Before deciding to write this blog, I have seen several other similar blogs regarding Shengen Visa application for travel to Italy. Mine would be not different other than being specific that I am a Filipino national residing in Saudi Arabia, applying for Schengen Visa at the Italian Consulate in Jeddah, together with my wife and two kids. Our intended travel is November 2 to 9, 2011 coinciding the Hajj Eid Holidays. This is a birthday treat for Sophie as well, celebrating her 6th birthday.
Background: We have been planning this trip since last year, and actually our preferred destination is Paris, France. We were told that it is easier to get a visa at French Embassy/Consulate than any other Schengen member states. Unfortunately, the cost of ticket is very prohibitive at SR 12,000 (for the 4 of us, round trip) via Saudia Airlines and quite more via Air France. This posted rate was a couple of weeks ago, while as of this posting the current rate is from SR 17,000 to SR 25,000 on the same date of our preferred travel. To cut the background short, we got our ticket to Rome, Italy for less than SR 7,000 (current posted rate is about SR 10,000).
Note: We are still on the process of applying for the Schengen Visa, and it would be very frustrating (and waste of time and money) on our part if the visa will be denied.
Anyhow, the following are the requirements we are completing as advised by our company’s liaison officers / service center:
Application Form: checked!
The application forms retrieved at the Italian website were filled in with the required information.
Update: Our liaison officer returned my application explaining that I have to use the application form from the General Consulate of Italy in Jeddah. I used the application form downloaded from the link with the Riyadh Embassy letterhead.
Original Passport and Copy: checked!
Not sure and no mention on what pages are required, I copied the entire passport.
Update: I submitted only two pages: the page containing our passport details and the page containing my Saudi Arabian work visa
Iqama Copy: checked!
Iqama is an Arabic word which means “Residence Permit”, this is our identification here in Saudi Arabia.
Exit and Re-Entry Visa: On process…
Of course we also need exit and reentry visa from Saudi Arabian government, the visa is already being processed by our service center. I applied for multiple exit/reentry valid for 1 year.
Update: I was granted with 1 year multiple exit/reentry visa (though technically it was only valid for eleven months, coinciding the expiration date of my iqama.)
Passport Validity (6 months) with 3 Blank Pages: checked!
Self explanatory, and complied with.
Identification Certificates: checked!
This document is always readily available online at our portal. It is actually a certificate of employment stating my salary, job title, date of employment, employment ID and other relevant information.
Bank Statement: checked!
I got the bank statement last October 1, covering the period from July 1, to October 1, 2011. This document I am not comfortable because my account funds movement is erratic, while having a constant flow of incoming salary.
Two 3×4 photos: checked!
Though I hope the processor would not be so strict on the photos, we have some minor deviation if the guidelines will be strictly followed. Their own guidelines are conflicting anyway, with the sample photos they had presented.
Travel Medical Insurance: checked!
I have to get a “Schengen Travel Plan” from my bank which is valid specifically for the duration of our travel. Incidentally the health care program between my employer and BUPA Arabia will expire on October 31, 2011. Unfortunately they can only issue a new certificate after that date. I still attached the certificates from BUPA Arabia, with an explanation letter from my employer stating the case — and that our coverage is continuous and unhindered.
Visa fees amount of SR380: standby…
The amount is per passport and is equivalent to the visa fees payable to the Italian Embassy/Consulate.
Update: The visa fee for my 8-year old son is supposed to be only SR250 (SR170 visa fee + SR80 service fee), while visa fee is free of charge for my 5-year old daughter (though SR80 service fee is still collectible)
Trip details (ticket and hotel booking): checked!
As mentioned earlier, we got our air ticket from Saudia Airlines. While for the hotel we got a self-catered apartment from http://www.sleepinitaly.com which costs us Euro 119 per night (Euro 883 for 7 nights) plus Euro 35 for the “final cleaning”. I was required to deposit Euro 88 (through my credit card) and is required to settle the full amount in cash upon arrival (taxes, linen, towels, utilities included in the price).
I hope we can satisfy the visa section of the Italian Consulate in Jeddah with all the documentary requirements we have. If not, it would be a frustration in epic proportions.
I.T.A.L.Y. = I Trust And Love You — every school grader during my time know this acronym. LOL.