Schengen Visa from Spain Visa Center Riyadh

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:

  1. Check http://www.vfsglobal.com/spain/saudiarabia to know the step-by-step procedures and all details. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. 
  5. 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.
  6. 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.  
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Posted in Filipino traveler, OFW, philippines, riyadh, saudi arabia, Schengen visa, Tourist visa application, Travel, Visa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Christmas at USA capital

Some pics i took while touring Washinton DC on 21/12/2014

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Posted in Filipino traveler, OFW, riyadh, saudi arabia, US Visa | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prague, surprisingly great city

Photos taken by me during my solo 4 days stay in Prague last July 2014. A surprisingly great European city I’ve been to, rich in culture, picturesque architecture, nice people, home to the best beer, where the biggest castle complex in world is located, hundreds of churches although 80% of the population are atheist. I enjoyed this city as I love European architecture. Don’t ever miss this city when you visit Europe.

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Charles Bridge

view of Prague Castle from Charles Bridge

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Church inside Prague Castle

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government palace inside Prague Castle

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view from Prague Castle

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the great city of Prague, seen from Prague Castle

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Apartment Pushkin, very friendly staff, room was nice and clean, walking distance from all tourist sites of the Old Town, I had a great stay, check them out http://www.apartmentspushkin.com/en/

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Mala Strana

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Old Town Square

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view from my hotel window, I stayed at Apartment Pushkin located at Husova Praha 01, part of the Old Town, walking distance from all tourist spots

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part of Prague Castle

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interior of Church inside Prague Castle

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Thomas, my personal guide in the castle (because I was the only one who availed of the guided tour). He’s also my photographer 😉

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During my last day while waiting for my afternoon flight, i just sit on one of the corner of the bridge to kill time by people watching

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Hakuba, Nagano, Japan

Some pics taken during my trip to Hakuba autumn 2013.DSC_0335.JPG
Autumn snow at Hakuba mountain

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The chalets, not a typical japan japan scene

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We met a 90+ old japanese woman during our hike

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Perfect weather for hiking, its the only day that the sun showed up.

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Early autumn snow

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Me

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The lake (happo pond) a rewarding view after a tiring hike

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This is where we stayed, very homie atmosphere, run by a swiss guy Marcus with his japanese wife Kyoko, I highly recommend it B&B koyuki http://www.koyuki-hakuba.com

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Time to go down town

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Autumn scene in Hakuba

Posted in Hakuba, Japan, Nagano, OFW, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seoul, South Korea

Here are some photos I took when I visited Seoul for 3 days (13-15 October 2013)

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Dresden, Germany

Late post of my photos taken on July 2014 at Dresden , GermanyIMG_3704.JPG

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Zwinger palaceIMG_3750.JPG

Brühl’s  terraceIMG_3727.JPG

Fuerstenzug (parade of rulers)IMG_3754.JPG

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CebuPacificAir vs. Philippine Airlines

CebuPacificAir is known to offer cheap promo fare for domestic and international flights. But don’t be deceived, you have to add up for meals and checked-in baggage so basically their “cheap” airfare is actually just slightly different than PAL’s airfare. PAL offers slightly expensive fare but it already comes with meals and checked baggage for both domestic and international flights. I HIGHLY don’t recommend flying CebuPac to and from Naga City in Bicol as they always cancel their flights in the last minute even for a simple rain or even due to early sunset. Based from my personal experience, they don’t care about the urgency of your travel, they don’t care if you spend php300 for taxi to and from airport and city center each way, you can’t even refund the terminal fee even if your flight is cancelled, they don’t care if you don’t have somewhere to sleep or eat while waiting for your next rescheduled available flight. Naga airport is very small, it can only accommodate ATR type of aircraft and the runway doesn’t have lights thus it only relies on day light. I wonder why Naga City government, with its continuous progress, known internationally for its wake boarding and Caramoan Islands, cannot have a runway with lights, cannot expand and improve its airport despite of increased terminal fees. I usually go to Bicol for maximum of 3 days just to visit my grandma. I always book a roundtrip flights via cebupac and my return flight is always got cancelled due to rain, I always end up going back to Manila by bus. While PAL’s flight continues, CebuPac cancels. As an OFW, I also don’t recommend CebuPac because the fare doesn’t include meals and baggage allowance. You have to pay extra for it. I compared my last travel on 01-10Oct2014 airfares, I got ticket Riyadh-Manila-Riyadh for SAR990 from PAL while CebuPac for SAR2500+. Although PAL’s aircraft A330-300 used in Riyadh-Manila flights with crowded seats (3-3-3 configuration instead of 2-4-2) with no entertainment system, you have to bring your own or you can rent an iPad to watch movies, play games, listen to music for a fee or use the wifi internet for a fee, there’s “premium economy seat” option for a higher fare but the only difference is they will not seat another passenger next to you on the front rows of the plane, PAL is a better choice than CebuPac for its non-stop flight with free baggage and meals, and cheaper airfare piloted by a more experienced pilots. Hopefully PAL would assign a better aircraft type on this route for a core comfortable flight experience.

Posted in A330-300, air travel, airlines, ATR, bicol, CebuPacific, Filipino traveler, manila, naga city, OFW, PAL, philippines, riyadh, saudi arabia, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment