATION DENIED? I’m very sorry to hear this! Every application is up to the embassy’s scrutiny no matter if you have accomplished all the requirements mentioned above.

So when your application is refused, it is said that they may or may not indicate the reason, and you may lodge an appeal against this decision to the Minister of the Interior within 2 months of being informed. Your request must be signed, written in French, and sent by regular mail to the following address (you can also get the help of a lawyer for this).

Secrétariat général de la CRRV
Commission de Recours contre les Décisions de Refus de Visa d’entrée en France
BP 83609 – 44036 Nantes CEDEX 01, France

Make sure to include
– Your personal information (last name, first name, date of birth)
– The name and location of the Embassy that refused your application

This procedure is mandatory before it is sent for an appeal to an administrative judge. If they reject your appeal, they will do so in writing or by implicitly not replying to you within 2 months.

It’s clearly a long process… but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of appealing, you can re-apply at any time — but… that won’t essentially solve the issue at all. Some people have tried reapplying with another Embassy but your record of refusal will still be on their system. Nevertheless, most of those who were successful in getting a visa even after a refusal were able to do so when they applied for a different visa type.

• • •

Booking Essentials

Book an AirBnB
Booking.com

TIP: It’s a good idea to crosscheck the prices with other popular travel insurance providers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!

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However, take note that a travel insurance’s affordability typically means lesser coverage; 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!

• • •

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I submit other documents not listed above?

If it can support your application even further, then sure! The Embassy encourages that, especially if you have a sponsor that will fund your trip, or if you have other documents that can help provide proof of your economical or social ties within the Philippines. Another example is that if your main purpose for visiting Europe is to attend a concert, then you should provide proof of your booked concert tickets. Attending a wedding of a friend? Provide a copy of your wedding invitation, etc.

All in all, going by my personal experiences with visa applications, overdelivering is better than underdelivering!

Do I need to provide a cover letter?

It’s not required, but it’s good practice to provide one. You can check out my example here.

How much money should I show in my bank account?

Most of the Schengen member countries would need you to show that you have at least EUR 50 (Php 2,500+) per day of your stay — but with the French Embassy, they require you to show that you have at least EUR 120 per day of your stay if you don’t show proof of accommodation; but given that proof of accommodation is one of the core requirements, you should then show that you have at least EUR 65. If you ask me though, it’s best to show that you have at least Php 10,000 per day of your stay.

What if my plans change and I won’t be visiting some of the countries I indicated in my travel itinerary? Can I still travel to those other countries with my Schengen Visa?

There is no border control within the Schengen Zone, so yes — you can deviate from your original plans BUT only for as long as they’re within the Schengen member countries (unless, of course, you have a multiple-entry France Schengen visa) and within the allowable dates stated on your visa.

For my itinerary, I will go to other countries within the Schengen Area by train and domestic flights. Do I still need to provide proof for these?

It’s not stated in the list of requirements; but most of the time, the embassy might ask for those. Once again, only provide reservations for as much as possible — NOT booked tickets. For any flight reservations, get them for cheap with OneWayFly. For other tickets such as train tickets, bus tickets, and more, you can either request this from the corresponding train/bus companies; or just take note of their cancellation or refund period.

If I am invited for an interview by the embassy, what are the usual questions that they will ask?

Interviews are done by embassies since they usually want more information about your situation, if not verify. I have never been interviewed by the Norway Embassy but from my experience with other Schengen embassies, the questions will often be simple as it covers the following aspect.

– Your background: proof of strong ties with the Philippines, your job, your financial capacity, etc.
– Details & purpose of your trip: to where are you going to, why you’re going, how long, where you’re staying, etc.
 Your relationship with your sponsor: only if you’re applying with a guarantor/sponsor
– Your travel history: if you’ve been to the Schengen area before, if you have relatives/family there, etc.

Of course, the questions may vary depending on your circumstance but generally, there really are no difficult questions since they only want to know more about you and your trip.  So just be honest and concise.

My visa was refused, what could be the reason??

It could be because of a number of things, some of the most common reasons being that…
They cannot properly determine the purpose of your trip: your reasons for traveling might be insinuating a different purpose (e.g. you’re applying for tourism purposes when you’re actually seemingly intending to study in France)
They cannot see your strong ties to the Philippines: you’re probably newly resigned, you failed to provide information of your employment, etc. etc.
They deem you as having insufficient funds for your trip: if you’re not in good financial standing, it usually helps to take on a sponsor.

Is it possible to get a multiple-entry tourist visa to the Schengen area for a year or more?

Yes, it’s possible! According to the recent Schengen visa code, you can get a 1-year multiple-entry tourist visa if you have obtained and lawfully used three (3) Schengen tourist visas in the past 2 years at the time of your application. You can get a 2-year multiple-entry tourist visa if you have obtained and used a 1-year multiple-entry visa within the previous 2 years; and lastly, you can get a 5-year multiple-entry tourist visa if you have obtained and used a 2-year multiple-entry visa in the past 3 years.

What documents do I need to have in order to go through France immigration?

Apart from your France Schengen visa, proof of accommodation, and roundtrip ticket, check out the other entry documents here that are needed for entry into France.

* * * * *

Overall, I hope this guide for France Schengen Visa applications will prove to be helpful for you.

Feel free to share some tips below to help other people out. Good luck!

• • •

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My mission? To show you how it is absolutely possible to create a life of travel no matter the odds — and I will help you achieve that through my detailed travel hacks, guides, resources, tips, and MORE!

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15 Comments

  1. Darra

    Hello, I just want to ask if you ticked the Pre-paid accommodation in the Means of Subsistence section even if you booked via booking.com? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      Hey Darra! Yes, I did :)
      After all, though the bookings are cancellable on Booking.com, they are still valid reservations.

      Reply
  2. Regine

    I just wanted to ask what should I wear during the interview in France embassy? Should it be a corporate attire/smart casual? Something like that?
    Thanks in advance ^^

    Reply
    • Aileen Adalid

      Smart casual is okay! Your appointment will only be at VFS (the middle man), so there’s no need to come in formal or corporate attire. Good luck! :D

      Reply

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