How to Apply for a Schengen Visa via the Belgian Embassy for Tourists (Manila, Philippines)

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa via the Belgian Embassy for Tourists (Manila, Philippines)

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.

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!



» 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.)

» READ: How to Legally 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. You can check this list for more details and updates.

» 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.

» 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.

» 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…

» 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.

How to Apply for a Schengen Visa via the Belgium Embassy


Step 1: Determine the type of Schengen Visa that you need to apply for.

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.


Step 2: Schedule your appointment online with VFS Global

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.
  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 Visa Application Centre of VFS in Makati.

Step 3: Double-check your documents

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).


  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.


  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, tax-paying certificate, and bank statement of the company for the last 3 months
    • 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.
  5. 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.)

  6. 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! 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).

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


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 BELGIAN VISA APPLICATION CENTER: Ground floor of Ecoplaza Building in Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati.


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» 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! ]

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  1. Hi Ms. Aileen! I just want to ask if the Belgium Embassy always give a 90 days validity once u get your visa? Because in some other blogs I have seen different number of days. Some are valid for only 15 days, 10 days. How about in Belgium embassy? Is it 3 months valid once approved? Thanks!

    1. Hey Hazel, as you have seen, it really depends on the number of days you requested and it's also up to the embassy to issue whatever days they feel they should give to an applicant. So, if you want to stay for a full 90 days, you should indicate that in your application. Good luck!

  2. Is it okay to buy different airline ticket from the ticket reservation I submitted to the embassy? I submitted Turkish Airlines ticket reservation but I changed my mind and I'm planning to purchase Etihad Airways this time because it's cheaper. Same route except that the stopover will be in Abu Dhabi. Will that matter ?

    1. I don't think it matters much especially if they've already issued you a visa. :) What matters is you're coming back with that roundtrip flight. Enjoy!

  3. hi ms aileen! i have read this blog many times already and finally i have the courage to ask :). in the application form can you select both tourism and visiting a friend in the "Main purpose(s) of the journey"? thank you in advance.

    1. It's best to just select visit a friend especially if you're going to stay in your friend's place :) Good luck!

  4. Hi Miss Aileen, I had an interview last June 20 at the Belgium Embassy Manila. I'm still waiting for the result. Now, I receive a advance gift from my aunt which is a trip to Hong Kong on July 24 to 27. Can I borrow my passport from the Embassy? I've emailed them but still don't get a response, been trying to call many times also but no answer :(.

    1. Hey Jean, I had a similar situation like yours and it's always possible to ask that from the embassy. Sorry to hear that you can't get through to them — I hope you do so that you can arrange pick-up of your passport. Good luck!

  5. Hello Ms Aileen, may I ask what else can I submit to proof that I'm coming back after my travel period, if I don't have properties in my name, I'm not working because my bf don't want me to work, I don't have credit cards, only debit card which my bf used to send me money. I don't know what to do.

    1. Hey Janeth, you can enroll into a short school course as one proof of coming back to the Philippines. Hope it works/helps! Good luck.

  6. Hi Ms. Aileen! Thank you so much…Your blog has been a great helped to me. This is my 2nd time to lodge a visit visa to Belgium and my first time was denied but this time I’ve been approved!!! I got my visa yesterday ^_^. I just have few questions in mind. What do I need to do now? Since the website has been updated it was a bit different now compared to the old one. After the visa has been released, is there any steps or requirements need to do or submit? Your answer will be so much appreciated. Thank you

    1. That's great to hear! Enjoy your upcoming trip!

      Now that you have your visa, if you're just there for tourism, you don't need to do anything else. Just enjoy your trip!

    2. Hello Honey! How many months you wait before you apply again for visa? Is this visa is for tourist with sponsor? Or not? Thank you. Because I will apply soon and advise from someone who experience everything from denied and now approve! Congrats by the way, enjoy your vacation! Your advise will be a great help. Thank you

  7. Hi Aileen! I'm scheduled to attend a conference from may 24-28 in Brussels. Do i need to submit ALL the supporting documents needed for my visa application (visa for official business) listed in the requirements or what is only applicable to me? How much would be the budget for a 6 nights stay? We plan to go to Antwerp and Amsterdam too. Thank you and more power!

    1. Hey Meg, I haven't done the visa for official business so I can't advise you on that. I suggest that you call VFS to confirm. Sorry that I can't be of help.

      As for 6 nights stay, it depends. Is your accommodation already paid for? If so, you'll only have to pay for food, transportation, and tours. I can tell you by now that Brussels and Antwerp can be explored without the need for a paid tour. You can do it by yourself (you can find some free things to do guides here in my blog). Whereas food meals on average are at 20 EUR (you can get light sandwiches for less than 10 EUR already for breakfast and lunch). As for public transport, you can ride the buses and acquire a week pass to save on it. Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Ms. Meg can I ask Confuse kasi ako regarding sa Bank certificate where do I am going to address?address and addresse it is in belgian VAC or belgium Embassy. Im trying to call the VFS when I am getting my my bank certificate because Im really confuse since I choose to write the Belgian VFS and the address in don chino. Is this wrong?

  8. Hi Ms. Aileen,

    I have a question about COE. I have just started working home based and I signed a contract. Is the contract enough since I don't need a LOA?
    I am planning to apply for a Schengen visa at Belgium embassy for Slovenia and my BF will sponsor me.

    TIA Ms. AIleen!

    1. Hey Mocha! Since you're working freelance, I believe a contract could work. If you have properties to present, please provide those as it can solidify your strong ties with your home country. Good luck!

  9. thank you Miss Aileen for the response

  10. Hi mis aileen may i ask if necessary to purchase insurance plan and bring it to embassy upon submission of documents for a visit visa in belguim?

    1. According to the new requirements of the embassy starting last 2016, they now require applicants to submit travel insurance upon application; so yes, you need to purchase it beforehand.


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