I finally got my Schengen visa three weeks after I filed my application at the VFS Austria Visa Application Center in Cebu. The Austrian Embassy Manila also represents Lithuania so I applied for a visa there, or to be more specific, via the VFS Austria Visa Application Center. The requirements are the same as when applying for visa for travel to Austria and booking for appointment is done online through the VFS website.
I picked the visa center in Cebu since it is much closer coming from Davao. I booked an appointment for 8:00AM on a Monday last May. I traveled to Cebu Sunday afternoon and stayed at the New Era Pension Inn which was only a few minutes’ walk away from the Keppel building where the VFS Global office was located. I was happy with the accommodation and would stay there again if I have to apply for a visa through VFS Global again.
Monday morning I left the inn about 40 minutes before my scheduled appointment. I was so glad I did because I got lost on my way there. I was told by one of the staff of the inn to go straight, turn left, and just go straight until I reach the brown building. I followed the instruction to the letter and have been walking for over 15 minutes when I realized that there was no brown building in sight as far as I can see. Thankfully, I passed by a gasoline station and saw a group of people chatting. I asked them for directions and they helpfully told me how to get there. It turned out that I should have taken another left turn only a few meters after that last “just go straight” initial instruction I got.
So I retraced my steps and spent over 10 minutes walking to Keppel Building. I arrived a little before 8:00AM, signed my name on the appointment sheet handed to me at the reception, handed a number, and was told to turn off my phone and not to use it while I am inside.
I was number three so I spent more than two hours waiting for my turn. From what I observed, processing time for each of the two applicants before me was about an hour or so.
It was my first time to try applying for a visa through a VFS application center. My previous experiences have been directly with the countries’ embassies in Manila. I did not know what to expect. So I was happy that it was a fairly good experience. I realized that the reason the whole process stretch to at least 45 minutes was because the man in charge of receiving the applications was, not surprisingly, meticulously checking them. I also like how the person was being detached and professional without being rude.
After checking all the requirements, he proceeded to ask me a set of questions that was on the document where he also wrote down my answers. The next step was the biometric fingerprinting and finally I was asked to pay the following fees:
- Php3,240.00 – Visa application fee
- Php2,710.00 – Logistics + courier + SMS fees
- TOTAL: Php5,950.00
Some thoughts about the visa application and the requirements:
- It was really convenient that there was a visa application center in Cebu. I hope that VFS Global will also set up a center here in Davao to make it easier and more cost-efficient for applicants coming from Mindanao.
- Personal bank statement balance should cover six months unlike the three months requirement for visa application at the Embassy of Belgium Manila
- I had to submit the travel insurance with the requirements unlike before at the Belgium embassy when they only required applicants to submit a copy by email before they released the passport with the visa in it
- For the second time, I got my confirmed flight reservation from here. And once again, I was happy with how quickly they sent it to me
VFS Global Cebu
Location: 503, Keppel Building, Cardinal Rosales Avenue Cor Samar Loop, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu