How to Get a Schengen Visa at the German Embassy

How to Get a Schengen Visa at the German Embassy in Manila, Philippines | SGMT
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When I visited Munich two years ago, I was on a trip through several European cities and had gotten my Schengen visa from the Dutch embassy. For that reason, when last week my mum’s friend asked me to help her get a visa to visit her sister in Germany, I told her I would still have to look up the specific procedure at the German embassy. (You see, procedures can vary among different embassies: some use third-party visa application centers, some handle it themselves; some require cover letters, some don’t; and so on.)

The website of the German embassy in Manila was very helpful but with the wealth of information there, it took several clicks to tease out just the information that I needed. So…I figured it might be useful if I gathered all the information for tourists/family visits and put them all here in one page.

Please note that this guide is for Filipinos who want to go to Germany either (1) for tourism, or (2) to visit family and friends there. The website of the German embassy in Manila can guide you if you want to go to Germany for other purposes:

  • Au pairs (see requirements HERE)
  • Business (see requirements HERE)
  • Employment (get more info HERE)
  • Fairs (see requirements HERE)
  • Family reunion and subsequent permanent stay (see requirements HERE)
  • Jobseekers – highly skilled professionals who want to look for a job in Germany (see requirements HERE)
  • Language course less than 3 months (see requirements HERE)
  • Language course longer than 3 months (see requirements HERE)
  • Marriage and subsequent permanent stay (see requirements HERE)
  • Nurses seeking employment in Germany (get more info HERE)
  • Seafarers joining their ship in a German harbour (get more info HERE)
  • Studying in Germany (see requirements HERE)
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*Applying for a Schengen Visa at the German Embassy: The Basics
Applying for a Schengen visa at the German embassy_1_The Basics

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Basically, there are 5 things you need to do to get a Schengen visa from the German embassy:

  1. Prepare your travel itinerary.
  2. Fill up the online application form.
  3. Gather all your requirements.
  4. Set an appointment at the Germany embassy.
  5. Go to the embassy at the appointed date and time and submit your requirements.

Personal appearance is necessary.

The earliest time you can apply for a visa is 3 months before you intend to enter the Schengen area. For example, if your flight from the Philippines to Germany is on the first week of November, the earliest you can apply for a visa is on the first week of August.

According to the embassy website, processing will take one week — and it is NOT possible to expedite the visa processing.
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Step 1: Prepare your itinerary
Applying for a Schengen visa at the German embassy_2_Step 1 Prepare your itinerary

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The first thing you need to do is to prepare your travel itinerary because you will need to write the details of your trip when you fill up your application form online (in Step 2).

The information and documents you need to have on hand are as follows:
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Munich’s delightful contradictions


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When I think of Germany, I think of cars, I think of discipline, I think of science and technology, I think of…oh, all sorts of unromantic things that aren’t exactly the stuff of travel dreams. I found myself in Munich only because my companion wanted to visit at least one German city during our European trip, and Amsterdam-Munich-Rome via City Night Line sleeper trains appealed to the rail enthusiast in me. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the Munich stop but thought: why not?

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My first indication that Germany wasn’t going to be quite what I expected it to be was when the CNL night train arrived at Amsterdam Centraal 30 minutes late. A German train…on Filipino time. Imagine that!

But I should have known, really. I’d forgotten that this land of precision and efficiency is also the land of fairy tales, home to both Max Planck and the brothers Grimm, to discipline and drunken revelry. This contradictory German duality was especially evident in Munich.

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München, as it is locally known, is the richest city in Germany, with an exceptionally high standard of living, and is home to such giant companies as BMW, Siemens and Allianz. It is also home to the Frauenkirche, the seat of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, administered once upon a time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — the man now known as Pope Benedict XVI. Bavaria, the German state of which Munich is the capital, is predominantly Roman Catholic, and on Sundays, religion trumps economics: most commercial establishments remain closed on the Lord’s Day.

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The path we took from Munich Central Station to the Marienplatz was at once magical and mercantile, imposing and homey. We went through a castle-like archway and walked along Neuhauser Strasse, Munich’s main shopping street. Large trees, their leaves winter brown, marked the middle of the road; at night, Christmas lights lent the place a fairy-tale glow. The architecture all around us was impressive and almost intimidating, but the warm yellow light and occasional steam coming from stalls selling chestnuts, fruits and various sorts of comfort food made the atmosphere remarkably cozy.

