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Flight and hotel reservations for Schengen visa?

Do I really need to book flights and hotels before even applying for a visa?
14 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 1 Msg: #70403  
Hello guys😊

I'm very, very close to my first solo trip and my second int'l trip ever (not counting the handful of flights between college and my home in Asia). I'm going to most of the countries in the Schengen Zone Since I'm not a citizen of a "rich" country, I need a tourist visa (in fact, my country of origin is one of a handful that have to wait longest for Europe visas according to my friend who's done it before). I already bought a ticket to Europe, thinking I'll need it for the visa app, but I'm not so sure anymore. So basically, I called the Sweden consulate (because I have an invitation from a Swedish friend) and they said I only need a "flight itinerary" (not an actual reservation, and she got really pissed when I tried to clarify this), but I do need actual hotel reservations. This doesn't make a lot of sense to me, so can anyone confirm? Would be great if I didn't have to pay those deposits😊 So they just need to see itineraries from orbitz or something that will take me to the places I tell them I'll go, but they don't need to see that I've actually booked and paid for those flights?

Also, the itinerary you give them doesn't have to match the one you'll actually follow, right? So how about showing them the most simple itinerary (i.e. where you stay in one hotel in one country) and then changing it when the visa is done?

Also again, which country is most efficient with visas? My friend said Europe is generally much less efficient than the US, and I only have a month left.

Thanks a lot everyone😊 I hope your collective wisdom would help alleviate all this visa stress. Oh and I hope you don't mind the excessive use of parentheses😊 Reply to this

14 years ago, April 22nd 2009 No: 2 Msg: #70409  
B Posts: 11.5K
Hi Linh,

Welcome to TravelBlog.

I can't comment on Sweden specifically, but with visas I have had to apply for it's generally a case of "tell them something, get the visa, then do whatever it is you were going to". Giving them too much detail can just create hassle :-) Reply to this

14 years ago, April 28th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #71294  
B Posts: 160

I recently got my Schengen Visa and I must tell you that the consulate guys made my life miserable. They kept me waiting for 3 hours after I had an appointment and scrutinized each document like I was carrying bombs to their country.

What you should do is apply for your visa at the earliest and give them all possible documents. A copy of your return tickets, hotels, a planned itenirary, bank statements and if you're working, letter from your employer.

The best way to get this done is to approach a travel agent who will help you with 'temporary' bookings. Print these and submit them to the consulate and then once you get your visa, feel free to change your travel plans and hotel bookings. Reply to this

14 years ago, April 30th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #71483  
N Posts: 3
I found this information from French consulate:

* The following information was issued by the French Embassy:
As from the 27th of April, people travelling to France for tourism will have to provide a reservation confirmation issued directly by the hotel clearly stating the visa national’s full names, the dates of check-in and out, the hotel address and contact details. Bookings made via a reservation centre or travel agencies will no longer be accepted. To ensure that visa nationals comply with the legislation in regards to the reality of stay in France, controls will be made prior and after the visa has been granted.

Do you think we can still change the hotel after we get the visa?
Reply to this

14 years ago, May 1st 2009 No: 5 Msg: #71582  
Ahh fudge. That's no good news😞 My application arrived last Monday and I'm leaving on May 19. All papers are in there, but there are minor issues. Hostel reservations are email printouts (and I still had to pay the darn deposits😞) Bank statements are also PDF printouts. Flights are itineraries I printed from orbitz, not actually purchased flights. And what really worries me is the invitation letter - my friend wrote that we may visit Paris, Barcelona, etc. but to keep things simple I just said I'll stay in Sweden with him until I left Europe. A couple fewer nights to reserve hostels for, but if they look closely there might be trouble. Keeping in mind I have a Vietnamese visa - longest wait - do you think it'll make it?

What the heck do they mean by "issued directly"? The hotel has to mail the reservation to the embassy? They sure aren't making this easy for us. Do they think we'll fake reservations or what? And they know we'll change our itinerary anyway!

Ahhh Europe, you aloof beauty. Why do you scorn us poor travelers so? Reply to this

14 years ago, May 12th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #72645  
I got it guys! 😊 Took 2 weeks, but I got it. This is the Swedish General Consulate in New York, just FYI. Thanks everyone who chimed in! Now let all the REAL planning begin! Reply to this

14 years ago, May 12th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #72653  
That is great news about the visa Linh!

My experience is that even though countries may say that you need direct hotel confirmations (that means a letter from the hotel instead of from an agent), but with regards to visa checks, if you are travelling between Schengen countries by land in Europe, I cannot remember many checks at all.

As for the question about changing hotels after obtaining your visa, some hotels will give you a "reservation" by letter for the whole period you are in the country - then you can stay where you wish. I didn't think changing a hotel after you arrive in the country would be an issue. V C, can you please let us know how you go with the French Visa.

Yes, the aloof beauty of Europe - tinted with a hint of paranoia. Reply to this

14 years ago, September 26th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #87417  
N Posts: 3
Hi Miao Ling,

I am planning to apply for Schengen visa in New York as well but through the Swiss General Consulate.
So did you purchase your tickets before applying? What exactly is the itinerary that they want?
Thanks! Reply to this

14 years ago, September 27th 2009 No: 9 Msg: #87432  
Oh, it turns out they're pretty relaxed about it. I did buy my ticket before I applied, but it wasn't necessary. All you really need is a printout from Orbitz or some similar site that shows the flights you're going to take. They want to know 1. that there are flights/trains that take you where you say you're going, and 2. that you can afford said flights/trains, by looking at your bank statement. That's how I understand the situation now. A downer is that you DO need to book a hotel OR have someone in the country send you an invitation form. My way around it was to book a cheap place on hostelworld, print the confirmation email to send the embassy, and cancel the reservation immediately. Dirty, but it works, it costs about 5 bucks and nobody is worse off 😊

Good luck and let me know how it goes! Reply to this

14 years ago, September 27th 2009 No: 10 Msg: #87435  
Thanks for providing this information Miao, it is very helpful to hear from someone who has had recent experience. Reply to this

14 years ago, September 27th 2009 No: 11 Msg: #87437  
N Posts: 3
Thanks! Just another question, since I am applying for visitor's visa, do I need to bring the invitation letter with my application or just faxing it directly to the embassy will suffice? Reply to this

14 years ago, September 27th 2009 No: 12 Msg: #87438  
Are you visiting the consulate directly? It's supposed to be included with the application, and I'd recommend giving them the original if possible. You never know with bureaucracy. You won't need the invitation once you get the visa anyway, right? :P Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 13 Msg: #88790  
N Posts: 5
hey guys I'm writing this post from Toronto

I'm planning to go to Paris on the Christmas for 15 days to see my girlfriend and what i'm thinking is that I 'll book hotel for 3-4 days becasue my gf has a rented-room but we can not show that as a proof of accomodation you know that doesn't make sense for France consulate.The question is ,Should my hotel reservation cover entire duration of stay?I can tell the consulate that in case of any problem we might experience , I didn't book for entire duration.So there will be a possibility of changing place in visa application.
do you think this excuse makes sense?if I rent a hotel for 15 days , it costs me extra at least 500 euro Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 14 Msg: #88793  
Hello Burti

I wouldn't think you would need to book a hotel for everyday. I know that some hostel booking places on the web (for example, Hostelbookers, Hostelworld) will allow you to book a hostel for many nights, but will only take an upfront amount of 20% (or thereabouts) of one night's accommodation. So what you do is book for the whole 15 nights, then after you have your visa, cancel the booking. You'll lose your deposit (might be 10-20 Euros) but you haven't lost lots of money. Just make sure you cancel early enough to allow the hostel to resell your room/beds.

Ah yes, another thing, make sure you bring on the plane the booking you made on the web to get your visa. You need to write down a contact address on most immigration entry cards, so having that with you will help.

I am unsure why some countries are so strict on travellers knowing exactly where they will stay, but there are usually ways around that. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 15 Msg: #88820  
N Posts: 5
thank you for quick reply.

That could be tricky because France consulate in Toronto wants to see hotel confirmation (not the reservation) after granting visa.So I guess I should directly contact any hotel in Paris about this thing Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 16 Msg: #88822  
N Posts: 5
ouch sorry I checked the website you gave me and found out that after paying %10 of cost, you can get your confirmation.thx a lot .that will work😊 Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 17 Msg: #88824  
10% of one night's accommodation cost is better than the 20% - it is an even cheaper way to book!

When you cancel, you will lose that deposit, and you may lose one night of accommodation as well (especially if you book too close to the time) but it is a small price to pay.
Reply to this

13 years ago, October 8th 2009 No: 18 Msg: #88831  
N Posts: 5
I'll cancel 7 days in advance.I think this is good enough time to be charged less Reply to this

13 years ago, October 9th 2009 No: 19 Msg: #88832  
Burti, could you please post here again on whether this suggestion works (i.e. once you have your visa and/or when you have entered the country) so others know if they should follow the same process. Thanks.
Reply to this

13 years ago, October 9th 2009 No: 20 Msg: #88923  
N Posts: 5
yea obviously.My interview is in begining of December Reply to this

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