Europe, italy, News

HOW TO APPLY FOR ITALIAN SCHENGEN VISA IN CEBU, PHILIPPINES

Italian Schengen Visa Application Guide via Via Center, Cebu, Philippines

The first time I arrived Europe was when I was 18 years old, and the first destination was Italy. I remember how Italy left a lasting impression on me. The art, architecture, history and culture are all awe-inspiring and impressive; and most of all–the FOOD!

Each Italian city–Milan, Rome, Venice, Florence or Naples–have very distinct characteristics and they all feel like an entirely different country in themselves. I knew by the end of my trip that I have to be back!

Italian Schengen Visa Application Guide via Via Center, Cebu, Philippines | Postcardpretty.com
Italian Schengen Visa Application Guide via Via Center, Cebu, Philippines | Postcardpretty.com

Sure enough, nearly a decade later, I found myself applying for yet another Schengen Visa Application to visit Italy again.

Good news for Cebuano Travelers: there is a visa application for Italian Schengen Visa here in Cebu City! Unlike most other Schengen States, we have to fly to Manila to lodge our visa application. However, for Italy, as well as Norway and Iceland you can apply for them in Cebu! ( Read my posts: Norway Schengen Visa Guide in Cebu / Iceland Schengen Visa Guide in Cebu),. All centers are located in Keppel Building, Cebu Business Park.

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 to the Schengen agreement.

WHICH EMBASSY TO APPLY?

This guide focuses on application for Italian Schengen Visa for Filipinos via VIA CENTER in Cebu, Philippines. If you need to apply to other Schengen states, you can check my other articles:

If you’re also planning to visit United Kingdom, take note that that will also require a different visa, a UK visa. Read my article HOW TO APPLY FOR UK VISA for a complete guide on that.

APPLY FOR ITALIAN SCHENGEN VISA IN CEBU, PHILIPPINES

I. PREPARATION

1. HOW MUCH?

Visa processing fee is 60 euros, or during my time, around Php 3,380 (Dec 2019). For children ages 0-5, it is free of charge whereas minors from ages 6-11 pay 35 euros or approximately Php 1,975.

Visa processing fee c/o VFS is Php 1,450. Other charges may include SMS fee for updates for Php 220 and courier fee of Php 330 if you preferred the passport to be mailed to your door.

That’s a total of around 4,500 PHP – 5,000 PHP.

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?

Schengen tourist visa applications should be lodged at the embassy or consulate of the country of visit. In my case, my first port of entry is Italy, so I wanted to apply via the Italian Embassy. If you’re planning to visit several countries, you apply for your application to the country you’ll be staying the longest. If the length of stay in each destination is almost the same, you should lodge the application to the country of first entry. 

*Update 1/6/16: As of December 9, 2015, all Schengen visa applications for France are already outsourced to VFS Global. For more information, you can check this link

You can book an appointment online or via call at +63 2 790 4903. Visa applications are open from Monday to Friday at 7AM to 2PM.

4. WHERE TO APPLY?

The good thing with applications here is you don’t need an appointment, you can simply walk in and show up at the center. If you do wish to book an appointment, you may call ahead via phone.

Take note that Visa Application hours are Mondays to Thursdays from 8AM to 2:30PM, and Fridays from 8AM to 1:30PM. VIA Center is closed on weekends and public holidays.

Schengen visa applications for Italy is done via VIA Center. The address of VIA Center in Cebu:

VIA Center Cebu
1004 Keppel Bldg, Cardinal Rosales Avenue Cor Samar Loop,
Cebu City, 6000 Cebu, Philippines
Phone: +63 (032) 412-7447

Address of the VIA Center in Manila:

VIA Center Makati
3F Allegro Center, Chino Roces Ave, Makati,
2284 Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone: +63 (02) 845-9200 / +63 (02) 845-9215

II. REQUIREMENTS FOR ITALY SCHENGEN VISA

Checklist of Documents to Bring on the day of your appointment:

  • Visa Application Form. Don’t leave blanks, or write N/A if field doesn’t apply.
  • Cover Letter. The letter must contain your travel details, purpose of your trip, and your plans to stay there, who you are traveling with, the details of your relationship with sponsor (if applicable), and the list of documents you’re about to submit to the embassy. The letter should be addressed to:

    THE HONORABLE CONSUL
    EMBASSY OF ITALY

    6/F Zeta II Bldg. 191 Salcedo Street
    Legaspi Village, Makati City
  • Printed, filled up and signed Schengen Application form (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. Take note that it must be a 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.
  • 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 and permits, (stating your name as business owner), BIR registration, SEC registration, etc.
  • Financial Supporting Documents – documents that prove you don’t need to work while you’re in the Schengen Area. This can include bank statements, pay slips, credit card statements, property titles, etc.
  • Trip Details must include the following:
    • Roundtrip Airfare Ticket Reservations. Some airlines, such as Qatar Airways, allow you to reserve flights for free. You can choose the flights and choose to pay via cash.
    • Planned Itinerary, detailing what you intend to do and places you want to see during your stay in the EU area.
    • 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; as well as documents that prove your relationship with host.
  • Photocopies of Passport Pages
    • Photocopy all pages of your bio page, last page, as well as previous visas and immigration stamps on current and previous passports.
  • 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. Minimum coverage is 30,000 euros and cost around PHP3,500. 

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.

III. APPOINTMENT

The good thing with application via VIA Center, here is you don’t need an appointment, you can simply walk in and show up at the center. If you do wish to book an appointment, you may call ahead via phone but this is really not necessary. In fact, if you do miss some requirements you can simply come back within the day before 2:30PM to submit.

The process is pretty straightforward. Go to 10th floor at Keppel Building in Cebu Business Park and approach the staff on the counter. Make sure you have all requirements, photocopies and originals, with you.

You will register on the logbook and will be given a number and asked to take a seat. Once your number is called, go to the counter assigned to you and hand over your documents. The staff will check through each document and inform you if you have missing requirements. Once everything is approved, you will be asked to go back to your seat and wait to be called for Biometrics for your fingerprints to be taken.

Finally, you can make payment in cash. You will then be given acknowledgement and official receipt. The whole process took about two hours.

Kudos to the staff at VIA Center Cebu! I have applied for many visas to many consulates / embassies / centers, and I have found the staff at VIA Center Cebu to be the friendliest and most accommodating. They are very thorough and helpful in making sure your submitted requirements are complete and you have a good chance of having your visa approved.

IV. WAITING PERIOD & RESULTS

Next is waiting time. You will received a notification via call from VIA center that your passport is ready for pickup. Average wait is 7 to 15 working days.

Please be advised of the passport releasing schedule, Mondays to Fridays from 3PM to 5PM only.

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