When your company ask you to process your visa, all you have to do is report to them and fill up some forms which you can find below. Present also your Philippine passport and Seaman’s Book as these are included in the requirements. These documents will be taken care of by your shipping agency since they already have a checklist in hand.
Remember that we are Filipino seafarers and our visa application process is far more different (and simpler too) than others who want to go to any Schengen states for vacation.
- Visa Application Form – Completed and personally signed.
- Recent Photograph – Not older than 3 months. Photo size is 35x45 colored and white background. Can be obtained in VFS Global.
- Passport – validity of not less than 3 months with at least two blank pages.
- Previous Passport(if applicable)- especially if you have a valid Schengen Visa here.
- Valid Seaman’s Book
- Visa Fee– Php5,320.00
- Guarantee Letter – from your local manning agency
- Letter from Principal/ Shipping Agency –
- Overseas Employment Contract (OEC)
After signing the necessary documents and double checking all your requirements, your manning agency will give you specific instructions regarding your visa application process including the address of VFS Global and how to get there. At this moment, your appointment is also booked so you better take note of the date and time. Pay close attention and ask questions if you don’t understand something.
Your office will also give you the Application Fee together with all the requirements mentioned above inside a brown envelope. But you must provide your own photograph or you can have it in VFS Global Office for a fee of Php150.00.
VFS Global Philippines is located at Mezzanine Floor, Ecoplaza Bldg., Don Chino Roces Ave. Ext., Makati, Kalakhang Maynila, Philippines.
You have to be at least 15 minutes earlier during your appointed schedule. The guard will call all applicants ahead of time so you must always be attentive. Don’t worry if you can’t have breakfast at home since there is a cafeteria at the ground floor where you can eat while waiting.
Once your schedule is called out, follow the guard’s instruction. They can be very strict at times so it’s very helpful if you just remain obedient to them.
In the Reception Area, your documents will be checked to ensure that you have all the necessary requirements. They are very strict with your photo size and specifications too. There is a photo center and photocopier facility inside which is a bit expensive if ever you need one.
If you are going there alone without a chaperon, it would be helpful if you just bring only the requirements inside the brown envelope and an extra pen in your pocket. Your backpack or other carry on items will not be allowed inside and you have to put it in a locker which costs Php75.00.
4. Schengen Visa Application Center
Here, you only need to wait for your name to be called. Take your seats and just relax. I remember we filled another short form but I don’t exactly know what it is. Anyway, it would be very easy once you’re there.
You will submit the requirements here including the payment of your visa. Pass or fail, your fee will not be refunded. An SMS tracking service will be offered for Php150.00. You will receive an automated feedback message at various stages of your visa life-cycle.
If you have an old or expired Passport containing valid Schengen Visa, the application center will require you to submit this too together with your other requirements. For less hassle, always keep your old passport with you during the entire visa processing.
They will ask you if you want to personally collect your passport, have someone to fetch it on your behalf or opt for a delivery service which requires a fee of Php400. In this case, the company usually decides to send someone to collect your Schengen Visa on your behalf. This too will also be highlighted during the Briefing Session.
After submitting your documents, you need to wait again for biometrics which is just in the same room. Proceed directly once your name is called. They will scan your fingerprints which will be stored in EU’s database.
Using your mobile phone and taking pictures inside the facility is strictly prohibited. I manage to take some photos before they told me so.
And that’s basically it. Your visa application is done after your Biometrics.
6. Updating Your Office
During the entire period, it would also be very important to give an update to whoever is in-charge of your visa application in the office. This includes the time of your arrival at VFS Global and upon completion of your appointment. If any problems arise, inform them immediately either thru call or text.
Additionally, if you finish your application, you also need to report to the office and give them back some of the documents which VFS Global returned to you.
7. Tracking Your Application
Legal processing time is 15 calendar days. Sometimes, it could take more like 30 days. You can track your application thru VFS’s website. You only need to enter your reference number and last name to do this.
Alternatively, SMS message will also be sent to you if you opted for it during your application.
8. Releasing and Collecting
This won’t be much of a problem since your company will take care of it once VFS Global sends you a message regarding the collection of your passport. Once you receive a confirmation message, you have to inform them that your Schengen visa is ready for pick up.
That’s most about it. Your company will do the preparation and your task is for appearance only. But do you know that your Schengen visa has some interesting facts most seamen are not aware of?
May the winds be on your favor.