Guide: Hotel Reservations For Your Schengen Visa Application
What Is A Hotel Reservation For Your Schengen Visa Application?
A “Hotel Reservation” for your Schengen Visa application shows proof that you have a room ready for you in a specific hotel where you are going to stay during your trip to Europe.
The hotel reservation is the most common proof of accommodation that those who travel within the Schengen Region choose to submit, especially for tourism and business purposes.
Submitting a Visa hotel reservation (or any other proof of accommodation) is a mandatory requirement for all Member States.
When you apply for a Visa, you are allowed to reserve a room in any type of establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis (e.g. Airbnb, motel, hostel, B&B, etc.)
Visa Application Procedure – Proof Of Accommodation
Typically, Schengen Embassies/Consulates accept three types of proof of accommodation:
- Hotel booking or reservation (this guide)
- A sponsorship letter or sponsorship accommodation letter from a host who can provide you with accommodation within the Schengen Region (on some websites, the letter written by a sponsor is called an “invitation letter”. However, an invitation letter does not provide you with accommodation).
- Evidence of a prepaid tour that occurs over multiple nights and contains the details of your payment and itinerary provided by your tour operator (please note that travel companies should be able to provide you with a detailed day-to-day travel itinerary).
However, most Visa applicants choose to book a hotel when applying for a tourist Visa as they have their own travel plans and prefer organising their trip to Europe themselves.
Booking Vs. Reservation – Can You Make A Hotel Reservation Without Paying?
It is important for you to know that there is a difference between “booking” and “reservation”.
- A “booking” is an arrangement you make, such as a hotel room or a flight ticket and you pay 100% upfront for it.
- A “reservation” is the arrangement you make, such as a hotel room or a flight ticket without you paying in advance but having it blocked from anyone else being able to book it. Once your Visa is approved, you can fully make your payment.
It is not necessary for you to submit hotel booking for Visa and pay for your room in advance because, in the unfortunate event of Visa rejection, you risk losing your money.
Therefore, you are allowed to submit proof that you reserved a room in a hotel without the need of paying upfront for the booking.
The same rule is valid for your flight itinerary for Visa: according to the Visa application procedure, you can submit flight reservations instead of flight bookings without you paying in advance for them.
Nevertheless, the difference between “booking” and “reservation” is more important when it comes to your flight tickets (because just a few airlines allow you to make a flight reservation that you do not need to pay for). But most hotels will not ask you to pay in advance for your room or will offer you a refundable option (unless you do not find a non-refundable offer on one of the websites that offer hotel reservation services).
Even though you have to provide the details of your credit card as a guarantee when reserving a hotel room, no charge will be made to your credit card.
Your card number is held against a cancellation that can violate the hotel’s cancellation policy.
Therefore, it will not be difficult for you to find accommodation in the city or cities within the Schengen Area you plan to travel to without you paying in advance.
Please note that you need to submit the hotel bookings or reservations for each city you plan to visit in order to get your Visa.
For example, if you’re going to visit three different cities within the Schengen Region (no matter if they are in the same country or in different countries) you must submit three hotel reservations.
Important: If you need help and do not want to make the reservations for the entire trip to Europe yourself you can also book your flight and hotel itinerary through Visas Association for one flat rate for up to 30 days of travel (we also include your Schengen Travel Insurance in your package).
If you are interested in our flight, hotel and insurance package, please contact us and we would be more than happy to help. We ensure a 24 hours delivery for all of our services.
The Importance Of The Hotel Reservation For Your Schengen Visa Application
Your hotel reservations are important supporting documents demanded by the Visa officers to determine that an applicant has accommodation in the destined Schengen country.
These documents are extremely important for your Visa application for the following reasons:
● It proves that you are able to sustain yourself during the course of your stay in the Schengen Region
The Visa officers need proof that you have enough means of subsistence and are able to cover all of your expenses during your trip to the Schengen Region.
Your hotel reservation shows strong evidence that you can sustain yourself while travelling through the Schengen Region and you won’t be a burden for the Schengen countries.
Of course, they will also need additional proof that you can afford to cover all of the other expenses during your trip, such as your last 6 months of bank statements and various employment documents indicating your salary – Your last 6 months payslips or salary slips, your employment contract, or the Certificate of Employment (COE) from your employer.
● Hotel reservations bring additional proof of your travel dates and duration of stay
The main purpose of the Embassy/Consulate officers is to ensure you won’t overstay within the Schengen countries.
Their duty is to check your travel dates and your duration of stay and ensure that they match all of the documents you provide, such as your airline reservations or the approved leave of absence from your employer.
