Earlier this year, while I’m still on holiday in the US, I’m already thinking where to go on my next trip which is going to be during Eid Al Fitr 2015, I have decided to visit Spain and Belgium this time. One of my Pinoy friend wants to travel with me and it’s going to be his first time applying for Schengen visa (he doesn’t have any previous significant visa stamp on his passport, although he already traveled to Turkey, South Korea, Qatar for tourism). We decided to apply together, here is what we actually did:
- Check http://www.vfsglobal.com/spain/saudiarabia to know the step-by-step procedures and all details.
- Booked our appointment on 05/05/15 at 8:10AM, print the appointment confirmation letter and bring it on your submission date. Check the appointment availability atleast 3 weeks prior to your intended appointment date. Our actual travel date starts on 16/07/15 so applying atleast 90 days prior to your intended travel date is a must.
- Completed the following documents prior to our appointment date: Schengen visa application form, pasted 1photo (3x4cm) in it, employment letter attested by Chamber of Commerce stating the phrase “no objection to travel” from my employer, exit/re-entry visa, 6 months bank statement stamped by SABB, copy of my Iqama, copy of my Bupa travel insurance, copy of my credit cards, copy of my passport and previous Schengen & US visa, hotel bookings in Madrid Paris Ghent Brussels as these are the cities i plan to visit, copy of my actual paid ticket RUH-MAD-CDG-RUH (I already paid my ticket in advance to save up more as ticket goes more expensive as travel date is near) although flight booking will do, introduction letter stating why i want to visit with details of my trip and my daily itinerary.
- The visa center is located at Dove Center at Um Al Hamam near Panda. Etimad is the company authorised agent by VFS Global in KSA, it’s a one stop shop for visa applicants for Schengen countries, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore etc., no need to go to the Embassies in Diplomatic Quarter. We arrive before 8am and the staff just started to arrive at 8am. 95% of its staff were from India. At the reception they will check appointment letter and all your documents and remove the documents they dont need before they give you a token with number. Then go to the section designated for Spain and wait until your number is called. I was the first applicant that day 05/05/15 and the Indian staff who checked my documents seems not happy with his job, no smile, no courtesy. Ater checking all my documents he said “where is your flight booking from madrid to paris and the train tickets to/from brussels?” I told him i already stated on my introduction letter that i will book it when my visa is approved. He said “no I will not accept your application unless you show me flight and train booking, go back here before 9:30am”. I said OK i’l be back then.
- I waited until 9am before the travel agency on the same building opens up for us to get flight booking MAD-CDG. We paid SR100 each for that simple booking, but train ticket between paris-brussels is not possible as you cannot book in advance and the system on that travel agency is not working for train tickets. We went back at the visa Spain section and the grouchy Indian guy told me to go to family premium appointment section. This time the staff who check my documents was a Saudi woman who is polite and courteous eventhough i can only see her eyes (she’s wearing niqab). It was fast with no further remarks about the need of train tickets. I paid my visa and avail of the courier service for the return of my passport to my office address (SR370 total paid). As i had my Schengen visa last year were I already had my biometrics done, theres no need for another finger print scan this year.
- We applied Tuesday 05/05/15 and got our passports back with Schengen visa on Thursday 07/05/15. Very quick processing, muchas gracias Embahada del EspaÑa. Also I was so happy that my friend got approved for his first time Schengen visa application.