There are a lot of amazing destinations in Europe and for Philippine passport holders like us, we typically need to get a hold of a Schengen Visa in order to make those ‘Eurotrip‘ dreams come true. Don’t fret though because it’s NOT impossible to get one. For starters, if you got your eyes on the countries of Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Norway and/or Sweden, the Norway Embassy in Manila processes all the tourist visa applications for it!
I managed to get a single-entry Schengen Visa before for Norway, and much recently, a multiple-entry Schengen visa when I wanted to visit Finland and Iceland this year. Hopefully, with my experience, I could help you get a successful application too with the help of this visa guide!
But before we go on, first some disclaimers:
- 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.
- There are different types of Schengen Visas (for fiance, work, study, etc.) but my main focus for this article will be a Schengen Visa for tourism purposes only. To see a list of requirements for other types of visas for countries covered by the Norwegian Embassy, go here.
Photo from Mumemories/Shutterstock
[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:
 Excluding Greenland and the Faroe Islands  Excluding overseas departments and territories  Excluding Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands  Excluding Svalbard  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.
» 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 which has a validity period that’s NOT within your intended travel dates.
» Where to apply for a Schengen Visa?
For Schengen Visas that have a 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 Norwegian Embassy in Manila only if according to your Europe itinerary, you will be staying the longest and/or have any of these countries as your first point of entry: Norway, Estonia, Finland, Iceland or Sweden.
» 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:
- Switzerland Embassy: 4 days
- French Embassy: 5 days
- Norwegian Embassy: 5 to 15 days
- German Embassy: 7 days
- Belgian and Netherlands (Dutch) Embassy: 15 days
– the Belgian Embassy also handles Visa processing for Schengen countries that have no Embassies here in Manila, like Luxembourg, Slovenia and Hungary
- Danish Embassy: 15 days
- Italian Embassy: 15 days
It can surely take longer if they need more documents or details from you.
[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 Norway Embassy[/box_title]1
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 family visits, a visa for studying, a visa for work, a visa for transit, 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 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.
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Step 2: Schedule your appointment online with VFS Global
When it comes to the Norway Embassy, they do visa applications via their external service provider, VFS Global. Unfortunately, you cannot just walk in to their office to lodge an application because you need to book an appointment first online.
Here’s how you can secure a time slot:
- Visit the Norway Application Portal website here and then click the section that says ‘Create new user account‘.
- You are now at a registration page where you need to create your own account. Provide all the details that is asked of you, and make sure that you are registering an active email address. Once done, click the button that says ‘Create user account‘.
- Now that your account is created, you need to activate it before you can log in. So, check the email that you registered and look for a message from the Norway Application Portal ([email protected]). There should be a link inside the mail which you need to click in order to activate your account.
- Your account is now activated and you should be on the log-in page. Enter the email and password that you set up and click the ‘Log-in‘ button.
- On the next page, click ‘Want to apply‘ and then ‘New application‘, followed by ‘Application forms for citizens of all countries’, and ‘Visitor’s visa‘.
- Check the box that says ‘I accept the legal disclaimer‘ and then click on ‘Go to application form‘.
- From here on, everything will be quite easy to follow since it will just simply ask for your personal information, travel plans, etc. Make sure that you filled in all these details correctly.
- Once you are done filling everything out, the next step is to pay the application fee which is EUR 60. Take note that you can only pay this on the portal with a credit card.
- Once done with the payment, submit your application form on the portal. When you do so, you will receive an automated message on your mail that contains a Cover Letter. Save, print and sign this document since you will need to submit it later on when you visit VFS.
- Finally, click here to book your appointment time and date.
- Take note that visa applications with VFS can only be made from 11:00AM to 2:00PM, Monday to Friday.
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Step 3: Prepare the required documents for your application
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 Norwegian Embassy requires as detailed below.
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 listed in the links below…
- Visit spouse
- Visit parent or visit child
- Visit brother/sister
- Visit boyfriend/girlfriend
- Visit other family, relatives, or friends
- 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.
- Cover Letter. Print and sign this cover letter that was sent to your email after you did the steps I mentioned in Step #2 above for the Norway Application Portal. Besides, it also serves as proof that you have paid the visa fee online.
- Day-to-day Travel Itinerary. At this part, it’s good practice to include a personal cover letter (different from the one above) along with this itinerary document 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.
- 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 then paste (do NOT staple) a photo on the designated space on the Checklist document.
- Checklist. Download the checklist form here. Make sure that it is duly filled out, checked (as per the documents that you will be submitting that is applicable to you) and pasted on with a passport-sized photo.
- Philippine passport, original and photocopy. Make sure that your passport is valid at least three 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
- Proof of sufficient funds. If applicant is under the age of 18, the following documents can be from their parents or legal guardian.
- Original bank certificate/transcripts for the last 6 months
- Credit card statements for the last 6 months
- Proof of real properties (if applicable). If you own any land, cars, properties, land titles, etc. bring the original documents as well as their photocopies.
- Roundtrip Flight Ticket Reservation. Do NOT buy flight tickets before the visa is issued because the Norway Embassy would NOT take any responsibility for the costs you’ll incur if your visa gets denied or if your departure times get changed. So — just simply supply a confirmed reservation only. You can get a reservation typically from the airline itself or through any travel agency (for a small fee).
- International Travel Insurance, photocopy or original. This can be purchased from local or international providers. You just have to ensure that it has a coverage of at least 30,000 EUR / 50,000 USD / PHP 2.5M to cover expenses for personal accidents, urgent medical treatment, urgent admission in a hospital or urgent repatriation on medical grounds; with coverage including ALL Schengen member states. The validity period of the insurance coverage must be for the ENTIRE duration of the intended stay including entry and exit day of the Schengen area
The Embassy of Norway only accepts the insurance policies from any of the following Philippine Insurance companies. (Just visit their website by clicking the links below, and then email them to start your inquiry. I have purchased from Pacific Cross before and I would recommend them if you want to do a smooth and hassle-free transaction online.)
- Chubb (formerly known as ACE Secure)
- Chartis Insurance / AIG (formerly known as Philam Insurance/AIU Insurance)
- Pacific Cross (formerly known as Blue Cross)
- BPI-MS Insurance Corporation
- FPG Insurance Co. (formerly Federal Phoenix Assurance Co)
- Fortune General Ins. Corp.
- MAA Insurance Malayan Insurance
- MAPFRE Insular Insurance
- Paramount Life and General Insurance Co.
- Malayan Insurance Company, Inc.
- PNB General Insurers Standard Insurance Co.
- UCPB General Insurance Co. Inc.
- Worldwide Travel Insurance Plans
- Charter Ping An Insurance Corporation
- QBE Seaboard Insurance Philippines, Inc.
- Liberty Insurance Coporation
- Pioneer Insurance Company
- Philippines First Insurance Company
- Oriental Assurance Corporation
- If the applicant is a minor (under age of 18): The following documents must be provided…
- Photocopy of their PSA birth certificate
- 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
- If married: Marriage Certificate, photocopy. Only if applicable.
- If with children: Birth Certificates of children, photocopy. Only if applicable.
- If currently employed: you must provide the following…
- Certificate of Employment or work contract stating position, length of service, salary and duration of approved leave of absence.
- Photocopy of company ID.
- Pay slips for the last 3 months.
- If self-employed: you must provide the following…
- A. Corporation – Photocopies of SEC registration with attached present Articles of Incorporation and latest Income Tax Statement
- B. Single proprietorship – Photocopies of Business Name Registration Certificate from DTI and latest Income Tax Statement
- Certification of enrolment from the school.
- School ID.
- If you will be going on a holiday during summer break, submit a certification of reservation, or certification of enrolment to prove that you are enrolled for the next school year/semester.
- If travelling during school year, a certificate of leave of absence from school should also be submitted.
NOTE: If in case you are a Philippine national living or residing in a foreign country and you wish to avail a Schengen tourist visa, kindly inquire with the appropriate embassy in the country that you’re living/residing in about the requirements and procedures that you need to take (as the process and requirements will not be similar).
Also, the Norway Embassy may request for more information or additional documents other than those listed above in order to verify the contents and truthfulness of the documents you’ve submitted; so, be prepared for that.
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Step 4: Submit your application at VFS on your appointment date
It helps to arrive early for your appointment and the VFS address for both Manila and Cebu are:
Norway Visa Application Centre – Manila
Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg.,
Don Chino Roces Ave., Makati City
Norway Visa Application Centre – Cebu,
Unit 503, 5th Floor, Keppel Center, Samar Loop
cor. Cardinal Rosales Avenue
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City
The process usually goes like this when I visited the Manila branch:
- Arrival and waiting period. Once you arrive at VFS, the security guard will confirm that you have an appointment and then hand you a document slip which you need to submit to the right window. Find a seat in the waiting area and wait for your name to be called.
- Submission of documents. Simply hand out your documents to the VFS staff and he/she will check the documents that you prepared and then ensure that everything is complete.
- If in case you have any missing documents, the staff will inform you about that.
- Biometrics. All Schengen embassies in the Philippines have to capture your biometric data (finger scans, digital signature, and portrait photo) and it will be kept in the Visa Information System (VIS) for 5 years.
- If you have applied previously for the last 59 months you do not need to re-enrol your biometric data. However, there will be cases where you may need to re-submit your biometric data even if you have enrolled it previously. In such cases, VFS shall get in touch with you.
- Do NOT wear colored or magnifying contact lenses which could alter your appearance.
- Visa processing payment to VFS. This is separate from the fee that you paid online to the embassy. Take note that this must be paid in cash and it helps to prepare the exact amount in Philippine peso only. Once paid, they will give you a payment receipt (that has your application reference number and details) which you should keep. If you lose this receipt, VFS will not release your visa and passport; they will only release it after you give them a notarized affidavit of loss.
- The fee is Php 1,530 by 2018.
- There’s an additional fee of Php370 if you want to send the visa results to you by courier. However, sending passports via courier is at the applicant’s own risk. The Embassy assumes no resposibility for this. (Delivery will be done in 1-3 days within Metro Manila and 2-5 days if the address is in the province. Should the mailing address be outside a serviceable area, you may have to pick up your passport in the nearest courier branch.)
- Be advised that payment of these fees is NOT a guarantee that the visa will be granted. It also helps to note that these are non-refundable and non-transferable if your application is denied or if you decide to terminate your application.
The Norwegian Embassy still reserves the right to ask you to appear for a personal interview after checking your visa application.
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Step 5: Wait for the results of your Schengen Visa application
Once the Norway Embassy is done assessing your application, they will send back your passport and your other original documents to VFS. Consecutively, VFS will send you a text message or email that you can now pick it all up. Make sure to bring your ID and the payment receipt when claiming your passport and results.
NOTE: You can check or track the status of your application online via VFS on this page. Please remember that the time for passport collection is from 2:00PM to 4:00PM from Monday to Friday, except weekends and holidays.
Some other things to remember:
- If you cannot come personally to pick up your documents, you may send a representative in your behalf with your authorization letter, photocopy of your ID, payment receipt, and a valid ID with picture of your representative.
- The Norwegian Embassy will NOT assume any responsibility if your visa application be rejected. And if it does get rejected, you will be given an information sheet that shows the procedures you can take in order to ask for an appeal.
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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=”” ]TOP NORWAY TOURS[/box_title]
Northern Lights Chase Tour Bus tour from Tromsø
Arctic Fjords Road Trip Go to edge of the Arctic map from Tromsø!
Oslo Fjord Cruise 2 hours long of sightseeing fun!
[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]
[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. (Frequently Asked Questions)[/box_title]
◘◘ 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 (example: pay slips, real estate properties, land title, etc.).
◘◘ Do I need to provide a cover letter?
It’s not required, but it’s good practice to provide one.
◘◘ Do you have an example cover letter?
Yes, I have. Check it out 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. You can use this as a standard and this is the bare minimum, that’s why I suggest that you add way more money to it if you can.
◘◘ How long does it take to process a tourist visa application with the Norway Embassy?
With the Norway Embassy, it can take 3 to 15 business days. Like I mentioned previously, it only took 3 business days when I applied for a single-entry Schengen visa; however, it took full 15 days when I applied for a multiple-entry visa (most likely because they had to scrutinize everything since I was asking for more days, etc.)
◘◘ 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 Schengen visa) and within the allowable dates stated on your visa.
◘◘ 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 from other Schengen embassies, the questions will often be simple as it covers the following aspects:
- 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.
As you can see, applying for a Schengen Visa via the Norway Embassy is easy, and I hope that with this visa guide, I can help you prepare your documents and requirements better.
Let me know how it goes. Good luck!