Get A Multiple-Entry Visa to Korea Without Submitting Financial Documents

Are you a BPI or BDO cardholder? A promo — recently extended by the Korean embassy to 2017 — makes it easier for you to get a multiple-entry Korean visa without submitting an ITR or bank certificate.

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The Embassy of the Republic of Korea announced last November 16, 2016 that it was extending its visa promo for the following cardholders:

  • BDO Gold
  • BDO Elite
  • BPI Gold Master Card
  • BPI SkyMiles Platinum Master Card
  • BPI Amore Visa Platinum
  • BPI Gold Express Teller Debit Card

Under the promo, visa applicants who have any of the cards listed above will not have to submit a bank certificate and income tax return (ITR). They will also be eligible for a multiple-entry visa to Korea valid for at least 3 years (although the embassy reserves the right to grant only a single entry visa upon the decision of the consul-in-charge).

Note: Employment certificate / business permit and documents other than Bank Certificate and ITR are still required.

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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

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

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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How to get a Japanese visa in Cebu, Manila or Davao (it’s very easy!)

Although this article is mainly about how to get a Japanese visa in Cebu, Manila, or Davao — because these are the cities in the Philippines where Japan’s accredited agencies are located — the requirements and procedure are the same for anyone anywhere else in the Philippines. Those not living in the 3 cities mentioned above simply have to go through an agency affiliated with the officially accredited agencies. Scroll down to learn more.

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Getting a visa to visit Japan is a very simple process. You only need to:

  1. Gather your requirements; and
  2. Submit them anytime to an accredited agency — no need to make an appointment, no need to go to the Japanese embassy for an interview or biometrics.

There is a Japanese embassy in Manila, as well as consular offices in Cebu and Davao; however, starting in 2007, they no longer accept direct visa applications (except in special cases). Instead, visa applicants should just submit their requirements to any of the agencies accredited by the Japanese embassy (see list of accredited agencies below).

Moreover, a Japanese visa is completely free for all Filipinos. Applicants only need to pay the handling fee (usually around PHP 1,000) of the agency processing the visa application.

There were rumors a few months ago that Filipinos might no longer need a visa to visit Japan. This is not true (not yet anyway). What Japan did was to relax the requirements for a multiple-entry visa. You can check if you qualify for a multiple-entry visa HERE. The requirements below are for a single entry tourist visa.

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How to Get A Schengen Visa Through the French Embassy (UPDATED 2017)

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The French embassy in the Philippines has entrusted processing of Schengen visa applications to VFS Global. Here’s what you need to know about the current procedure for getting a Schengen visa through the French embassy.

See if you are one of the people allowed to apply directly to the French embassy HERE.

Want to know about my personal experience applying for a Schengen visa at the French embassy? Read this article.

Basic steps

  1. Prepare your documents.
  2. Schedule an appointment with VFS.
  3. Go to the visa application center on your appointment schedule to submit your documents and have your biometrics taken.
  4. Wait for the result.
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When should you apply?

You can only submit your visa application within 90 days from your date of departure. For example, if you are leaving the Philippines on August 1, 2016, you can submit your visa application from May 3, 2016 onwards.

Things to take into account as you decide when to apply:

  • The processing time for a short stay visa is 48 hours from the time the complete application is received at the French Embassy, while the processing time for a long stay visa is 15 working days receipt at the French Embassy. If you are asked to submit additional documents, processing time may take up to 4 to 8 weeks.
  • In 2015, the French embassy received almost 20,000 visa applications! (That’s actually why they decided to get the help of VFS for visa application processing.) Don’t take it for granted that there will be an appointment slot available anyday.


Is personal appearance necessary?

Yes! You will need to have your photo and fingerprints taken.


Will there be an interview at the French embassy?

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How to get a Schengen visa for Poland in 4 simple steps

The World Youth Day will be held in Krakow, Poland this year. In response to a reader inquiry, I’ve put together a simple step-by-step guide for getting a Schengen visa to visit Poland.


In the Philippines, Schengen visa applications for Poland are handled by the embassy of the Netherlands.* Thus, many of the steps and requirements are similar to the ones for getting a Schengen visa at the Dutch embassy.

* There is no Polish embassy in the Philippines. Rather, the Polish embassy in Kuala Lumpur represents Polish interests in Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, and the Philippines. In the Philippines, there are honorary Polish consulates in Manila, Cebu, and General Santos City, but they do not process visa applications.

You can lodge your visa application no earlier than three months before the start of your intended visit. For example, if you are scheduled to depart for Poland on July 25, you can submit your Schengen visa application from April 25 onwards.

Here are the 4 basic steps to getting a Schengen visa for Poland:

  1. Pay the necessary fees at any Unionbank branch.
  2. One day after payment, book an appointment with the Embassy through VFS.
  3. Go to the embassy on your scheduled appointment and submit your requirements.
  4. Wait for the results.

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Sample Affidavit of Support (for Visa Application)

When I first applied for a Schengen visa, my bank account balance was not impressive at all. I could pay for my trip — I travel frugally, for the most part — but I figured the people at the French embassy would be happier if my father were to guarantee to shoulder part of my expenses. He executed an Affidavit of Support, I got a visa, and the rest you can read here.

People often ask me for a sample affidavit of support — as well as a sample cover letter, a sample itinerary, and so on — so I finally decided to come up with this Schengen Visa Pack:

It’s very cheap — less than the cost of most Starbucks drinks! — and since I’ve so far obtained Schengen visas from the embassies of 3 separate countries, I can honestly say that the documents work. Just try to be as meticulous as you can in putting the requirements together and you’ll have a great shot at a visa.

By the way, the Schengen Visa Pack also contains a PDF copy of The Visa Applicant’s Guide to Show Money. I really recommend that you read it.

I hope everyone reading this gets a visa and that all of you have a great trip. 🙂

Happy travels!

© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. 



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Sample Cover Letter for Schengen Visa Application at the French Embassy

A cover letter is one of the requirements when applying for a Schengen visa at the French embassy. In the letter, you’re supposed to explain the purpose of your trip and your proposed day-to-day itinerary. If you’re applying for a visa and you need some ideas for what to say in the letter, how long the letter should be, et cetera, here’s what my 2011 cover letter looked like:

Slight cheesiness alert

Slight cheesiness alert 😀

The itinerary in this letter is only an overview; I submitted a more detailed one as an attachment.

A sample cover letter is included in our Schengen Visa Pack. Other incredibly helpful contents include:

  • A sample Affidavit of Support, which you can use if someone else, like your parents or your boyfriend, is paying for your trip
  • A detailed itinerary template, which includes a budget column to help you prove financial capability for your trip
  • Tips and things you need to know about “show money” requirements for visas

You can learn more about how to get the Schengen Visa Pack HERE. (We accept payments through Cebuana Lhuiller, PayPal, and BPI deposit/transfer, so it’s very easy and convenient.)

The checklists inside the Schengen Visa Pack are based on the official checklist of the Italian embassy but most Schengen countries have similar requirements anyway so I’m sure you will find them helpful, even if you’re applying at the French or another embassy. (Do make sure that you check with the official embassy/VFS/VIA websites for any new/special requirements they might have.) The sample cover letter, the itinerary template, and the sample Affidavit of Support can definitely be used for any Schengen country.

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Good luck and happy travels!



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© Small-Town Girls, Midnight Trains. All rights reserved. Thanks to Jasmin of Artistitch for the post inspiration!


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