As international travel continues to bounce back this 2023, more foreign destinations are making their way into Pinoy travellers’ bucket lists. However, one of the most, if not the most, challenging parts of planning for an overseas trip is applying for a visa. While there are tons of exciting visa-free destinations for Philippine passport holders, a trip to the United States or Europe has its own unique charm. Here, we break down some of the advantages of travelling on a US Visa vs a Schengen Visa, so you know which to apply for first!
Also read: Your Philippine Passport is the 78th Most Powerful in the World in 2023
All about the US visa and how it works
Ah, there’s nothing quite like the American Dream! From the bustling streets of New York City to the old-town charm of San Francisco, there are different sides to the United States where adventures await.
For Filipino travellers, obtaining a US Visa or B-2 visitor visa allows you to stay for a duration of 180 days (six months) per entry into the United States. However, the visa itself is valid for ten years. Essentially, the US Visa or B-2 visitor visa is for international citizens who wish to enter the United States for leisure, to see family and friends, or for medical treatment.
There are several steps for the US Visa application, but the first step is to figure out which type of visa you’ll be needing for your trip. Do note that each type of US Visa has its own set of requirements and application procedures. For those who wish to apply for a B-2 Visa, here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Complete the online visa application form (Form DS-160) and submit the required documents.
- Pay the visa application fee.
- Schedule an appointment with the embassy or consular office.
- Prepare and check the estimated wait time for the tourist visa interview.
- Attend your visa interview.
- Wait for your visa to be processed.
For more information about the US Visa application process and requirements, click here.
Also read: Third Time’s the Charm: Things I Learned from My First Approved Visa Application
All about the Schengen visa and how it works
Dreaming of travelling to Europe? Well then, Philippine passport holders will be delighted to know that the Schengen Visa (Europe Visa) allows travelling freely to 27 member countries in the Schengen Zone.
There are three types of Schengen Visas: Type A, Type C, and Type D. For leisure trips, you will have to apply for a Type C Visa or a short-stay visa. This short-stay visa lets you stay in the Schengen Zone for up to 90 days over a 180-day period. Once you leave the Schengen Area, your visa will expire, even if the authorised period of stay is not yet over.
Again, it’s important to determine what type of visa you will need before applying. Once you’ve figured that out, you can proceed with the following steps:
- Complete the Schengen Visa application form.
- Schedule your visa appointment with the embassy or consular office.
- Gather all of the required visa application documents and pay the necessary fees.
- Attend the Schengen Visa interview on the day of your appointment.
- Wait for your visa to be processed.
For more information about the Schengen Visa application process and requirements, click here.
US Visa vs Schengen Visa
Now that you know how the US Visa and Schengen Visa works, here’s a better view of their differences:
|US Visa (B-2 Visa)||Schengen Visa (Type C)|
|Entry type:||Multiple entry||Multiple entry|
|Duration of stay:||180 days (six months)||90 days (three months)|
|Validity period:||10 years||Six months to five years|
|Number of destinations:||A total of 30 countries in North and Central America, Asia, Europe, Caribbean, and Oceania||A total of 27 countries in the Schengen Zone|
Note: This table only features the multiple-entry visa type to serve as a guide.
Already have an idea which visa to apply for first? Perhaps it’s about time to tick off some of the places on your bucket list! While we cover leisure travel in this article, it helps to know what your goals and intentions are when visiting international destinations that require a visa. Whichever you decide to do first, obtaining a visa will require a great amount of preparation. After all, you don’t want to waste your time and hard-earned money on a questionable application.
Also read: Citizenship by Investment: Travel to More Countries Without Applying for Visa!
Got any visa application tips you would like to share with us? Drop us a message on our official Facebook page and be sure to tag us on your travel snapshots @tripzillaph. Best of luck!