I loved it.

mun_4On the advice of a Dutch backpacker we met over breakfast at our hostel, we joined a half-day tour that started at the Marienplatz and explored places of interest around the city center. We craned our necks in fascination as the puppets of the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) glockenspiel performed the same play they have been performing for centuries. We stood at the Odeonsplatz and gazed thoughtfully down the square, imagining the Nazi soldiers who once stood there, arms outstretched in stiff salute. We popped by the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, a world-renowned beer hall, and discussed the different types of beer in the city, including which one was particularly favored by the former Pope. We entered various churches: the Frauenkirche, Theatinerkirche, Michaeliskirche – where we heard Mass later that day – and Peterskirche. The latter had a tower, the Alter Peter, which we climbed after the tour for a magnificent view of the city. And finally: the Viktualienmarkt, where we wolfed down heavenly German sausages chased by a pint of ice-cold beer.

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As always, there was still so much to see and simply no time to see them all. We found ourselves, too soon, back in Central Station, waiting for the night train to Rome. As I bought a buttery pretzel for the journey, I remembered how unenthusiastic I’d been at the prospect of visiting Munich. The regret I felt then at leaving so much of the city unexplored was perhaps only fittingly contradictory.

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© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. An earlier version of this post was published in this blog last April 2014.

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7 countries in 18 days: A sample European itinerary

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What do you do if you’ve got 18 days in Europe and want to see a little bit of everything?

See a little bit of everything!

7 countries, 9 cities in 18 days. (Well, it’s actually 5 countries, 1 city-state, and 1 principality, but the latter two are technically countries, and “7 countries” somehow makes it a bit easier to justify the price of the plane ticket.)

Specifically, this itinerary will take you to France (Paris and Nice), Italy (Rome and Venice), Germany (Munich), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), and Belgium (Brussels, but only for a few hours), plus the Vatican City and Monaco (also only a couple of hours). It definitely won’t let you live like a local — for that, you should spend all 18 days in only 1 or 2 places. Instead, this itinerary is more like taking the tourist bus on your first day in a new place: it lets you get a glimpse of each place of interest, and from those initial glimpses, you can decide where you would like to spend more time next time.

Here’s the 18-day itinerary I followed back in 2014:

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains

Favorite moments from the trip:

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If you’ve only got 10 days in Europe, try this itinerary instead.

Happy travels!

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7 countries in 18 days: A sample European itinerary
Created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 



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Catching the Tail End of the Holidays in Munich

Munich, 2014

Munich, 2014

The lines of buildings, blunted inferiorly by the curves of human heads; roofs, some pointed, some flat; tourists and locals; darkness and light. In this holiday scene at the Marienplatz, multiple elements converge and complement.

 

We arrived in Munich too late to catch the Christmas market, but there was still plenty of prevailing holiday cheer. I especially loved strolling down the Neuhauser Strasse at night, soaking in the atmosphere created by festive lights and cheerful crowds. There was so much that was unfamiliar — the cold, the near-bare trees, the coats and boots and beanies and gloves — and yet it seemed like I had happily fallen into a familiar soup.

Where do you spend your holidays?

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Catching the Tail End of the Holidays in Munich” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

 

Europe for the Heartbroken: 7 Perfect Places for Healing from a Broken Heart (3/7)

(This may or may not be based on personal experience.)

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Munich

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Munich is a good place to get drunk to think about two things: letting go and letting live.

After a heartbreak, you can find yourself at a loss to comprehend what just happened. One minute everything seems to be going perfectly; the next minute everything seems to be breaking down, just getting worse and worse no matter how much you try to make things right, and then suddenly…it’s over. And it’s hard to wrap your head around what happened and why it happened — the whole thing just seems so needlessly cruel and unfair and senseless.

A lot of cruel, unfair and senseless stuff have happened in Munich too. It actually feels a bit blasphemous to tie the two things up: heartbreak does pale in comparison to the Holocaust. The orders for the Kristallnacht were issued in Munich. The Dachau concentration camp is only 10 miles away. Imagine being imprisoned, tortured, and gassed just because you happened to have been born into a particular race — as if, before we’re born, we get assigned our race by merit! It just doesn’t make sense and is utterly heartless.

serenity

The fact is, sometimes there’s just no rational explanation for why awful things happen. You can dwell on it — you can keep on saying “I don’t understand,” “what did I do wrong?” — but those questions probably don’t have satisfactory answers anyway. At some point you have to realize that the past won’t change no matter how much you try to make sense of it; you won’t get justice; the world won’t suddenly become right again. If you’re going to make your horrible experience at least count for something, you have to try to disentangle yourself from it, dust yourself up, and move on. Try to let go — not to forget, and not necessarily to forgive either, at least not right away. But just realize there’s nothing you can do about the past; just decide, for your own sake, to get out from the quicksand of grief and anger.

Let go…and let live.

Let live because no one is beyond redemption. Germany, from the rubble of two world wars, has now become a force its erstwhile enemies rely on to do things like bailing out other countries’ economies and putting pressure on Putin. Such are the twists of life. Even the worst people, given a chance, could yet become decent human beings and do good things that perhaps only they can do.

So as nice as it might be to imagine certain people suffering twice (or ten thousand times, we’re not choosy) as much pain as they’ve caused you, the reality is: that still won’t change the past. That still won’t erase the hurt. Their suffering won’t benefit you. Truly. Okay, maybe just a little, but it’s a temporary high. What does last is the peace that you get from eventually saying: ah, forget it.

(Or in the esteemed Hagrid’s words: “Ah, go boil yer heads, both of yeh.” You’ll notice Hagrid didn’t actually boil Aunt Petunia’s and Uncle Vernon’s heads. They weren’t worth it.)

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What lasts is the peace that comes from eventually — however grudgingly, as long as it’s sincerely — wishing them well. Acknowledging that while their part in your story has ended, however it ended, their own story goes on. Letting them live that story, however it turns out, while you pursue your own happy ending. Maybe even forgiving them if you feel able to. After all, forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re okay with what they did. Forgiveness just means letting go and not giving them the power to hurt you anymore.

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And, yes, Munich is a good place to get drunk. (But please don’t do anything stupid.)

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Amsterdam

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Europe for the Heartbroken: 7 Perfect Places for Healing from a Broken Heart (3/7)” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.

Munich on My Mind

A view of the Odeonsplatz from the Feldherrnhalle

A view of the Odeonsplatz from the Feldherrnhalle

Standing in this square gave me the shivers.

It was a wet, gloomy day, and I was in Munich, part of a walking tour group that had so far made its way through a winding path from the Marienplatz to Odeonsplatz. I am normally a frugal DIY traveler — out of habit and necessity — and almost never join these tour groups. However, the guy who’d shared our breakfast table at the hostel had recommended this tour: it was on a tips-only basis, he himself had given the guide 5 euros, and I thought, well, I guess I can afford that.

The tour was top-rate; the guide, Jon Wilkes, was brilliant. As he took us through important landmarks within a walkable radius of the Marienplatz, he gave us facts, figures, and amusing anecdotes on everything from Pope Benedict to Adolf Hitler.

Image courtesy of Bundesarchiv, Bild 119-1426 (C-BY-SA-3.0-de)

The Odeonsplatz during the Beer Hall Putsch. Image courtesy of Bundesarchiv, Bild 119-1426 (C-BY-SA-3.0-de)

That last topic, I could imagine, had to be handled with some care. Munich had played a not insignificant role in the rise and reign of Hitler. The Nazis even referred to Munich as Hauptstadt der Bewegung, or Capital of the Movement. The Beer Hall Putsch had happened here. Hitler’s early coup attempt had failed, technically, but his subsequent trial was the soapbox from which he brought his ideas to national attention.

It was also in Munich, at a dinner commemorating the Beer Hall Putsch, that Hitler received news of the death of the German diplomat who had been shot 2 days earlier by a Polish Jew. What happened next was a horrible game-changer: the Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, so named because the streets of Munich and many other cities all throughout Germany had glittered that night with shards from the smashed windows of Jewish homes and establishments. There had been blood and fire as well, and grief unimaginable.

As I stood there at the Odeonsplatz, I could imagine Hitler standing at the Feldherrnhalle: marshalling his troops, his voice ringing throughout the square, captivating, convincing. I could imagine thousands of soldiers saluting him stiffly, their eyes alight with fervor or glazed with fear, ready or resigned to do whatever was asked of them. I shivered because that moment, more than anything else, crystallized for me not just the horrors of war or genocide, but the reality that it can sometimes take so little to turn men into animals. Even today.

The Feldherrnhalle, Munich (January 2014)

The Feldherrnhalle, Munich (January 2014)

Munich on My Mind” was created by LSS for travel site Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved.