Are visa application processes meant to disrespect Filipino citizens?

[I write this to narrate an event that made me lose some amount of self-esteem.  It is timely because recently a new President was sworn into office, promising good governance and hopefully this would translate into a better standing for the Philippines in the community of nations. I have seen and experienced Filipino passports given that second scrutiny or their holders asked to step aside at immigration queues for ‘special’ handling, with nary a protest or whimper from our government. ]

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Immigration policy is essentially excludatory[1].

It was in late 1985 when an immigration counselor at the International Students Office of a university in Detroit told me this.  This I took to mean that in most instances any visa application has a high probability of being rejected.  To make the long story short, I did not see my children for 3 long years.

For the next 2 decades, I forgot all about applications for visa as these were processed with facilitation due to the positions I held in the Philippine government and the United Nations.

After retirement, I resigned myself to the fact that I now have to call or email for a time-and-day slot to file my application and join the queue for the submission of documents and the interview by a consular official.

Invited by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community

I was recently invited to join a mission to New Caledonia to organize, facilitate, and deliver presentations in [1] a regional workshop (8–9 July 2010) on National Strategies for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) for Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs), in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and; [2] in a Pacific donor roundtable.  Moreover I was also asked to conduct discussions with PICTs on support to their NSDS processes.

So I prepared to apply for my visa to New Caledonia, an overseas collectivity of France located in the sub-region of Melanesia in the southwest Pacific, with the Embassy of France.

I wrote to them about said invitation and inquired through email <consulat.ambafrance.manille@gmail.com> on the application process.  After three working days, I got this reply from <visa.ambafrance.manille@gmail.com>:

Confirming your appointment for June 22 at 8am.’

I surfed the Internet and was able to link to these pages for more information:

I got the general requirements for a short-stay business visa application which outlines the following:

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  • GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  • All applicants are required to submit the following documents in person.
  • Kindly present your documents in the FOLLOWING ORDER:
  • Original documents MUST be presented with a photocopy.
  • Extra documents might be requested for particular case

  • WARNING: Incomplete files may result to the refusal of the application.


  • Business Visa Application
  • Signed application for Schengen visa with photo (35mm + 45mm, white background) + 1 extra photo.
  • Cover letter from company in the Philippines with dates and purpose of the trip.
  • Business invitation letter from French company
  • Proof of income :
  • –         Official business registration of current and previous years (if self employed)
  • –         Income tax return from previous year, where applicable
  • –         Photocopy of international credit cards
  • –         Salary slips (last three months)
  • –         Bank account statements (last three months)
  • Identity and marital status :
  • –         Photocopy of the first page of the valid passport and all relevant previous and / or valid visas.
  • –         If married: photocopy of your marriage contract and birth certificate authenticated by the NSO
  • –         If single: photocopy of your birth certificate authenticated by the NSO.
  • An international valid worldwide travel insurance (medical expenses and repatriation) for the duration of the visa and valid for all Schengen states. Minimum coverage should be EUR 30,000.
  • – For a visa valid 5 to 15 days, insurance policy should cover 30 days.
  • – For a visa valid 16 to 30 days, insurance policy should cover 45 days.
  • – For a visa valid 31 to 90 days, insurance policy should cover 90 days.
  • Flight booking (please do not purchase your ticket unless your visa is granted).

———————————————————

I also downloaded a Schengen visa application form from the Internet.

Very efficient, or so I thought.

22 June 2010

Before 8 a.m. I joined the group of applicants at the [parking] basement of the Pacific Star Building.  We filled out a slip to gain entry to the building.  The waiting area was a blocked-off section near the tunnel entry/exit of vehicles with several benches and a few electric fans.  It still seemed like a good option than standing in line out in the open with the elements.

A little after 8, we were told to go to the security desk to give our filled-up slips, to leave our ID cards with the guard, and to proceed to the 16th floor.

At the 16th floor was the visa office.  Another guard reminded everyone that the old application form will not be accepted.  It looked different from the one I was holding so I reluctantly got one and filled it up hurriedly.  Then he took turns checking our name in the list of applicants for that day.

