Applying for a Tourist Visa via the Romanian Consulate in Dubai

European Union (EU) is such an interesting place. They have so many member states and of course they are popular in the magazines, blogs, social networking sites and a subject of photography. They offer so many pleasant things to our eyes. From museums, landmarks, theme parks and up to their cuisines.

On the first quarter of 2013, I made up my mind that on August I will apply for a Schengen Visa via the German Consulate. I had booked my appointment and started to save but on June that year the planned was postponed as I am suffering from financial losses due to so many obligations (debts).

As I was browsing the member states of EU’s websites I was caught up with the country Romania. I’ve known this country because of Harry Potter series and I have read in a blog that the visa application is very easy and less documents required. So I decided to try my luck on this country on July 2013. Intended travel is on the 29th September.

 

These are the documents that I have submitted to them:

1. Valid passport (plus a copy of the Information page) – should be at least 6 months valid after the return date from the travel.

2. Valid UAE Residence Permit (plus a copy) – should be at least 3 months valid after the return date from the travel.

3. Passport-size pictures (2 pcs.)

4. Bank Statement – 3 mos. recent bank statement only. In the website, it was mentioned that you should have at least 500 Euros in your account. But when I visited their Consulate there was a flyer saying that you should have at least AED 5,000 (approx. 1000 Euros) in your account. Thank God, I only have AED 5,010 as ending balance that time.

5. Payslips – 3 mos. only. This is an optional requirement. You may or you may not submit it.

6. Flight Reservations – I obtained a confirmed reservation from Qatar Airways. They have a ‘hold booking’ option for 48 hours.

7. Hotel Reservations – I got it from Booking.com. No need to pay any deposits.

8. Travel Insurance – I called my healthcare provider to send me a copy of Insurance Coverage. You may buy this from online too.

9. Itinerary – an optional requirement. I made mine.

10. Application form – filled up and signed

 

Other things to consider:

> Be conscious with the schedule of visa application as the Consulate is not working on a daily basis (i.e. Sundays-Thursdays)

> Come on time and if possible be early. Sometimes you will see too much drama in the office.

> Upon submission of the documents the receiving clerk/officer will ask you if this is your time to apply or not. If you have a valid Schengen Visa and the purpose of travel.

> You need to pay AED 300 for the application and you will be given a receipt. Don’t lose it! You will need to show the receipt upon collection of passport.

> They will inform you as to when you will get your passport. On my case, it took more than a month because of ‘visa printing issues’. Weird!

> The Consulate is in a Villa in Jumeirah 1.

> They don’t need you to submit an NOC. I really don’t know the reason why! But happy much because NOC is quite hard to obtain from your employer.

 

Please take note of their schedule/program.

2014-08-15 18.01.08

 

 

Tadah! My first ever Romanian Visa (European Union format). I’ve requested 5 days only and they have granted me with 15 days. So grateful and happy!

2014-08-15 17.59.55

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Applying for a Schengen Visa via the Royal Dutch Consulate in Dubai

Posting a blog entry after almost two years of absence. Height of laziness maybe! ahahahahah

I want to share our brief yet very memorable experience on applying for a Tourist Schengen Visa via the Dutch Consulate in Dubai. My two workmates and I decided to apply for a Schengen Visa because it is our DREAM….seriously!

Dutch Consulate in Dubai has a visa interview. Yes, a one-on-one interview with the Visa Officer. Questions are very simple and the answers can be found on your application form. The requirements are all same. It should be COMPLETE! Otherwise, they will refused your application. The Visa Officer was like intimidating and I believed she needs to be as her job is tough and critical.

These are the documents that we have submitted in the Consulate:

1. Application Form (should be digitally typed and signed)
2. One recent passport size photo ( Schengen Visa specification)
2. NOC – we’ve also attached a screen grabbed of our approved annual leave dates to support our NOC and luckily they accepted it.
3. Bank Statement (plus a clear photocopy) – 3 mos. only. We’ve attached our payslips for the past 3 mos. In the checklist or in the website it says ‘sufficient’. I want to tell you guys that the word ‘sufficient’ it doesn’t mean that you must have a whooping 5-digit AED ending balance in your account. Make your bank statement realistic and it should coincide with your salary as well. Our salary to be honest is not that big. We saved money for the past 6 months actually but Thank God our visa was approved!
4. Travel Insurance (plus a clear photocopy) – valid for Schengen Area. We’ve purchased it from a well-known insurance company online (prefer not to mention its name. No commercial/ad here).
5. Flight reservation – it should match the intended travel dates in the application form.
6. Hotel reservation – they need to see the word ‘confirmed’ or a hotel voucher mentioning the dates and guest/s names. No need to pay the confirmed flight and hotel reservations. If you have a friend working in the travel agencies they can provide you with these papers. Sometimes ‘free of charge’, sometimes NOT FREE! =))
7. Itinerary – this is an optional requirement but to make your application credible might as well attach this one. I prepared ours. It’s easy! We’ve declared 5 days only in the application form and luckily Dutch government granted us a 30-day Multiple entry Schengen Visa. Happy Happy!!

Other things you need to consider:

> Book an appointment through their website. They will not accept walk-in applicants. I booked our appointment as early as May and selected the July 07 appointment. Our intended travel date is actually on October 02. After booking, print the confirmation.

> Make your documents in-order.

> There might be a possibility that the Visa Officer will ask about the price of flight or hotel reservations and if it is paid or not yet. Give him/her an estimate only. We did not paid yet ours.

> A non-refundable payment for the Visa application is 300 AED (in cash and exact amount only) plus 15 AED for the courier (passport delivery).

> Application submission and interview are on the same day and they will give you an A4-size paper. Usually it will take 10-15 working days (2-3 weeks) but in our case they returned our passports after a week only. They are so fast huh!!!

Tips for the Visa Interview:

1. Be on time! Be there in the Consulate as early as possible or else they won’t admit you! You will be asked to reschedule your appointment.
2. Answer briefly and concisely. Don’t tell lengthy answers. The more you divulge information they will scrutinize you even more.
3. Smile and listen carefully to the questions as it is very tricky. The Visa Officer will ask very obvious things. I guessed they will try to catch you if you are lying or not.
4. Greet and thank them.
5. BE POSITIVE!

Dutch Schengen Visa

United Arab Emirates: Home to more than a hundred nationalities.

If there are countries that starts with letter “U” we only knew of United States of America or simply USA and the United Kingdom (UK). But hold on a second, we still forgot one more and that is the United Arab Emirates. The latter has similarities and differences to those of USA and UK in terms of governance, economy, land area and weather (of course), and so on.

United Arab Emirates is one of the countries that forms the Gulf Cooperation Council or simply the GCC. When we say GCC, we always think of “oil”. Yes! they have tons, tons and tons of oil! Why UAE? Its simply because of a “calling”. It was because of an invitation and encouragement from a family member. Going back to my first post that I thought of something big and that is to go abroad either for tourist or employment, UAE is my employment destination!

Dubai, an emirate of UAE is an all-time flavor of the season and perhaps of the decade. Dubai is a big melting pot of cultures. When we say big its literally big! I arrived in Dubai last March 2008, a week before my 21st birthday. Having a very short experience in a call centre I’ve decided to grab the opportunity to go here, look for a “greener pasture” and start anew. During my first months in Dubai it was not that good but I can say it was memorable. Competition is very tough. It’s not just only you who are looking for that greener pasture but thousands of them. But thanks a lot Allah, I got employed!

I used to disliked Dubai simply because its too different from other world cities. It was “catastrophic”. Congested, noisy, different smell, etc. But all these series-of-unfortunate-events has gone after a year of stay. UAE in my opinion will become the next big apple for most nationalities (Inshallah).

Airline: Cathay Pacific (CX) (CEB-HKG-DXB)

Visa: Visit (60 days)

Hotel: None. I stayed in a “flat”

Time Visited: March  2008

If you are planning to visit the UAE here are the things you should always consider:

Things to do/see/visit:

  • Keep your passport and VISA all the time with you. You can either just keep a clear photocopy of them in your wallet.
  • Dress modestly. Women must avoid wearing micro mini skirts and very daring clothes.
  • Shopping in Deira City Centre, Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai Festival City, Mall of the Emirates, Ibn Battuta, Dubai Mall
  • Buy either a Silver or Gold Nol card. This is the new system in public transportation. Gone with the old style!
  • Shop in Carrefour or Lulu Hypermarket for basic necessities.
  • Watch Filipino or other local films in Ghurair or Battuta malls.
  • Always follow the signage everywhere. Policemen might be at your back staring at you.
  • Desert Safari in the beautiful sand dunes of Hatta-Oman place.
  • Buy a prepaid SIM card either Etisalat or Du.
  • Always have prepaid credit on your SIM card. SMS or texting here in UAE is not a common practice. Everyone’s pressing the call button.
  • Take a sip on the famous “chai” or milktea in any Indian cafeteria but be vigilant with the hygiene.
  • Have some dates at your spare time. Its sweet and a common fruit in the Middle East.
  • Get down in Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall station and see the dancing Dubai Fountain and of course the world’s tallest building made ever, the Burj Khalifa!
  • Love designer brands? Dubai Mall, Burjuman and Mall of the Emirates have it.
  • Love the beaches? Then walk through the white sands of Jumeira.
  • Missing the 7-star hotel in the world? Its very accessible now. Hop on the bus no. 88 or X28 and the iconic hotel is yours!
  • Wild Wadi and Atlantis the Palm are must-experience.
  • Im feeling hungry. I can always eat Chicken Biryanis or Mandi any time I want.
  • Bring your umbrella during the months of May-October. Its literally smoking hot!
  • Wear your precious boots and jackets on November-March.
  • Wait for the Gitex (October), Dubai Shopping Festival (January) and Dubai Summer Surprises (June).
  • Want to see the world? Then Global Village is the answer. Opening is on November.
  • Al Safa, Mamzar, Zabeel parks are accessible and good places to stay during weekends. Green green grass of home!

