Hubby and I have wanted to go to Germany for so long (since 2011) to visit our family, but something always comes up to cancel our plans. However, “good things come to those who wait” and finally, finally, we’ll be pushing through with our trip next month. Hurray!
Although I had applied for a Schengen visa before, that was way back in 2005 and my application was part of our group for the World Youth Day; no personal appearance was asked of me then. This year was the first time we would apply without any help (i.e. travel agency or guide) so I made sure I gathered all the information I needed to apply for our visas.
All the basic things you need to know can be found here (including the forms) but allow me to share what we did so you have an idea about the process.
First thing we had to do was make sure our passports and visas were at least 90 days valid from the first date of our trip. It was a good thing I did my research back in November last year because that’s when I found out Caila’s and my passports were expiring in April and June 2014. Once we received our new passports, I realized that my visa was expiring in July. Fortunately, when I explained the situation to my manager, he understood completely and instructed our PRO to renew my visa 4.5 months prior to when it was due.
Finally all of our passports and visas were valid. Since we weren’t going to Europe as tourists (meaning we knew people there and were being invited to visit), they had to send us a Formal Obligation (“Verpflichtungserklärung” in German) as part of the requirements. We had sent copies of our passports to them in December, and we received the document in March. Once we received the Formal Obligation, that’s when we booked our appointment online. We had to pay a total of Dhs411 for the VFS Service Fee which was automatically charged to Hubby’s credit card.
That done, we started gathering the rest of the documents we needed, and on the 25th of March, Hubby and I headed to VFS in Wafi City with all of these in hand:
• Completed Application forms
• Signed Instruction forms
• Original passports with UAE Residence Visas
• Original Formal Obligation
• Original Employment certificates
• Bank statements of the past 3 months
• Flight booking
• 2 Photographs each (white background)
• Overseas medical insurance
• Photocopies of our passports, visas, and the Formal Obligation
• Printed copy of the Appointment Schedule
There weren’t that many people applying so we didn’t have to wait long before our number was called. However, as there were 4 applications in our group (Hubby’s, mine, Caila’s, Sophie’s), it took the staff almost an hour to sort everything out. Caila and Sophie are below 6 years old, so we didn’t need to bring them along for personal appearance. However, we did have to complete a couple more forms (which the staff provided) as their parents. After she had made sure the documents were in order, we waited for a few minutes and then another staff took our fingerprints. And once that was done, we were given our passport copies with a receipt of all the fees we paid for that day:
• Visa Processing: Dhs300 × 2 (Caila’s and Sophie’s applications were free!)
• SMS Service: Dhs5 × 4
• Courier Service: Dhs30 × 4
We were told it would take at least 2 weeks, but to our surprise, we received our passports on the 2nd of April…just 8 days after we applied. Yaaaay!