Mine was not there.  I told him that I was informed through email that I had an appointment for June 22.  He asked for a copy of the email.  I did not print one out since there were no instructions to bring one.  And this was not the consular office of a Third World country.

Anyway I went down and out of the building and found an Internet café catering to Koreans two blocks down Makati Avenue and was able to print that email.  Back to the 16th floor, the guard was convinced that I did have an appointment for 22 June, but he asked me to wait outside.  Workers are allowed in only after 9 a.m.; for some reason tourists are let in earlier.  We [including several needing a transit visa on the way to South Africa] were told to wait at the corridor, standing, because the building administrator does not want visa applicants to sit on the hallway as other offices occupy the 16th floor.

I finally got number 18 in the queue.  The number being served when I entered was number 6.

In between, a number was called, an elderly couple stood up and fumbled with their documents perhaps out of anxiety and approached Window 4 as the next number was called.  I don’t know what happened but they took their seats and were still seated when I left.

After an hour, number 18 was called.  I slipped in my documents through the hole at the counter.  The consular official in Window 4 eyed me condescendingly [maybe because I looked meek, or maybe he was feeling superior, or maybe because I am Filipino] and said that I was not following instructions. I was taken aback and was able to mumble a ‘sorry’ but was wondering what was happening because I was following instructions.  He picked up a piece of paper by his side and showed it to me.  I never saw the paper before.  He said this was being given by the guard at the door.  I firmly said that I was not given any.  He called up the guard and said that there is a man here who says that he was not given that piece of paper.  I did not hear the conversation; he put down the phone and said ‘Take your seat and I will call you later’.

The paper contained the following instructions:

—————————————————–

the passport must be presented first to WINDOW 4

with inside:

  1. Fully accomplished Visa Application Form
  2. Detailed Itinerary since departure MANILA
  3. Flight booking
  4. Hotel voucher (hotel booking not accepted)
  5. Visa fee of 3490 ph (only the EXACT amount will be accepted – no change and no coins)

—————————————————————–

Shucks, there were new requirements that the website made no mention of.

When I applied for a Schengen visa in 2008 at the same Embassy, my biggest problem was coming up with the exact change.  You only get to know the exact conversion of 60 euros into Philippine pesos [because this is not fixed] when you are waiting inside the room at the 16th floor.  I had to buy coffee at a café at the lobby to get loose change.  But this time, I had small bills to cope with this situation.  I thought that I would be okay…

I decided not to go through this process anymore because in the first place I had no intention of visiting New Caledonia.  I was invited to help out an office in their territory. And I did not need any further aggravation that morning.

Many got through because they may have been properly advised by travel agents/specialists, or they had been through this earlier the week before, or they were just plain lucky.  I hope that the elderly couple who were waiting for their ‘repeat’ submission of documents eventually got through.

I can tolerate being subjected to acts of condescension in a foreign land, but I cannot be unreasonably humiliated by an alien in my own country.

And this was a privilege?  Because sadly for many Filipinos the only chance for a better life for them and their family was to get visas, regardless of whether their self-respect, dignity and pride as a Filipino remain intact after the application process.

Lessons

  1. Don’t, rather never trust websites, even of offices of First World countries.
  2. If you can, engage the services of travel counsellors/agents or get advice from those who have gone recently through the application process.
  3. You will always find at least one condescending, unrepentant official in a foreign service office located in your own country.  How you react to this situation is your own personal choice, in the absence of positive government action.
  4. Don’t ever feel inferior because you are Filipino, especially in your own country.  You are entitled to a dignified treatment even if you commit a few mistakes.  Stare them down too.


[1] Not found in the dictionary.  It was a wonder that I knew what he meant.  Should it have been ‘exclusionary’?

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44 Comments

Filed under overseas workers, Philippines, visa applications

44 responses to “Are visa application processes meant to disrespect Filipino citizens?

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  3. Brian

    What a horror story. You would think that there would be some coordination between the organizers of the Paris 21 meetings in New Caladonia and the invited speakers/representatives. Couldn’t they have sent a cable or Email to their Consular Office?

