On Visas and Embassies.
For the past year now, I have bean steadily busying myself with my plans to study abroad.
My aunt and her Swedish husband generously invited me to stay with them in Sweden so that I can take up a master’s course in entrepreneurship. it was pretty generous, since the course would span a whole year for 2 semesters, and the university I had applied for is a little spendy, it being #5 best university in the world, #2 in Europe.
So I have been busily doing my research since early January of 2012, I have been constantly checking the school website for the proper procedure for application, and on November of 2012, i have started gathering all my credentials and documents to be submitted. the preparation would’ve taken earlier had I needed to submit a TOEFL or IELTS certification, but luckily my credentials are over and beyond the qualifications for the program (just barely tho!) so i didn’t need to take the english language exam. I completed all my credentials and my application forms early January of 2013, and submitted my application on January 05 2013, in time for the autumn semester.
On March 27, 2013, I received the good news that I have been admitted to the Masters in Entrepreneurship program in the university I had applied to and all I had to do was to apply for a student’s resident permit. That part was a little tricky.
To be able to obtain a resident’s permit of any sort in Sweden, as a Filipino citizen, I had to go through certain hoops. For one thing, there is no Swedish Embassy here in the Philippines. From what I understood, the Swedish Embassy in the Philippines closed down and they are now renting space at the Swiss Embassy here in the Philippines, and they only have the jurisdiction for tourist or Schengen visas, but as for resident’s permit, they do not have that authority anymore, (note though that this is just my understanding based on my own research,) and if Filipino citizens seek a longer entry visa such as a resident’s permit, working permit or student’s permit one would have to apply online, or submit their credentials in the Swedish embassy here in the Philippines and that office will send the documents to Sweden, and whatever the decision of the office in Sweden is, it will be mailed to the Swedish Embassy here in the Philippines, and the Philippine office will have to inform you (by post, I suppose). If the application is granted, one would have to go to the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok to have their picture and fingerprints taken for the Swedish Identification card, and the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok will send the ID card to the Swedish Embassy in the Philippines in 2-3 weeks time and the card may be picked up in the Swedish Embassy in the Philippines.
What I did was i submitted my application online on May 18, 2013, and I was told that the wait could take up to 3 months, so I chose to go to Bangkok even though I wasn’t aware if my visa application has been granted, simply because I will run out of time if i wait the perfunctory 3 months, and another 2-3 weeks for the ID card, as the school requires me to be in Sweden as early as August 27, 2013. It is perfectly allowed for applicants to have their picture and biometrics taken while waiting for the result of the application, so long as they have submitted the application already. The only downside is, should the application result in a denial, the visit to get the picture and biometrics taken would be a wasted one, especially if plane tickets are involved. I decided to take that risk for fear that I would run out of time and miss the first weeks of the semester. When I arrived in the Swedish Embassy in Bangkok, it took me all of 5 minutes to get my picture, fingerprints and signature taken and I was told that my visa was granted May 19, I just wasn’t aware of it.
Now I just have to wait for my ID Card to arrive and I can fly to Sweden.
I am excited as can be and my days are filled with endless shopping and packing lists (not actual shopping as I lack the fund as of yet). I’ve been stressing over which ones of my current clothes and shoes to bring, as well as the gadgets (i’ve been trying to trim down the gizmos to bring but the attempt seems futile) as well as which makeup (whatever happens, my airbrush makeup is coming with me!) and accessories to bring! i can’t leave my LVs behind!! 😦
The real battle actually is how I am going to fit my life in 2 suitcases or 30kilos.
I have also been busily scanning websites after websites for cheap flights and blogs of other students abroad.
I am very excited to travel to various parts of Europe, especially the ones I haven’t set foot on, and the top of my list are Finland, Denmark and Norway!
I have also been busily stressing out about winter clothes and footwear, as I live in a tropical country and the closest I have been to a winter climate was the Swiss Alps in spring (i saw actual snow tho!) and i’ve gotten away with gloves, scarf and a leather jacket! Am excited to wear boots again though!