For example, if you plan on spending 20 days in the Schengen Region you must submit hotel reservations that show you will have accommodation for the entire time, meaning all of the 19 nights – This is because when you count the number of days you are going to spend in the Schengen Area you must add the day of arrival and the day of departure as well. The day you arrive in the Schengen Region you will definitely need accommodation but this won’t be necessary the day you exit the Region.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Submitting Hotel Reservations For Your Schengen Visa Application
● Your hotel reservation does not fit your budget
When you submit your documents for your Visa application, you must prove to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you have enough money to cover all of your expenses during your trip within the Schengen Region.
Therefore, you must submit your last 6 months of bank statements as well as the employment documents indicating your salary (or, if you are unemployed, you must provide the last 6 months bank statements of your sponsor).
So, the Embassy/Consulate can check if the price of the room fits your budget.
For example, if you show the Embassy/Consulate officers that you have 50 or 60 EUR to spend per day during your trip (as a general rule, this is the minimum amount you should have for each day of your trip but for further details you can check our Financial Means Test) and you book a 5-star hotel room that is extremely expensive, you may raise some suspicions.
● Using a fake hotel booking for Schengen Visa
You may have read online that you are allowed to submit a dummy hotel booking confirmation for your Visa application.
However, dummy hotel bookings for Visa (despite the term “dummy”) are not fake. For most of these websites, a dummy hotel reservation is a reservation you make in a specific hotel without paying upfront or paying just a symbolic fee to reserve a room.
So, you must not submit a reservation with a fake booking number (for example, hotel reservations that you get by filling a template or using an online hotel booking generator).
The Visa officers are free to call the hotel and check if your booking confirmation is authentic. Using a fake reservation can cost you the approval of your Schengen Visa.
● Not submitting any proof of accommodation in case you plan to travel by van
Some Visa applicants like travelling by van or sleeping in a tent. However, for some Embassies/Consulates, a van is not considered an accommodation form that is acceptable for your travel Visa application.
Visa applications that do not meet accommodation requirements may get rejected.
Therefore, you must submit a hotel reservation (which could be a camping ground you have booked each night to park your van), a sponsorship accommodation letter from a person you know within the Schengen Region and who can provide you with accommodation, or the evidence of a prepaid tour.
● Submitting your hotel reservation without checking if your confirmation number is valid
Sometimes, a hotel’s website can make a mistake.
So, we highly recommend you check if your confirmation number is valid by calling the hotel or writing an email.
Embassy/Consulate officers will check if the number is valid and, in the unfortunate event that a mistake occurred on the hotel’s website, they may believe that your hotel reservation is fake and you will not be able to get a Visa.
● Having a room booked or reserved also for your day of departure
The number of days you spend in a hotel does not have to match perfectly the number of days you spend within the Schengen Region.
Remember that a hotel room can be booked per night. Let’s assume, for example, that you stay between 3 and 10 of June within the Schengen Region. This means that you are going to spend 8 days in the Schengen Region as you must count your day of arrival and your day of departure as well.
Your hotel reservation must show that you have a room reserved for 7 nights. No matter the hour, on 10 of June you will check out of your hotel, leave your room and go to the airport, meaning that for that day no reservation is necessary.
If you submit a hotel reservation that shows you reserved your hotel room for the day of your departure as well, this might raise some red flags.
This mistake won’t necessarily lead to the rejection of your Visa but the Embassy/Consulate officers may think that you are not really interested in planning and organising your trip to the Schengen Region as you do not pay attention to all the details regarding your trip (which may raise suspicions).
● Dates on your hotel booking do not match the dates on your other documents
Your travelling dates mentioned on all of the documents you submit at the Embassy/Consulate must match (as well as your full name and other details).
For example, the dates on your hotel reservation must match the dates on your flight reservation, the travel dates you filled out on your Schengen Visa application form, and the leave dates on your No Objection Letter (NOC) from your employer.
In other words, all your documents must show consistency. Any error you make by mistake when making your hotel and flight reservations can lead to the rejection of your Schengen Visa.
So, we strongly recommend you double-check your arrival and departure dates on your hotel reservation, as mistakes can occur especially if you’re changing the time zone.
● Hotel reservations show a lack of consistency
Embassy/Consulate officers are trained to spot any kind of inconsistency on your documents that might raise suspicions.
Make sure you double-check (or even triple-check) all your documents before you submit them.
For example, if you visit more cities within the Schengen Region, and reserve a room in a 2-star hotel that costs 30 EUR per night and another room in a 5-star hotel that costs 300 EUR per night you may raise suspicions.
Although you are free to choose any type of hotel that meets your needs, we recommend you show consistency when you make different hotel reservations.
Here is another example of lack of consistency: you plan to travel with your family (spouse and/or children) within the Schengen Region, and you reserve just one single room with only one queen size bed.
Although these details may not be written on your hotel reservation, the Embassy/Consulate officers are free to request the hotel’s representatives to provide them with information about the room you reserved when calling to check if your confirmation number is valid.
Please also note that the details on your hotel confirmation letter must show consistency with the answers you give the Embassy officers during the Visa interview.