    I hope that the French Embassy is aware of this link too. Unfortunately, I am afraid that this happens all to often to Filipinos (and others from the 3rd World) who are reluctantly forced to swallow their pride in order to get a visa!

    • makuhari

      The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) sent me an endorsement letter to be attached to the visa application. Unfortunately I had no chance or I stopped myself from filing the application. Probably they still don’t know how much disservice was done for the Pacific Island Countries and Territories and the SPC.

  4. Albert Servando

    Hello,

    I am an OFW bound to New Caledonia. I just signed my employment contract but according to my agency i will wait for a minimum of 2 months and maximum of 5 months for my schedule of appointment interview in the French Embassy in Makati.

    Is there anyone could help me provide information if the information i received from my agency is correct that i must wait min of 2 months for the schedule of my appointment of interview? I find this too long in time. Please help me providing info.

    Thanks.

    Albert Servando

    • makuhari

      Try checking thru the email addresses that I mentioned in the blog post. Good luck.

    • Noy P

      Albert, I am an ofw here in NewCaledonia. My advice is to get ALL the documents they require, including the translations to French (NBI clearance, Birth certificate, etc). Don’t be intimidated by those who think they are gods behind the glass partition. As long as you are not doing anything wrong, stand your ground. Good luck and welcome to NewCal.

  5. Hello, I am a representative of the French Embassy in charge of updating our website. I stumbled upon your blog, and I’m sorry to hear you had such an unpleasant experience with your visa application, and that our website provided incomplete information.

    We recently updated our website to reflect the new requirements and procedures. We hope this will help yourself and others avoid similar inconveniences in the future.

    For any other concerns that you may have, please feel free to contact me at presse.ambafrance.manille@gmail.com.

    –Gretchen Wilwayco
    Press Attache

  6. Lea Collins

    Hello:
    I would like to ask where I can translate all my documents to french that is required for visa application to go to New Caledonia. I was told that all requirements including birth certificate and marriage contract need to be translated. And how much roughly?

    thank you,
    Lea Collins

  7. Albert Servando

    Lea Collins,

    I can help you in regards to your plan to have all your documents to be translated from English to French. Please send me you contact information in Manila i will call you ASAP.

    Thanks and good luck. Albert Servando albertservando@gmail.com

  8. helow po.. my qustion po ako about visa… well meron pa ako passport but wala pa akong visa.. at meron pa akong AMO d2 na gusto nya akong eligal d2 sa france.. but hndi nya alam kong paano gagawin …. ANO po ba ang the best sulotion po…. maraming salamat po

  9. Paul Mclean

    I was at the French Embassy in Makati once to get a visa. There were a couple of visas on my passports that I did not get to photocopy and the Filipino asshole was very sarcastic and rude saying that the “list of requirements is in black and white right” and that “it doesn’t require rocket science to understand it”. I just dismissed his attitude and let him talk his head off and in the end I got the photocopies and handed it to him. I am sure he goes home every night and thinks about what a big man he is because he gets to sit behind a glass all day and talk above people on his microphone. You are right though, I should have stared him down and tell him he doesn’t need to be sarcastic and rude. Next time.

  10. Scarlett

    I just came from the French Embassy this morning, and because out of sheer frustration, I googled how rude and condescending that Mr. Window no. 4 FILIPINO guy is.
    I was given a Schengen Visa way back in 2007 without any hassle, considering that the visa officer that time was a nice, friendly French lady who even told me and my companion to keep warm because we will be arriving in Paris at the peak of Winter in 2007.
    So I thought that re-applying for a second Schengen Visa will be a breeze….only to find out that our fellow FILIPINO officer would “stare” at your requirements and make you feel like a criminal who would go in hiding in Paris. I was supposed to get my visa today, but because I changed my hotels in Europe (they’re cheaper online), he told me to come back again because they have to do verification. When I informed him our Amsterdam Hotel isn’t confirmed yet, he blankly told me it’s not their fault….then quickly called on to other applicants. How rude and condescending. It’s sad to note that Filipinos who hold positions in certain embassies are the ones who initiate discriminating remarks to their fellow countrymen, just because they thought they have every right to do so.

  11. Bonjuor,

    Sir, madam,

    Ano ang kailangan ko na documents kong magpapakasal ng isasng Frence national.Tongkol naman sa Visa anong mga documents ang kailangan ko at ilang months, matapos ito pag process.Saan ba kailangan ang CFO or Commission on Filifino Overseas?Ang CFO ba ay kailangan sa visa?Dito po ako sa Dumaguete City.Hoping your reply thank you.

  12. liah

    bonjour!

    sir/madam,
    ask ko lang po kung anong visa pwede sa akin pag inibinta ako ng boyfriend ko sa france,at ano po ang kailangang docomento, eh wala po ako trabaho dito.

    maraming salamat po,
    from davao po.

  13. CJ

    I stumbled across this blog while searching for other incidents involving the incredibly out-of-line and power-tripping personnel of the French Embassy. I had a terrible experience just yesterday, but even before it was my turn, they were pretty condescending already to some elderly people– who were admittedly not prepared, but i felt did not merit being talked down. Hey, that could’ve been my grandparents!

    I think it’s our duty to make sure such things don’t get unnoticed. I dont need them to be kind; i just want professionalism and politeness. They are paid to do that.

    Anyway, as it turns out that same night I was in a dinner hosted by a French expat couple, so i’ve managed to get the contact emails of the following: Frank.weyn@diplomatie.gouv.fr – head of the visa department here in Philippines, and Bruno.magnenat@diplomatie.gouv.fr – consul. And yes, I am writing an email to them. I suggest people who read this also do the same, but remain objective and polite.

  14. rea

    hello po.ask ko lang how much po kaya ang babayaran mag pa translate ng contract ko.french to english..1 page only

  15. gladys

    Hi. I’m an applicant for long stay student visa and i will have my visa interview on Monday. any tips?

    • makuhari

      1. Be patient. Expect a long wait. Swallow your pride. Follow instructions. You will be handed by the guard at the visa section on how the documents are to be arranged in order when you present these at the window.
      2. Bring loose change for the filing fee. They will only announce the peso equivalent of the fee expressed in euros right there at the visa section. They want the EXACT amount.
      3. If you have previous communication with them prior to the filing, such as email, etc., bring them along. They will not have any copy of these on hand.
      4. If you get a negative result, be happy that if ever you get stranded, it would be in the Philippines.
      5. Hope the process turns out well for you.

  16. Marilyn Reyes

    Hi,

    I’m applying for visa at the french embassy, this blog is really great!
    Would like to know exact details of requirements

    1) hotel accomodation : they don’t accept hotel confirmation from booking.com or same sites?

    2) flight booking : I asked an agency to book me a flight and they will give the booking certificate from their agency, they said they issued the same thing with other visa applicants, I want to know if this is sufficient?
    Do I need to ask for printout of flight itinerary?

    3) Is ITR really mandatory?

    4) Credit Card : how many months of credit card statement should I present?

    5) Are they very particular with the amount you have in your bank account, how much is the minimum ideal?

    I hope someone answer these questions in details, I cannot take a “risk” and be denied.

    Thanks you so much

    • PinoyVisa

      Hi Marilyn Reyes,

      Some answers to your questions:
      1. If you have already paid for your hotel and you have your confirmation, then print it out. This will certainly help.
      2. For the flight booking, this should be sufficient since it is the travel agency handing it to you. Remember that it is not required to book for a flight since there is a chance that your visa will be denied.
      3. ITR is mandatory, as well as the other documents showing your financial worth. Indeed, you should show every piece of information that will attest to your financial stability.
      4. 2 months should suffice.
      5. The amount appearing in the bank certificate should equal that of the latest balance in your transaction record. ANY DISCREPANCY will be viewed as fraud and will increase chances of refusal.

