“If You Don't Know How, Ask Kach Howe” Series #1: Answering Specific Questions about Visa Applications Invitation Letter and Rejections
I’ve been receiving a lot of questions on all my Social Media Accounts from my fellow Pinoys about traveling, visa inquiries, backpacking, cheap hostels, visa applications, visa rejections, etc. I appreciate that you trust me to give a right answer but to be honest, as much as I’d want to, I can’t reply to all of them as I’m very busy with our sailboat life and online work. (Yes mamshies maintaining a blog takes a lot of hard work!)
This is especially if the questions are redundant to the point that I get the same question every single day from 10 different people or when the questions are already answered in one of my blog posts. This happens a lot and I swear it’s time consuming especially if there’s a lot of follow up questions.
Good news is I’ve found a way to address this issue. I’m now starting a Question and Answer Series where I will answer the questions that I’ve been getting a lot (para isang sagutan na lang dahil mahina ang kalaban haha). So this is the first series of questions that I’ll be answering and take note that these are ‘real questions’ asked to me. Hindi po to imbento o kathang isip lang. Take note that these are asked by Filipinos so the answers will be applicable for Filipinos. So for our first series, I’ll be answering these:
1. “Kach, my friend will be giving me an invitation letter to travel around the Schengen Area. Will this be enough to get a visa?”
2. “My US Visa was denied! What should I do?”
3. “My Schengen/ UK/ Canada/ Australia Visa was denied! What should I do?? Can I apply again?”
4. “How much money should I have to start an Around the World Journey?”
Q1: “Kach, my friend will be giving me an invitation letter to travel around the Schengen Area. Will this be enough to get a visa?”
A1: No. One of the hardest visas to obtain for Filipinos is the Schengen Visa so definitely, an invitation letter is not enough. I can imagine them saying: Ano kayo?? Sinuswerte?? If they know how to speak in Tagalog haha.
These are the primary documents that you need to apply for a Schengen Visa:
1) Duly Filled and Signed Application Form;
2) Passport photos in conformity with the photo specifications;
3) Duly filled and signed document checklist; (Please visit the website of the country where you will apply or VFS Global, if applicable, to get a copy of #1 and #3); and
4) Original passport/s and photocopies of each page with entry/exit stamps;
5) Cover letter addressed to the consul (read here how I can help you with the cover & invitation letter)
6) Travel detail which includes the flight reservation and hotel reservations (need not be paid yet, so it is recommended that you just make a hotel reservation instead of staying at a friend’s house for purposes of visa application), as well as your day-to-day itinerary;
7) Bank Certification AND Bank Statement (please take note that these are entirely different documents) with the receipt for the last 6 months. If you’re not the one paying for your trip, then submit an Affidavit of Support or Invitation Letter, as well as the financial documents of your sponsor instead; (READ MORE: Our guide on SHOW MONEY)
8) NSO Birth Certificate or Marriage Contract, if applicable (Preferably in Red Ribbon Authentication); and
9) Travel insurance that covers the entire duration of your intended stay with minimum coverage EUR 30,000.
In addition, you need to submit these supporting documents (only if applicable to you):
1) For Employees- Certificate of Employment with monthly salary, approved leave of absence and income tax return.
2) For Self-Employed including Digital Nomads- Business Registration for the current and previous year and Income Tax Return (That’s why you need to register with the BIR! Income Tax Return is very important!).
3) For Students- Enrollment Certificate from your school, approved leave of absence (if applicable), and Affidavit of Support from parents (preferably in Red Ribbon Authentication).
4) For minors- The minor’s birth certificate; The application form has to be signed by both parents; In cases where one parent has full custody over the child, the family court order has to be attached; Certified copies of ID/passport of both parents; and the notarized parental authorization signed by both parents or guardians is attached if the minor is to be travelling alone; and
5) For Household Helpers and Personal Assistants- A Special List of Requirements is provided. Please visit the website of the country where you will apply or VFS Global, if applicable to get a copy of the special list of requirements as it might vary.
Note: You must show deep rootedness in the Philippines. If you have land/condominium unit titles, car registration certificates, lease contracts, etc. it is highly recommended that you attach them too.
For complete details and step-by-step guide. Please see: How To Apply For Tourist Visa With Your Philippines Passport.
Q2: “My US Tourist Visa was denied! What should I do?”
A2: Relax! It’s not the end of the world (nor the end of your travel journey). Find out where you went wrong. Try to recall how your interview went, what things you said and the details you have on your application form. It should be there somewhere and it’s your duty to find out because they will not tell you the exact reason for denial. Then from there, try to fix it and RE-APPLY. (Yes, you can always re-apply anytime)
I know a lot of people who got their visa after 3 or 4 attempts so don't give up kapag rejected ka na! Usually, what could help is if there's a "significant change" on your situation, whether it’s family, economic, or social. Eg. You didn’t have a source of income then, but yayamanin kana ngayon because may business ka na or employed kana. Kung dati wala kang stamp sa passport pero this time galing ka na Vietnam, Thailand etc. (travel ka muna sa Asian countries nearby). Or you were single when you first applied, but now you’re married with a man who has a good paying job. Ganyan. If wala, then there’s a very slim chance that the Consul will change his mind. Or ayusin mo yung mga sagot sa application form mo. Dapat pasok na pasok sa banga ang mga sagot mo! (Read: How To Handle Tourist Visa Rejection, How To Prove Deep rootedness In Your Country)
Q3: “My Schengen/ UK/ Canada/ Australia Visa was denied! What should I do?? Can I apply again?”
A3: It depends. Anong visa ba yan? Saang bansa? Anong documents ang sinubmit mo? Magkano ba ang show money mo? I’ve been receiving a lot of questions like this without them even telling me about the background of their application. So imagine kung gaano katagal ang pag-uusap na kinakailangan dyan because I have to ask so many questions just to be able to answer this question.
So there is no accurate answer for this because it really is a case-to-case basis. It depends on several factors like the country where you applied, your travel history, as well as the documents you’ve submitted. Some even consider your health, criminal record, and your family background. In this separate blog post, I have discussed this thoroughly. As in thoroughly! Mapa USA, Japan, China, Korea, Schengen, Australia, Canada, o UK pa yan! Sinulat ko dyan kung ano pwede mong gawin to avoid visa rejection, kung ano ang possible reasons for denial, and the remedy you can take if ever ma deny ka. Again, it’s not the end of the world so wag tayo magpaka lugmok pag na deny. Try and try until you succeed dapat!
Q4: “How much money should I have to start an Around the World Journey?”
A4: It’s easy to start as long as may kaperahan ka. The most difficult part is maintaining this kind of lifestyle. Mabilis maubos ang pera. Di mo namamalayan minsan na naka ubos ka na pala ng $100 in a day especially when you’re having fun.
There is no precise answer to this. It really depends on what kind of traveler you are. Can you sleep in backpacker hostels where you’ll share a room with up to 10 other people? Are you okay sharing the same bathroom with strangers? Can you eat the food sold by sidewalk vendors? Can you drive a motorcycle on your own? If yes, then you could be a backpacker. If that’s the case then having $2,000 could be enough to start off a 2-month trip around Southeast Asian Countries where life is generally cheap.
Otherwise, if you can’t sleep or travel comfortably unless you’re in a 3-star hotel and eat at restaurants, then you probably need to have at least $5,000 to start in South East Asian Countries. Note that this is just my rough estimate. It will really depend on where you go, what mode of transportation you take, where you eat, and also if you drink a lot of alcohol.
Remember, it’s not easy to maintain this kind of lifestyle. Hindi sya basta basta! I’m not discouraging you ha. In fact, I’m encouraging you as the world is very beautiful and the journey is amazing but of course you have to be ready both physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. Having a passive income or having a job you can take anywhere with you is very important. Here are 6 Steps You Have To Take Before Quitting Your Job To Travel, 9 Ways To Save Money On Your Travel, and 10 Cool Travel Hacks To Save You Money. Make sure to read these before you decide to take the big step :)
That’s all for now! If you have any further questions about all of these, then feel free to avail of my Travel Coaching Services where I can give you an in-depth explanation and help which is crafted especially for you. Happy and safe travels everyone! ♡
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