I’ve been living in Germany since November 2019. In March 2020, the pandemic began, and since then, I haven’t been able to go back to the Philippines or see my family. Therefore, my husband and I decided to invite my mum and sister and apply for a family visit visa to Germany.
It was not an easy process, especially during this pandemic. It required a long and exhausting preparation, but it was all worth it. If you’re also planning to visit your family member in Germany or plan to invite them, let me show you how. But please note that this family visit visa to Germany was not sponsored, meaning to say, we didn’t send them any formal obligation; they provided their own, and we only supported them.
This article is for you if;
- You’re a Filipino living in Germany
- A Filpino residing in the Philippines
- You want to invite any of your family members (mum, father, sister, or brother) to visit you
- Plan to apply for a visit visa to visit your family member living in Germany
- If you have patience reading through all the details of your plans for a family visit visa to Germany
If your answer is yes, let’s get started, shall we?
- Family Visit visa to Germany requirements
- Additional documents
- Reserved flight tickets and others
- We are setting up an appointment at VFS Makati.
- Appointment day
- Interview/ Call day
- Passport arrival day, aka verdict day.
- Family visit visa to Germany timeline
- Other important things to know and do
- Upon departure – at the Philippines’ airport and immigration
- Transiting through Dubai
- Arriving at Munich Airport
- Overview of the expenses for the family visit visa to Germany
- Important links
- Family visit visa to Germany- FAQs – answered
- Going back to the Philippines
Family Visit visa to Germany requirements
Keep in mind the documents/requirements you need to prepare. Below are the explanations of each document.
From the applicant (Mum & Sis living in the Philippines)
- Visa application form – you can check this on the website and fill it up there
- Original Passport and one photocopy
- Two current biometric passport pictures
- Proof of relationship with the sponsor or the person you’re visiting ( pictures together, conversation, birth certificate, and a marriage contract of the sponsor)
- Informal invitation coming from the sponsor or the person you’re visiting
- Sample Travel itinerary
- Flight ticket, no need for a reservation
- Travel health insurance covering Schengen areas and COVID-19
- Certificate of Employment (stating the company, position, salary, leave of absence)
- Bank Certificate at least three-six (3-6) months
- Formal Obligation of the person inviting (optional)
- Visa fee of €80 each
📌 The requirements above are initially the ones you can find on their website. You have to comply and provide them. Here’s the Visa application checklist for your reference. Check what documents you have, and print and sign them.
From us (the host-your relative living in Germany)
- Informal invitation letter
*My tip: Gather and complete all the requirements written above. They are necessary for your visa application. And one document per applicant.
Below are some of the documents we prepared to increase the chances of getting approved.
- Informal invitation letter – Informal invitation letter – I’ve personally tailored this one to explain our intention of having my mum and sister visit me in Germany. I’ve included things like I have not seen them since I moved to Germany in November 2019. Despite being a senior, my mum is physically fit and healthy, while my sister is also applying because she had to be an assistant to my mother. Moreover, they are paying and shouldering their trip; we only support and host them in Germany. You can check my informal invitation sample below.
- Land Title – Original and Photocopy. As I’ve mentioned above, we did not sponsor this visit trip to Germany. Therefore, my mum and my sister had to provide their own, including their latest bank statements each and my mum’s land title. They showed and brought the original and photocopy. The bank statement on the website says at least six (6) months, but we provided only three (3) months and total money of around Php250,000.00 for each account.
- COE (Certificate of Employment) -My 31-year-old sister is single, lives with my mum, and is a freelance Online English teacher. Although she’s under a company, she asked for a COE stating her salary, position, and how long she has been employed.
- Photocopy of old passport and travel stamps – I believed the old passport was as crucial as the new passport. Also, we included the travel stamps to show that both of them have been in and out of the country for leisure purposes. My sister, for example, has been to some Asian countries like Thailand and Indonesia, among many others.
Reserved flight tickets and others
- Flight ticket ( no need to make a reservation)- I’ve only screenshot some flights from Oman air and printed them out. They don’t need to be reserved at the airline. The VFS Makati doesn’t require you to book them unless your approved visa application. See the photo.
- Vaccination certificate (VAXcert Ph) Vaccine cards or ICV (international certification vaccination or the yellow passport) – Yes, you need this- it is essential as Germany doesn’t allow any unvaccinated tourists unless urgent. Urgent matters like giving birth, funeral, or medical needs.
- Proof of relationship – We printed out some of our photos together in Hongkong as a family. You can do this too, to show that you are a relative. I thought this was adequate to prove our relationship with each other. In addition to that, they also presented my marriage certificate and birth certificate.
- Detailed travel itinerary
*My tip: You can include some conversations or video calls of you and your relative in Germany. Or, photos like I’ve mentioned above for the proof of relationship. Similarly, that’ll do if you have a business under your name. However, a sari-sari store may not be enough as a property.
We are setting up an appointment at VFS Makati.
Now that you have prepared everything you need for a family visit to Germany, all you need to do is set up an appointment. You can create an account, register, and find all the available selections. That’s what my sister did. She first secured the date, then filled out the information and paid the visa application fee.
It costs Php 1,150each.
But note that there are only a few possible time slots due to the corona situation. Once you have set up your appointment, you need to wait and double-check if you have missed any single documents you need to bring to the VFS Makati.
📌Note that only appointments are allowed at the VFS Makati.
*My tip: Get or acquire these essentials as they will increase your chance of getting approved.
January 27, 2022. This date was the appointment day at 09:00. With all the proper documents in hand, my mum and sister went to Manila to submit the records for the family visit visa to Germany. They were early. Along with our family driver, they traveled from Pangasinan to Manila at dawn to make sure they were not caught in traffic jams at Edsa.
Everything was almost perfect. All the requirements were with them. There were only two (2) problems they’d encountered.
- One was my mum showing her teeth (smiling) in her visa photo; hence, she needed to retake it. It costs Php200.00 nearby the VFS.
2. The second one was that some of the documents were only one copy for both applicants. The rule is one application for each, and one applicant must have each document- which means that my mum, for example, should have a copy of each of the requirements, like the sample travel itinerary and a photocopy of the land title, among many others.
If you have also failed to photocopy some of your documents, note that photocopying was very expensive in the same building.
On the other hand, there’s no interview if you have already tried to submit any visa application through VFS. The staff there only checked your documents if everything was available; otherwise, they’d inform you.
*My tip: Make a list of all the documents you have and prepare so that you’ll know what’s missing. Most importantly, one copy per applicant.
Interview/ Call day
On February 02, 2022, staff from the German embassy called my sister on her mobile phone. Surprisingly, she didn’t ask many things, but only if mum and sis had been vaccinated. She said yes then she sent the proof by email.
And that was all.
I know, right?! What a shock! Before that, I’ve been telling and informing both of them what to answer in case of interrogations. For example, they (mum and sis) were shouldering their expenses, and I was only there to support them, but they came to stay with us.
Related read: First time visit visa to Germany, denied, what went wrong?
Passport arrival day, aka verdict day.
On my way to school work one cold morning in Munich, I received a call from my sister that they had already received the passport. Sadly, she said that it was declined. I was devastated though I didn’t raise my hope so high up.
But then it was a prank!
The family visit visa to Germany has been approved! My sister jumped in joy upon seeing the visas attached to their passport. Soon she sent me a photo of the visas.
*My tip: Make your phone number available as they might call you at unexpected times. Sometimes, it might happen that when a Consul can’t reach you, it may result in denial of your family visit visa to Germany.
Family visit visa to Germany timeline
Here’s the timeline to give you an overview of the family visit visa to Germany application,
- January 11, 2022– Set an appointment and fill up forms for the family visit visa to Germany application online.
- January 27, 2022 – Appointment day at VFS Makati.
- February 02, 2022 – A staff from German Embassy called my sister on her mobile phone.
- Feb 09, 2022– Family visit visa to Germany approved (passports with visa arrived at home!)
- February 10, 2022– We booked their flights at Emirates from Germany
- February 21, 2022 – Mum and sis got their ICV ( international certification of vaccination) at Resorts World Manila
- March 15, 2022– We booked the travel insurance via HanseMerkur ( just rebooked and redated)
- April 01, 2022- Departure in Manila
- April 02, 2022– Arrival in Munich, Germany
*Note: Departure is on April 25, 2022.
Other important things to know and do
There were still plenty of important things to prepare right after the family visit visa to Germany had been approved. The journey didn’t end there; in other words, it was just the beginning.
Register your vaccination through VAX cert PH and ICV
First, they had to get a booster and get the VAX certificate Ph ( which was, by the way, sometimes the vaccination record was wrong). Moreover, book an appointment for the ICV (international vaccination certification) aka yellow vaccine passport, which was valid and accepted, especially in foreign countries like Germany.
Where and how to get the ICV
Book online – There are many places to get the ICV; however, the problem was there were only very, very limited slots and destinations available.
For instance, we finally got one in Bataan; we’re from Pangasinan. So imagine the travel time there? Plus so many restrictions along the road. Anyhow, we booked and also booked an Airbnb in Bataan.
Eventually, we were lucky to score an appointment on February 21, 2022, at Resorts World Manila. Here’s the link for your booking.
Second, registering at VAX Cert PH. If you have been vaccinated and boostered, you can find your records here.
Where and how to get it
Register at VAX cert PH. And then after that, there will be some questions and information you need to fill out. And finally, you can get your record. You can save a screenshot on your phone and print it out.
Either ICV ( yellow vaccination passport ) and VAXcert Ph are acceptable as vaccination proof. We both had them in case. Won’t hurt if you get yours, too.
*My tip: Although they only asked for the VAx cert Ph upon check-in at Emirates in Manila, it’s better to get the two. It won’t hurt if you have them both.
ReBooked the travel insurance
While preparing the family visit visa to Germany application, we originally booked the dates of April 1 -17, 2022, for the health insurance that cost €62.90. But when it was approved, we decided that we could extend the trip up to the 25th of the same month.
Therefore, I sent an email to the agent of HanseMerkur and told him of my concern. He told me to purchase a new one with the desired date, and I should contact him on my IBAN after that to cancel the previous purchase.
The new travel health insurance covers the latest date from April 01-26, 2022, which cost €96.20. I paid via Paypal. Then after 24 hours, he refunded the payment for the first purchase.
Upon departure – at the Philippines’ airport and immigration
Don’t fret. As long as you have the proper documents and got everything prepared, there’s no need to worry. Although I cannot blame you if you feel anxious or nervous because I was a little bit, too, on my way.
But to lessen your anxiety or whatever you’re feeling is, here are essential things to do, know at Manila airport and immigration during this pandemic.
Upon check-in at Emirates
- Valid passports and visas – are very, very important. If you missed this one, sorry, you’re doomed.
- Travel declaration form- Yep, this is new. There was nothing like this before until COVID-19 began. You need this as this is part of the departure process. You can download, print out and sign here.
- ICV (yellow vaccination passport) and VAX CertPh- Upon check-in at Emirates, the staff asked for the VAXcert Ph. Know that only vaccinated tourists can enter Germany unless it’s urgent. In other words, if you don’t have any of these upon check-in, even if you’ve got a visa, sorry, you cannot board the flight.
- Luggage– we booked via Emirates, and they had 30kg, plus a 7kg hand carry.
- Travel Tax– Any outbound tourists except the spouses permanently settling abroad must pay the travel tax fee, Php1,620.00. Similarly, you can also pay the travel tax online, but we opted not to. If you’re interested in doing so, you can check this link. You’re welcome.
In the Philippines’ immigration
Now here’s the real deal. Immigration officers could be scary and intimidating at the same time. As I’ve already informed my mum and sis about the possible interrogations at the immigration, they were well prepared.
As expected, a female immigration officer asked them a few questions;
To my sister
- Are you a government employee?
- Do you have a COE?
- What’s your relationship with the person you’re visiting in Germany?
- Do you have a copy of their identity?
- When will you go back to the Philippines?
- Do you have a return ticket?
To my mum
- Who are you visiting in Germany?
- Is she your daughter?
*Note: It helps if you ( the host) send a copy of your identification cards to your family member visiting you in Germany. It was my sister’s idea, and I am glad she did ask. It was suitable proof to let them go and had their passports stamped.
And then off they went. They headed directly to their gate and waited until the boarding time. Unfortunately, Emirates was one (1) a hour delay at that time. They arrived safe and sound. My mother enjoyed her first-time experience at Emirates.
*My tip: Prepare all your documents and get them ready. Be confident and brief when answering their interrogations.
Transiting through Dubai
As we booked via Emirates, it was connecting through Dubai. But here’s the thing, because of the pandemic, we had to consider many things, like, did they need a negative RT-PCR test in Dubai?
As a host and a concerned daughter and sister, I checked well whether Dubai still needed the test. I even chatted with their staff on Twitter to get full confirmation. Luckily, since they’ve been fully vaccinated and transiting through Dubai for only five hours, they didn’t need to provide one.
However, this was during their flight time. For more updated information, you can always check Emirates’ official website or chat with them on Emirates support on Twitter.
Arriving at Munich Airport
Finally, after almost 30 hours of being on the road, from leaving home in Pangasinan to Manila airport, to Dubai, and finally, at Munich airport, they arrived safe and sound! But of course, there was the Munich immigration. But unlike our Philippines’ immigration, there were only a few questions like
- What’s your hotel
- Where will you stay
- How long will you stay
- And what’s your purpose
Surprisingly, they didn’t ask for the ICV (yellow international vaccination passport) or the VAXcert Ph. I guess it’s because it had been checked already upon departure in Manila and Dubai.
And then, you know what came next, picking up their luggage!
Overview of the expenses for the family visit visa to Germany
I’ve just included this part in case you’re wondering how much it cost does apply for a family visit visa to Germany costs in total. Some of the expenses here were only for your ideas, of course. As I’ve mentioned, our family lives in Pangasinan.
- Visa application = Php 3,040 for both
- Visa Photo = Php160.00 + Php200.00 ( the redo photo at the VFS)= Php360.00
- Photocopies = Php100.00 (estimated)
- Gas for car plus travel to VFS Makati Php 10,000.00 ( estimated)
- ICV (international vaccination certification) Php380.00 (each x2) = Php720.00
- Emirates Flight = €2,000 / Php116,000.00 (estimated) for both
- Travel Health insurance = €96.20 / Php5,579.00
- Travel tax at the airport = Php1,620.00×2 = Php3,240.00
TOTAL = Php139,039
*Note: Some of the expenses from the total amount were based on real calculations, except, of course, the gas and foods fee. That’s personal.
Here are the essential links for your family visit visa application if you missed them. Just click the words, and it will direct you there.
- Visa type
- Visa application checklist
- Family visit visa application online
- List of vaccines approved in Germany by Paul Erlich Institut
- Travel declaration form to present upon departure in Manila
- HanseMerkur Travel health insurance
- Emirates airlines to book your flight
- Digital registration entry to check if the Philippines is still at high risk or not
- VAXCertPh- to register and download your COVID-19 vaccination record
- BOQ.ph – to register and get your ICV (international vaccination certificate)
Family visit visa to Germany- FAQs – answered
This section will answer all the questions I’ve received from Filipinos regarding this family visit visa to Germany. But please remember that this was all based on experience, and I’m willing to share it with you. Should there be any other concerns or unsure about the information, you can always check with the official websites such as VFS Makati German Embassy, among many others.
Was a negative RT-PCR test needed?
On their departure day, April 01, 2022, and as of this writing, a negative RT-PCR test was not needed. It was lucky because the test was also not cheap to make. I don’t remember how many times I’ve checked with Germany’s official website if they needed to present the test; luckily, as long as you’re fully vaccinated with the required vaccines, you don’t require to take one.
Moreover, the Philippines is not on the list of high risk anymore. Therefore, there’s also no need to do the digital registration entry.
Did we send them an FO or Formal Obligation?
As I’ve mentioned, this was not a sponsored family visit visa to Germany. It was a family visit visa, and my mum and sis were the ones who provided all the documents. I was there to support them by making the tailored informal invitation letter and travel itinerary.
Why not sponsored?
Sponsored means we would be sending them formal obligations and other financial documents from Germany. It was my husband’s idea not to fund them, as they could support their trip anyway.
Most importantly, getting the family visit visa to Germany approved was much higher than being sponsored.
Was it the first time to apply for a visa?
Types of visas to apply for
What exactly type of visa did they apply for?
We chose the family visit/friends category on the VFS global website. Just check that one, and you’ll find all the necessary information. Here’s the photo for your reference.
Going back to the Philippines
Upon arriving or going back to the Philippines, there were things they needed to prepare and have.
Upon check-in, the staff already asked these three. I think that without these you won’t be allowed to check in at Emirates at Munich airport.
What are these?
- Registration at One health pass Ph– register 1-3 days before your departure. You can register online at One health pass. Here you need to fill out important information such as where have you been during your last visit to Germany. For example, countries like Italy, France, etc.
- Negative PCR or Antigen test was taken within 24 hours before departure– They took the test at a Schnell / Rapid test center. They’ve located everywhere in the city or nearby the supermarket. Normally, it’s free for residents, but it usually costs around €20-25 for tourists. Luckily they got one for free and could save €50. They had the test nearby Mira Mall in Hasenbergl-Dulfelstrasse.
- Vaccination card and/or ICV/ Vax Cert Ph- You already had this before your flight to Germany, and I’m sure you still have it. Print or on your handy will do.
*My tip: Take the Antigen or RT PCR test at least 24 hours before your flight as you need the laboratory code/number from it, otherwise, your registration at One health pass will not proceed.
Upon arrival in the Philippines
You only need these three (3) mentioned above besides your passport. As long as you have them, there would be no problem.
It only takes a little while to queue for the checking of one health pass and immigration. You know, the Philippines’ thingy.
Thank you for reading! If this post has been helpful to you, I’d appreciate it if you’d share it with a friend who might need to read it! 💕
*NOTE: if you have any other questions not written on this post, please feel free to write them down in the comment below, and I promise to get back to you as soon as possible! Please don’t try to send me a message via messenger as I usually don’t check spam or message requests. Thanks!