Sounds too good to be true. Am I not dreaming?!
These were my reaction when I collected my visa. Just after five (5) working days. Usually the normal processing takes seven (7) up to ten (10) working days. Whereas, for citizen coming from the third world country (like yours truly), it could take longer than usual, like up to twenty (20) days or worse up to two (2) months! So you won’t blame me for having that reaction ;-).
And as if that surprise was not enough, there was more. The Embassy gave me six (6) months. Six months Tourist Visa! It was an overwhelming feeling that all I could do was uttered a prayer of thanks. My sacrifices are all worth it. I am about to fly in a few days and I am seriously contemplating for my next sojourn – a possible winter experience ;-). I want to maximize the use of this precious visa – without having to undergo another arduous process. You will see why as we go along.
Before I proceed to the requirements, let’s have a little background of what Schengen Visa is.
Schengen Visa – is a term used to allow holder to move freely in 26 countries member of the European Union. You can check the updated list at this link: http://livingingreece.gr/2007/07/09/schengen-countries/. Should you wish to know more about Schengen Visa, feel free to google search :-).
In principle, regardless of the country of your residence, the requirements to obtain Schengen Visa are the same. I have confirmed it when I checked at the embassy of Greece and France in Singapore and in Manila (Philippines).
Without further ado here are the requirements:-
1. A short stay Schengen Visa form – duly filled out and signed. You can download the form at this link: http://www.ambafrance-sg.org/IMG/pdf/Formulaire_SCH_eng.pdf
2. One (1) recent identity photograph, 2.5cm x 3.5cm, clearly showing the face, forehead, hairline and ears on a white background.
3. Original and photocopy of your passport – showing your personal particulars or identity pages; with six (6) months validity before it’s expiration date and at least two (2) blank pages for the visa.
4. Original and photocopy of Employment Pass, S Pass, Dependant Pass, Student Pass, Work Permit or Permanent Resident card.
5. Original and photocopy of your flight reservation/ booking details with confirmed dates.
6. Original and photocopy of proof of accommodation for the whole length of your stay in all Schengen countries. Address and dates should be stated. If you are going to stay with family, relatives or friends, there is a form (Attestation d’Accueil) which must be obtained from the city hall of the Schengen country you are going to visit.
7. Original and photocopy of financial guarantee. Your last two (2) months bank statement. “If your financial means are not sufficient, you may also provide commitment letter from your sponsor stating he/ she will be responsible for all your expenses, a proof of his/ her financial means and a copy of their passport.”
8. A Certification letter from your employer stating your annual salary, your position, date of employment and dates of leave.
9. Travel Insurance covering the exact dates of your trip should be stated in the policy. Since I missed attending NATAS Fair at Changi Expo, I have to get at the travel and tours agency. I have checked all the travel agencies in Lucky Plaza :-P. The cheapest that I could get for 16 days is SGD $118 at Pentravel & Tours (firstname.lastname@example.org). The insurance should cover the medical expenses, hospitalization and repatriation costs incurred for at least SGD $60,000 during your stay in Europe.
By the way, if you intend to visit multiple countries in Europe, you can lodge your visa application at the country of your main destination or where you will have your first stop.
With all of the above requirements, I think you will understand why I am considering another trip to EU :-D. Should you need further info, please contact the consulate and the embassy at:
Consulate-General of Greece
896 Dunearn Road
#04-08 Sime Darby Centre
Telephone +65 6875 1205
Embassy of France
101-103 Cluny Road
Telephone +65 6880 7800
I wish to thank Ms Marie Vassallo of the French Embassy and Ms Anne Duthuron of the Greek Consulate. By the way, the visa fee is equivalent to the exchange value of 60 euros (@ SGD $127.65 in cash). Another important point I wish to emphasize is that application of visa is by appointment only. You can check this link: http://www.ambafrance-sg.org/To-make-an-appointment-to-the-visa. I remember I was approached by father and son when I collected my visa. They asked me why the security officer did not allow them to enter the premises. They tried to walk-in. But walk-ins are not entertained.
Feel free to share your thoughts. Should you have questions I will try to accommodate to the best of my ability 😀