      Other tips:

      Things to do:
      1. Follow EXACTLY the instructions when preparing documents for your visa application. This is the minimum you want to have. If you have other documents that will attest to your financial capacity and intention to return include them.
      2. Write a clear and concise cover letter explaining what exactly you are going to do in France. Do not leave anything vague. Explain in the letter what will be your means to support yourself (highlight your financial documents) and demonstrate your intention to return (that you have a job, you have your family here etc.).
      3. If possible, write a statement that you will be returning to the country and have it duly notarized.
      4. If you have had travels in the Schengen area before, this will help but will not guarantee visa granting. If it is your first time to get a visa for any country, then I suggest you consider entering the Schengen area as a student (enroll in a university there). As long as your intentions to come back to the country is clear as day, there should be no reason for denial. People who do not to return to the Philippines are the reason why the visa application process has become very strict and difficult. Let us win back the reputation of our country because let us face it, our track record is not that spotless (e.g. “TnT’s”).
      5. Be very professional towards everyone in the Embassy. If you need to ask anything, do so politely. Do not take anything personally as it is the officer’s job to be very stern and strict to ensure that applicants only say the truth.

      When denied a visa:
      It will be very difficult, almost impossible to have a visa denial decision reconsidered. In case this has happened to you, I can help you explore possible options. Leave your contact information here.

      To the visa officers that will read this post:
      We invite you to provide do’s and dont’s as to how we can improve the image of our countrymen, our fellow Filipinos, in the eyes of the visa reviewing bodies. We are all Filipinos and we should help each other.

      • Marilyn Reyes

        Hi PinoyVisa, thanks for the reply, it is really helpful.

        My appointment is Nov. 5, I’m quite nervous, I honestly really want the visa, who doesn’t want anyway?

        How long does it normally take to know the result?

        I have no previous schengen visa, but I’ve been to Singapore and Hong Kong for pleasure purposes, I don’t consider it helpful, but at least, maybe, they would see that I can afford going out of the country, and I was alone there too, I just thought that instead of spending a lot for asian countries visit, why don’t spend it directly now to the country I really really dream of visiting, life is short 🙂

        Yes, I feel bad that other filipino that are just wishing to see France and have their picture taken in front of the Eiffel Tower has to suffer from complicated, difficult (sometimes with scrutiny) visa processing.

        Will update about my appointment, after that will be a loooooong wait in the dark.

        Thanks a lot

      • Is your appointment with a member of the consulate staff or is it with an external service provider?

      • Additional important questions:
        1) is the embassy going to contact the hotel u booked?

        2) is the embassy going to call te inviting person, if there is?

        3) for business visa, is the embassy going to contact persons involved in your documents?

        in general,does the embassy really confirm tr validity of the documents by contacting people, organization, etc?

      • Marilyn Reyes

        No external provider or agency. Any advice? My appointment is already tomorrow…

  17. New Blog on Rights of Applicants for Schengen Visa

    Have you been refused a Schengen Visa?
    Did you find the reason for refusal incomprehensible?
    Was your application decided merely on the basis of the documents submitted?
    Were you not given a chance to explain any suspicions the consul might have had?

    If you answered “yes” to these questions, my blog is for you. And you are not alone. In 2011 745,000 people around the world had their visa application refused. In many cases, no doubt, the refusal was justified. But in many cases, such as the one I report in this blog, the refusal was in contravention of the rights of the applicant.

    http://schengenjustice.blogspot.com/2012/10/justice-for-schenge-visa-applicants.html

  18. Marilyn Reyes

    I also want to add, that the customer service of the embassy is not very helpful, I just wonder why it is called customer service, I called them thrice and I got the same answer “Please visit the site (say the site), all details can be found there”

    Of course before making yourself cost much for calling the embassy’s customer service, it’s normal that you check first the website and you only call them if you think some details you want to know aren’t in the website or mostly vague.

    Then I also tried emailing presse.ambafrance.manille@gmail.com, funny s/he replied “please visit the website”

    So last resources are blogs and forums like this, and to take advice from filipinos that already been issued visa and be sufficient and resourceful yourself.