Don’t:

  • Smoke in public places. Smoke in designated areas.
  • Look at the local women’s eyes directly. It means something different to them. You might end up in bars.
  • Entertain people driving their car while walking on the streets. Be vigilant and alert when you hear the question “How are you my friend!?”
  • Be too casual with other nationalities I mean always set limits with them.
  • Take pictures where there is a presence of women. They are so sensitive with flashes.
  • Try to do your usual activities. You know what I mean. UAE is a muslim country and has sensitive customs and traditions. Again, you might end up in bars and worst deportation.
  • Be to noisy in public.

I know this blog is not enough. There are so many things here in UAE that everyone must know but the ones mentioned above are fairly enough for now. Comments or questions are very much welcome. Feel free to do so.

Next destination, Singapore!

Hong Kong: Live it, love it!

Asia’s World City, Live it love it, Pearl of the Orient, Shopping capital of the world, Disneyland. These are some of the tag lines or slogans that Hong Kong is very known of. When I was a child I thought that Hong Kong or HK in short is somewhere in the United States or farther than that. To my surprise it is just in the northwestern of the Philippines, southern part of People’s Republic of China, etc.

I’ve always heard this city/country for several times from my mother’s business friends and suppliers. They said that HK is a very nice island country, so on and so forth. I was on my final year in university and thought of something big and that is traveling abroad whether for employment or tourist purposes. My classmate Moi2x (Annaline Ong) told me that HK has many surprises that you will get. Here comes final/departmental examinations but prior to that I have submitted all my requirements to get a passport. Thanks to the travel agency who assisted me in getting it.

After our much-awaited college graduation I was totally excited and yet nervous because this is my first time to travel abroad. I was very excited and eager at the same time to pack my things, prepare everything and think of an itinerary. And here comes the moment that we are waiting for, Hong Kong!

I will not go into narrative blog but instead I will make it in a bullet form just like Cebu Pacific’s Smile Magazine does.

Airline: Cebu Pacific (DVO-MNL-HKG-CEB-DVO)

Visa: 14 days (upon arrival and free-of-charge)

Hotel: Chungking Mansion in Tsim Tsa Tsui Road, Kowloon (look for Ate Jorma and she will give you a very good rate)

Time visited: April 2007 (winter is about to end this time)

Things to do/see/visit:

  • have a walk in the shopping street of Tsim Tsa Tsui.
  • eat the typical street food of HK but be cautious!
  • ride the Ferry boat from Kowloon to Victoria Harbour for just 1 HK$ per way.
  • ride the HK MTR. Its one of the best railway system in the world.
  • if you are a budget-tight person then avail the discounted items in Giordano, Hang Ten, Bossini, Elle, Babila brands.
  • if you are a “techy” person then you will never go wrong in buying gadgets in HK. Remember to ask for the cheapest or last price. Learn how to “bargain”.
  • if you want souvenirs, Mong Kok night market is the best in town.
  • never missed Sasa and Bonjour perfume stores. Want Burberry? Lacoste? Hugo Boss? Bulgari? Gucci? name it!
  • Toothpastes, liquid bath soaps, tissue papers, Cadburry chocolates are quite cheap in Watson stores. Its everywhere!
  • buy Octopus smart card if you want to ride their public transportation more frequently. It will save money and time as well!
  • try Peking duck chowfan, beef’s towel Hong Kong noodles. Cost is around 25 HK$ per serving.
  • Hong Kong Disneyland in Lantau Island. Entrance fee is around 450 HK$.
  • Ocean Park and be fearless in their rides! Want some Cable Car? Entrance fee is around 200 HK$.
  • Madam Taussuds and ride the tramway.
  • walk around and feel like a fashion model in Victoria Harbour.
  • Ngo Pin Buddha temple by bus.
  • Kowloon Park

Always:

  • bring your Passport with you
  • bring sufficient funds (US$, HK$, PhP, etc.)
  • an umbrella just in case the weather will change
  • wear comfortable clothes. Not to thick nor thin.
  • bow when you want to thank them especially the locals
  • walk in the right side in the stairs, moving walkways, escalators to avoid the rushing people/passengers
  • Stand in the queue while waiting for the bus
  • Follow the signage everywhere

Don’t:

  • Spit and litter anywhere. They are very strict with cleanliness.

This was my HK experience. Feel free to ask me if you have doubts or questions.

Next stop, United Arab Emirates!

 

Any travel is great! Something is better than nothing. Keep on looking. You’ll get great deals, I’m sure! Planning is always exciting, even more when it becomes travel itself!

This is the inspiration that I got from my former college teacher. She’s a traveler too! She’s right, isn’t she? Travelling is always GREAT! Regardless of the popularity, the cost, and anything travel will always be a travel.

Any travel is great! Some…