I knew up front that I was going to stay in the Philippines longer than the free tourist visa on arrival would allow. When entering the Philippines as a holder of a Dutch passport, you are granted with a 30 days visa upon arrival. In order to get this visa you need to be able to show a ticket confirming a flight out of the Philippines.
With my return ticket date set by the end of november I knew this would allow me to leave the Shengen zone without any problems and would be one fo the criteria to obtain a ‘9.A Tourist visa for 59 days’. That is an extended visa which you need to apply for at the Embassy or the Philippine Consulate General in either Amsterdam or Rotterdam (by appointment only)
So I had to fill out ‘F.A. form number 2-A’, which is downloadable at the website of the Philippine Embassy in Den Hague. The form asks you for your home address, a reference in the Netherlands and a few questions about finances, the reason of your stay and the address you will be staying int he Philippines. I needed to travel to Den Hague, since you have to apply for a visa in person and in my case I needed to submit the following items:
- One passport-size photograph taken within the last six months.
- A passport which is valid for at least six months beyond the intended period of stay in the Philippines.
- A photocopy of the data page of the passport
- Photocopy of my return ticket
- and being a freelancer I needed to give some proof of sufficient funds or income. So I took a print screen from both my credit-card and debit-card balance
- 27 euro in cash to pay for the visa
I took all the original documents with me, just in case, as requested on the website, but they never asked for them.
Off I went, together with my travel companion, to the city of Den Hague. No appointment needed and the Embassy is open every working day from 9.00 till 11.30 and in the afternoon from 13.00 untill 15.30.
The Embassy is approximately 20 minutes walking distance from the main train station and there is also tram stopping nearby (Tram no. 9 to Scheveningen, stop: Copes van Cattenburch).
The Embassy is situated in an old mansion. Massive doors firmly shut. All pretty impressive.
And I must say I was a little nervous. It felt like my future depended on this afternoon and in a certain way so it did. And I must confess that on my past travels, my visa was always automatically arranged for me by the ship authorities, only once in Argentina the Port Authorities wanted to see the entire crew in the flesh before we could eave the country and I can assure you that was not a pleasant encounter for me, because it showed a wrong date of birth in my passport and as it turned out I had been traveling over 2 years on a ‘false’ document. So the only experience I have with Embassies and authorities was not a pleasant one.
I rang the bell, the buzzer automatically opened the door and we stepped into the old grandeur of this rather neglected house, up the red carpeted stairs, through the glass doors and at my right I find a room with a counter and a conference tabel.
We were very friendly welcomed by a gentlemen who asked us to register and state the time and purpose of our visit. After that he invited us to sit down and wait.
When waiting for our turn a lady came up to us asking us a favour. She was about to have a power of attorney legalized, and needed a witness to co-sign the document. She explained that there was no further legal consequences, she just needed a witness signature, showing us her ID card. She explained she was authorizing someone in the Philippines to sell a property for her. We gladly signed the form for her. It kind of broke the ice. (and my nerves calmed down a bit)
We were called to the counter. A very friendly lady looked through the papers, checking if we had everything she needed, she glued our photograph to the application form, wrote a receipt, we paid the fee 27 euros each and she handed us a numbered ticket and told us to collect our passports and visa the next day after two o’clock.
That was it. The train trip costed more money and time than the actual visa application did.
Specially because we had to go back the next day after 2 o’clock.
We decided to go to Scheveningen and stroll along the boulevard and visit the pier. Since it was lovely weather. The tram brought us there within 20 minutes.
Next day we travelled to Den Hague again. We got our visa! On page 7 of our passports is an impressive addition a kind of sealed and signed sticker that allows us to stay in the Philippines for 59 days…….or didn’t it?
What were those dates in the right corner? They do not correspond with any of the dates we filled out in the application form. On mentioning that the dates were wrong, the lady explained that those were
1. the date of purchase
2. the final date on which we needed to activate the visa by entering the Philippines.
A sigh of relieve and we thanked her very much for explaining and we stepped out in the sunlight. YES!! We had our visa!! And only 40 more days to go!
Time for a city tour. Den Hague is a nice city for shopping and walking about and we knew we would never come back there again. So we took our time to visit Chinatown, eat lunch in a lovely square net the parlement buildings and walked around in the city center, passing lots of impressive high rises.
For more information on tourist visa requirements please check the Embassy website by clicking here.