  19. Dear alphanumeric,
    I am a first world guy who can get on a plane and go to Europe any time. I am writing my blog for the benefit of you third world chaps who, I believe, are getting a raw deal. I’m not selling anything. I therefore ask you to publish my comment with blog details.

    gb

  20. RB

    Good luck on your appointment, Marilyn!

    My family and I have an appointment on Novermber 26 pa… I hope that’s enough time before we leave on December 27.

    I have a few questions, though:

    1. What’s the difference between hotel voucher and hotel booking? My family and I bought a tour from Trafalgar and we received a confirmation letter from Trafalgar that we have confirmed hotel bookings (which also state each of my family member’s name). Is that enough?
    2. If my bank certificate is below 500k, can I include a Dollar Time Deposit? Will that be sufficient?
    3. Do I need to print out the appointment details? Like the applicant’s names and reference number when I get to the embassy?

    This will be my first to apply for a Schengen visa and I’m getting nervous from all the “horror” stories that I’ve read.

    TIA!

    • makuhari

      I will try to give my views but this would not be much of an assurance since I am not Consulate staff.

      1. I think the confirmation letter would be enough. What else could you present?
      2. Why not? Your dollar time deposit is a liquid asset.
      3. Do print this out. The nearest place you can print this out from your email is along Makati Avenue, near Burgos St., at a KOrean establishment.

      If it is any consolation, all visa applications can be ‘horror stories’. Just don’t put up a face that seems to project that you are hiding anything or making a false declaration.

    • Esram

      Thanks RB!

      Just went through the “horror”. The girl who did my interview is filipina and very very strict and unfriendly 😦 I think it’s their job anyway, but it made me feel insecure and more nervous. The french girl at the other window is friendlier and speaks really calm.

      Problem was I got really nervous, sometimes I couldn’t hear her question because I could hear my heartbeat louder, hahaha

      I finished earlier than what I expected, my appointment was 10:30am, I was there at 9:20am, too early, they won’t allow you to enter the office because it’s small and already crowded so I waited with others outside (hallway, no chairs). Around 9:50am, they let us in when some of the applicants from inside were finished.

      I was given a number – 31, and when I went in, the number in the window was 26. Overall, it was fast.

      some advice:

      1) if the question is answerable by YES or NO, just answer YES or NO (I think I rattled too much I said things more than what I was asked)

      2) prepare all documents in order (VERY IMPORTANT) and they will just get the photocopy so better have EVERYTHING photocopied except the visa form.

      3) Do not forget to bring your previous passport, if there is. I’ve lost mine, the visa officer was asking for affidavit of lost, I told her I lost it after renewing my new passport.

      4) be very short, clear and precise when answering questions

      For the result, it’s 1 week for me… I don’t want to really hope but it was a terrifying (in a good way) experience, at least I have idea more or less.

      But, of course, I’m sure that I will be very disappointed and sad if i’d be refused of visa.

      GOOD LUCK TO ALL

      KEEP POSTED 🙂

      Thanks

    • Esram

      And oh just to add (I forgot)…

      I’ve heard the french girl visa staff saying to one applicant that it’s not they are not the one deciding for visa approval. They just make sure that documents are complete and do some assessment, then submit it to the consul who gives the decision.

      Thanks

  21. RB

    Thanks for that. Although there are a lot of “horror stories”, I’ve also read a lot of “happy stories” and even one person said that applying through the French Embassy is easier than applying through US Embassy. Either way, kahit mahirapan ako or not, I just hope me and family would be given visas so all of these would be worth it!

  22. RB

    Thanks for the tips, Esram.

    Just 2 questions: Should I follow the checklist of documents from the Embassy’s website and arrange it accordingly? Or will someone from the Embassy make sure that the documents are in order? Also, what if I added some additional documents not found in the checklist like TCT, Affidavit of Support, etc? Can you give me some advice on where to put them?

    So sorry for all these questions… This is really nerve wracking 🙂

    • Esram

      Hi RB (and to all),

      I am very excited to say that I got my visa 🙂

      So regarding your questions RB, I’m not an expert and note that it varies application to application, consul to consul, I will just give answers according to my PERSONAL experience.

      1) Yes you can include supporting documents but I think you have to really assess if those are necessary and really helpful ones. You don’t want to look like so desperate, it might be a turn off, instead, right? Just make sure that the required documents stated on the website are complete and in PROPER ORDER. Note, they only get the PHOTOCOPIES, so have all photocopies ready, complete and in order.

      2) NO ONE will be there to assist or help you with your documents, you will be going straight to the window and will be assessed directly by the visa officer

      3) You can put together documents that are related. For example your invitation letter + proof of support from the invitee, bank certificate + statement of accounts + other proofs of income.

      Just to share… I got there to pick up my passport with very least hope I could try to take in. There was only 1 guy at the embassy talking to window 3 and other windows were empty. (the french girl in window 3 was, as usual, very friendly) After the guy finished I approached her and she was smiling like an angel (LoL) and asking me “yes, what do you need?”, told her I’m going to pick up my passport but window 2 is empty. The filipina girl came and assist me to the window 2, and straightly told me “YOU’VE BEEN APPROVED, you will be asked to report upon your return”

      It was hard to absorb, I wanted to make her repeat what she said, hahaha!

      It was a good feeling or relief.

      I hope you too will have a good result 🙂

      Good luck!

  23. RB

    Congrats!! Just the very words you wanted to hear 🙂

    It’s always nice to hear good news, even if it doesn’t concern me. It gives my hope that it could happen to me also. Hahaha…

    My interview is on November 26 and i’m both excited and nervous. I’m still waiting for the British Embassy to return my passport and documents so hopefully I’ll have it this week. After that I can concentrate mainly on my Schengen visa naman.

    Will give an update once I’m finish with my interview.

  24. Ralph

    ok, i know this is an old post and my reply is a tad too late but i just want to point out some facts just so that you would understand that its never a race or personal thing.
    1. Technically, when you enter an embassy, you’re not in the Philippines anymore as the embassy is extraterritorial. Meaning to say, once you are inside, you are in the host country’s (the country which owns the Embassy) territory and jurisdiction.
    2, Embassy employees are government employees, so like any government employees of any country, they are usually rude and lazy. And remember, you are not their guest or their citizen so you cannot expect any form of customer service from them. You need something from them, they don’t need anything from you.
    3. And just because of one bad experience with an individual embassy employee, you cannot just generalize that the entire system is twisted and out to get you. The individual is a person who could have his/her own thoughts and decisions. I am a Filipino based here in Qatar and I have gotten my schengen visa 3 times from the French Embassy. And all 3 instances were pleasant. I try to use some french words when interacting with them as I know how french people are proud of their language (as it is very difficult) and they would appreciate the effort.
    4. And yes, you have to follow all their instructions for you to get approve. It is usually on the embassy website. If not, just to be sure, call them first. So far, I have never asked or paid for help from a travel agency in terms of acquiring a visa, but all 3 times I have been approved as I followed each and every instruction and brought with me all requirements and took the initiative to bring any other documents that are not listed on the site, but I know could support and boost my application.
    5. Requirements are usually the same for that specific embassy, no matter where it is located. What you have enumerated are also the ones I see and are required in the embassy here in Qatar. Some may be called differently but usually it serves the same purpose. And yes, they do ask for the hotel voucher here too, not just a hotel booking (as this can be easily cancelled)

    So bottomline, don’t let that one experience discourage you or haunt you from applying for a visa. Unless there are compelling evidence that you are there to defraud or stay in their country (tnt), they will not deny you a visa. So do not be afraid to confirm a hotel booking or flight, usually confirming it leads to a much bigger chance of being approved. The system is not out to get you or to discriminate a certain race. So don’t take it personally. ^^

    • makuhari

      Thanks for the advice and valid points. The rudeness was something else. Anyway, I went back to the French Embassy here in Manila early this year for an entry visa to New Caledonia. The experience was pleasant as the guy had been replaced by a lady with a higher EQ.

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