In continuation of our series of articles about hotel booking for visa, this article will focus on how to get a hotel booking for a Schengen visa, along with other important documents needed for making your visa application less cumbersome and error-free.
We have been working with the FlightGen team for some time, and they have reduced our visa documentation time by 30%. You can begin making your visa documents immediately by downloading their app.
Why does the consulate need hotel bookings for Schengen visas?
The need for a hotel booking is to ascertain important documentation under the section of proof of accommodation, according to the official Schengen visa requirements:
“The means of subsistence for the intended stay shall be assessed in accordance with the duration and purpose of the stay and by reference to average prices in the Member State(s) concerned for board and lodging in budget accommodation, multiplied by the number of days stayed, on the basis of the reference amounts set by the Member States in accordance with Article 34(1)(c) of the Schengen Borders Code. Proof of sponsorship and/or private accommodation may also constitute evidence of sufficient means of subsistence.”
So according to the above statement, it is clear that the intent behind asking for a hotel booking is to determine that you have enough money (a means of subsistence) to last for the duration of your stay in the Schengen region.
Proof of subsistence can be determined by your bank statement or credit card, which must have enough money to cover the expenses of your trip.
If someone is sponsoring your trip, then that could also be considered proof of accommodation.
Another important reason the consulate asks for hotel bookings for Schengen visa applications is to determine the validity of your Schengen visa application, along with the travel itinerary that is part of your cover letter .
Unlike other visas, the maximum validity endorsed on your Schengen visa is decided based on your hotel bookings.
The second line contains dates from and until, which is the period that your visa is valid for. In the above example, the dates are 11/11/2022 to 24/02/2023.
So if you are providing hotel bookings for 15 days, your visa validity might be only for up to 18 days based on your trip plan in the cover letter.
Let us assume that you are staying in the UK, you have flights as cheap as 10 pounds to Spain, and it takes you 1 hour to visit. Great!! You can enter the Schengen area on the weekend and fly back on Monday for the next year. But wait…
Your visa is expired. Then you will need to apply for a Schengen visa every time you are travelling.
So it is wise that you make 20 bookings for the next 10 weekends and submit those for your Schengen visa processing. This way, your validity would be for at least the next 12 weeks.
This is why the consul wants you to provide hotel bookings for your Schengen visa application processing.
How do I get a hotel booking for the Schengen visa application?
If you want to add some flexibility to your Schengen trip while not losing money by making all your Schengen hotel bookings upfront, then you can use Flightgen to make hotel itineraries and submit them for your visa processing.
Once your visa is approved, you can then make hotel bookings for the next 2 days, keeping your trip open to spur-of-the-moment changes.
FlightGen allows you to make not only hotel but temporary flight bookings for Schengen visa application.
- Instant generation of flight itinerary and hotel bookings for Schengen visa
- Choose your own flight and hotel and get pricing in your own currency (very important !!)
- The cheapest option, when compared to other sites where they charge close to $20 per booking (just $10 for unlimited flight and hotel itineraries),.
- No extra payment to add co-applicants
It is important to mention that you are submitting a hotel itinerary in your cover letter. You can make your cover letter for your visa application on the BlinkDocs app.
Sample hotel booking for Schengen visa application
Here is a sample of proof of accommodation that you can create on Flightgen.
The hotel confirmation letter should include the following details:
- Your full name
- Your entry and exit dates
- Hotel contact details, such as phone number and email
- A valid hotel reservation code
- Hotel address
What is a certificate of accommodation?
It is the same as proof of accommodation. It can be any one of the hotel vouchers, proof of sponsorship, or a tour guide receipt. You need to attach it when you are submitting your documents for a Schengen visa.
The hotel itinerary that you have generated using FlightGen can be used as a certificate of accommodation.
Embassies and consulates usually recommend making a hotel reservation at a hotel that offers a full refund in case of visa rejection or delay. If such an option is unavailable,
Can I make temporary hotel bookings on sites like booking.com and use that for my Schengen visa?
Yes, you can make “pay at the hotel” reservations and utilize them for visas. But there are two issues with this. It is not possible to get the hotels of your choice through this option, and for the majority of bookings, you will need to present a credit card, and the hotel will place a hold on the whole amount owed for the booking.
If you do not wish to stay at this hotel, it will take you more than 60 days to receive a refund for your booking. Here’s an example of a consumer who experienced these concerns:.
Even booking.com confirms the same.
The best aspect of utilizing the FlightGen App for visa hotel bookings is that we can select the hotel and currency of our choice.
This allows us to choose a hotel and book it as if our visa had been approved. And if my visa is accepted, I can make the actual reservation at the same hotel.
For example, suppose I want to make a reservation at Bravo Hostel. I may use the FlightGen app to create a hotel itinerary for this hotel, and once my visa has been accepted, I can proceed to make the actual confirmed booking at Bravo Hostel. In this manner, I can ensure that I have no unexpected problems at the immigration counter.
What if I am applying for a visitor visa? Should I use hotel bookings for this?
Generally, it is recommended that you ask the host in the Schengen area to send you a sponsor letter for a visitor visa. But this document is not easy to get since they will need to run around town hall and get it authorized with an official officer.
The name of this document is dependent on the Schengen country, here are a few examples:
- In France, the host is required to provide an authentic copy of the “Declaration d’Accueil” (a document serving as a guarantee). This also holds true if the host is from Luxembourg.
- In Austria, the host is required to obtain the “Elektronische Verpflichtungserklärung” from their local municipality. The paperwork must be submitted to the Austrian Authorities no sooner than 30 days before to the applicant’s visa appointment date.
- In Belgium, the original document called “Engagement de Prise en Charge – Verbintenis tot Tenlasteneming 3 bis” needs to be endorsed by the municipality and bear the raised seal of the foreign office.
- In the Netherlands, the host is required to provide the original “Bewijs van Garantstelling,” as well as three salary sheets/reports and the work contract of the individual extending the invitation. If the host is autonomous, they must further file the company’s registration in the trade register, the “down aanslaginkomstenbelastingen” tax decision, an official document from the “Belastingdienst” tax authority, and a copy of their profit and loss account.
So the host will need to visit their town hall to get this document and it can be cumbersome.
So if you are planning for less than 15 days and you have the ability to sponsor your own trip, then it makes sense for you to make temporary hotel booking for this short time and apply for a tourist visa.
5 Reasons to not book your flight & hotel booking for Schengen visa before visa is approved
Loss of money if visa is rejected
There is no guarantee that your visa will be guaranteed, and your visa can either be rejected or altogether voided due to the pandemic. It is not wise to make such a big commitment without guarantees that your visa will be approved. In case of an emergency you can always book a return flight and get back to your home country, so it is not wise to commit for a hotel booking for your entire duration of stay just to show a proof of accommodation certificate.
No Flexibility to change your travel plan
If you were to book all the hotels for your travel at a time, then you will not have the flexibility to travel as you wish . What if you want to spend one more day in Berlin ? Nope you can’t since you have already booked a room in Amsterdam & So on . From a traveller’s perspective it makes a lot of sense to book your first 3 days of your travel and book the rest as you go along.
Reduces your bank balance proof
When travelling to Europe, you need to show that you have atleast EUR 80 (preferably EUr 100 ) per day of stay . If you book all your flight & hotel in advance you will be not be able to show this amount and your visa will be rejected. So it is wise to make your actual bookings only after your visa is approved.
Go where your heart takes you
This is related to the second point, but you cannot plan on a whim when you make all your bookings before your travel. What if you want to extend your trip by 5 days ? You cannot since Schengen visa is issued only for the days you mention in the cover letter.
visa is granted only for the number of days you mention in your travel plan
A common misconception is that Schengen visa is issued for 90 days which is not true. Your visa will have an expiry date and the total number of days you are allowed to stay mentioned in your itinerary. It is hence wise to add a buffer of 5 days on either side of your travel to give you flexibility when you are making your travel plan. Our hotel bookings will help you achieve the same.