Do you want to go visit Norway soon? Just like other countries in the EU, you need a Schengen visa. If you intend to spend most of your time in Norway, you will need to lodge it to the Norwegian Embassy
Read on to know how to get Norway Schengen Visa in the Philippines. Since our intention was to visit Norway, I will relate my experience and requirements I needed for the trip.
If you would like to know about applying for Schengen Visa via France, read my France Schengen Visa Guide for Filipinos.
What is a Schengen Visa?
As a Philippine passport holder, it is a given that we need a visa to get to anywhere outside ASEAN countries. A Schengen visa is the powerhouse visa that allows you to travel to all 25 countries in the EU area. It allows you access to the following countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. This makes organizing the grand Euro trip so much easier–you only need one visa to enter all aforementioned EU countries signed under the Schengen agreement.
Although the Schengen visa allows access to the aforementioned countries, you will need to apply your visa to the country where you’ll be visiting. This isn’t so hard if you’re only intending to visit one country, but if you’re planning to visit several Schengen countries, you should lodge your application to your main destination, either on your first point of entry or the country where you’ll be staying the longest.
On my case, I was approved the Schengen visa via Norway but was able to use it to see Netherlands and France. Both trips were unplanned and decided when I was already abroad, but was able to come in both countries without a problem.
How to Apply Norway Schengen Visa in the Philippines
1. How Much?
Visa processing fee is 60 euros, or during my time, around Php 3,500. For children ages 0-6, it is free of charge whereas minors from ages 6-11 pay 35 euros or approximately Php 2,000. This is good news as when I applied for my baby’s UK visa, fee for both adults and children were the same!
I used the Self-Service Norway Application Portal wherein you are required to pay the 60 EUR fee online through credit card. On the day of the appointment, I also paid another Php 1,233 to VFS Norway for the agency’s processing fee.
2. When to Apply?
Applications are accepted up to three months before your travel date. You should apply for your visa as soon as you’ve finalized your travel schedule (by the way, you don’t need to buy a ticket just yet, a booked reservation will do). I recommend to apply 6-8 weeks before your travel date for enough time allowance.
3. How to Apply?
Again, I used the Self-Service Norway Application Portal. The website is pretty easy to use and straightforward. Filling out of the application form, setting the appointment date and payment of processing fee are done online.
Once this is accomplished, you can then print out the application form, receipt and cover letter from the Royal Norwegian Embassy (this serves as a confirmation and will be sent to you via email). You can then book your appointment and simply show up with the duly fulfilled forms and required documents at VFS Norway
4. Where to Apply?
All visa applications are handled by an outsourcing agency, VFS Global Norway, to make things faster and easier for the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila. Here’s the address for VFS Norway in Manila:
Ground Floor, Ecoplaza Building
2305 Chino Roces Avenue Extension
Makati City, Philippines 1231
Starting May 7, 2015, you can now apply for a Schengen visa at the Norway Visa Application Center in Cebu starting May 7, 2015. If I had known this earlier, I could’ve done it in Cebu instead of flying to Manila for my booked appointment was on May 6, 2015, just one day before! Here’s the Cebu Address:
Norway Visa Application Centre – Cebu
Unit 503, 5th Floor, Keppel Center
Samar Loop cor. Cardinal Rosales Ave.
Cebu Business Park, Cebu City 6000
Please be advised that visa applicants can walk in/go directly to the Centre in Cebu and submit their application after they have registered their application in the Application Portal. There is no need to book for an appointment before applicants can proceed.
5. Other Important Information
VFS Norway’s website has a tracking tool for visa applications, but when I tried to use them it doesn’t seem to be working.
VFS Norway has a hotline number (+63 2 790 4902), which was really helpful when I wanted to track my visa application You can call them Mon-Fri 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It takes them a while to answer, but Edelyn was really helpful. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you wanted to contact the Royal Norwegian Embassy – Manila directly, you can call their Visa Section at +63 (0)2 317 2778, from Mon-Thurs, 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM only.
II. Application Requirements
Checklist of Documents to Bring on the day of your appointment:
- Cover Letter. I did not need to write a cover letter for this application, as a cover letter is already provided for you and emailed after accomplishing the Online Application Form. You just need to affix your signature in the bottom of the page.
- Printed, filled up and signed Schengen Visa Application Form or VAF (download here) with 1 photo affixed (bring 2 photos).
- Photograph Requirements – Most photo shops would already know the specifications needed for visa requirements-just tell them it’s for a Schengen visa. I had ours taken in Ayala Center Cebu.recent photo taken within six months
- 45mm x 35mm
- White or cream background
- Taken with nothing covering the face, without sunglasses or tinted spectacles, or a head covering unless for religious or medical reasons. The subject should have their mouth closed (no grinning, frowning or raised eye brows). Applicant should be facing forwarding, looking straight ahead.
- Confirmed Appointment Date and Time. You can choose to book an appointment or come anytime as a walk-in.
- School / Employment Supporting Documents – provides proof of coming back to the Philippines.
- Student – a letter from your school or education provider confirming your enrollment and leave of absence
- Employee – tax returns, pay slips, letter from your employer confirming employment, and confirming leave of absence.
- Business Owner – tax returns, business registration documents (stating your name as business owner)
- Financial Supporting Documents – documents that prove you don’t need to work while you’re in France. This can include bank statements, pay slips, credit card statements, property titles; within the last six months or so
- Trip Details must include the following:
- Roundtrip Airfare Ticket Reservations.
- Planned Itinerary, detailing what you intend to do and places you want to see during your stay in the EU areas.
- Hotel Booking or Reservations. I suggest you book your accommodations at Booking.com where booking and cancellation is free. If you are intending to stay with a friend, provide your host’s passport, national identity card, residence permit and Certificate of Board and Lodging.
- Personal Supporting Documents – proof of your identification details & personal circumstances
- NSO Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate, if married
- Current Passport and Previous Passport, to see travel history
- Travel Insurance covering the entire duration of your intended stay. Minimun coverage is 30,000 EUR.
Complete submission of these documents will be helpful in obtaining that visa, but does not guarantee visa issuance; but missing or incomplete supporting documents may result in a Schengen visa refusal.
I had to fly to Manila to get my visa done, as the Cebu option was still not available on my time of application.
I scheduled for 8:00AM and arrived 30 minutes before. I was asked to fill up a registration form of some sort by the guard before coming in. They checked my bag, and told me that I could come in with my phone as long as it is switched off. You are not allowed to use the phone or any electronic device while inside VFS.
Upon inside, I was given a priority number ’11’, but since the Norway window wasn’t so busy, they called me ahead to approach the window. I submitted all my requirements and when the officer saw that everything was well in order and complete, he proceeded to ask for the VFS fee of Php1,233. I also asked to have the passport couriered to me so that was another additional Php500. They gave me a receipt to which they told me I need to present when I redeem my passport. The officer told me I could get my passport within 2-5 working days. Not bad, I thought to myself. Afterwards, I waited until I was called by biometrics to have my picture and fingerprints taken.
I was very impressed with the whole proceeding. It only took 30 minutes, from the time I arrived inside their premises until I left.
IV. Waiting Period & Results
I was told that I will be informed via text and email that my passport is ready. And since I was promised I will get my Schengen visa within 2-5 working days, plus given the swift processing on my appointment, I was confident I could get it way before my UK trip. I had availed of the courier service, which would take another 2-3 working days. Alternatively, you can pick up the passport at VFS yourself or someone could pick it up for you, provided that they present a letter of authorization, the receipt, the authorized person’s ID and a photocopy of your identification (two valid IDs).
To my dismay, processing took longer than expected–after several follow-up calls and emails to both VFS Norway and Royal Norwegian Embassy from a paranoid like me, I was finally informed via email that my visa was ready with the email from the embassy:
Dear Ms ___________,
The Royal Norwegian Embassy has the pleasure of informing you that your application for a Schengen visa has been approved for repeated entries __ days stay in Schengen between the period ________ and _______.
The visa has been issued in accordance with the round trip flight ticket reservation and travel medical insurance submitted along with the application. The visa cannot be issued for additional days.
Please pick up your passport at Norway Visa Application Center, VFS Global, Ecoplaza Bldg. Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City between 2pm and 4pm from the next working day.
Royal Norwegian Embassy, Manila
I got my visa after 14 days, exactly the day before I am scheduled to leave for HK!
Moral of the story: Apply way ahead especially during summer time!