Guide – Prepaid Package Tour For A Schengen Visa Application
What Is A Prepaid Tour For The Schengen Visa Application?
A “Prepaid Tour” for the Schengen Visa application is a prepaid package tour (a package vacation or package holiday) that you can use as proof of accommodation, transport, and travel itinerary when you apply for your Schengen Visa.
In other words, a prepaid tour is a pre-arrangement for your trip or journey to the Schengen Area.
When you are applying for a tourist Visa, you can either plan your entire trip yourself or rely on the services of a tour operator. Outside of transport and accommodation, a tour operator can provide other services as well, such as a rental car, or specific activities during the day.
A travel agency or tour operator can provide various tour packages, such as incentive tours (tours offered as a prize – many companies use them to stimulate the productivity of the employees), cruise tours, educational tours, etc.
They can also be divided into independent tours (for tourists who like to travel independently) and group tours (for people who agree to having a travel experience with others).
If you plan to travel to the Schengen Area and choose a prepaid tour instead of organising your trip yourself, you should firstly know that you are free to choose any type of tour and services you prefer.
Secondly, you should be aware that your Schengen Visa application process won’t change, even if you book a package holiday – you will still have to submit a set of mandatory required documents (e.g., passport valid for at least 3 months beyond your planned stay in the Schengen Area, Visa application form, employment contract or letter of sponsorship, birth certificate and/or marriage certificate, bank account statements, etc.).
The only difference is that your tour operator will provide you with the following documents for your Schengen Visa application:
- Proof of transport (please note that some travel agencies do not include international flights in their packages)
- Proof of accommodation
- Day-to-day travel itinerary
- Valid medical insurance (most tour operators do not provide insurance but we suggest asking your tour operator if they provide it and if it is included in the vacation package you choose. Alternatively, you can ask them if they have insurance partners they can refer you to, who can provide you with Schengen insurance.)
If you choose a tour operator to organise your trip to the Schengen Area you must submit evidence of the prepaid tour.
This requirement is mandatory for all the Embassies/Consulates as proof of transport and accommodation, as well as your day-to-day travel itinerary – which are some of the most important Schengen Visa required documents.
Please note that some tour operators can provide you with important last updated Visa information.
Thus, you should ask if they can provide information on where you need to apply for your Schengen Visa according to the Member State you will enter first, the “90 days in a 180-day period” rule (for more details about this tule, please visit this link), and other relevant information concerning the Schengen Visa requirements.
The Importance Of Prepaid Tour Evidence For Your Schengen Visa
Schengen Visa officers are not interested in how you chose to organise your trip to the Schengen Area, as long as you can prove you have enough funds to cover all of your expenses and you provide proof of your intentions to return to your country of residence.
However, a prepaid tour can have one advantage to the Schengen Visa officers in comparison with a trip organised by yourself: the fact that it includes all of your expenses (most packages you choose include your meals, transport, hotels, daily activities, etc.).
However, you will still have to submit your bank statements or your sponsor’s bank statements, and other additional documents to prove that you have enough funds to cover all of your expenses.
If you choose to travel to a Schengen country using a prepaid tour, it is important to bring proof of your payment (even if the tour operator requests you to pay 100% upfront, we recommend you always choose a package you can refund).
The Schengen Visa officers require evidence that you have booked a vacation package for the following reasons:
● It provides strong evidence of your travel purpose
Providing evidence that you booked a holiday package helps the Schengen Visa officers understand that you actually are a tourist who wants to visit the top-rated attractions in the Schengen Territory.
It is extremely important for them to know the purpose of your trip, as it helps validate that you intend to return to your country of residence.
In other words, if you can adequately prove that you are an applicant travelling for tourism purposes, there will be no doubt that you have no intention to stay in the Schengen Area illegally.
● It provides evidence of your means of subsistence
When reviewing your application, Embassies/Consulates want to check that you have enough money to cover all of your expenses throughout your stay in the Schengen Area and you won’t be a travel risk for the countries you will be travelling to.
Your prepaid package brings strong evidence of your financial means, showing that most of your expenses will be covered upfront, such as accommodation, transport, some daily activities, etc.
● It helps Visa officers understand you travel dates
Your prepaid vacation package will help the Schengen Visa officers understand your travel dates, which are extremely important in order for them to decide the length of your Visa’s validity.
They will also check the details of your tour to ensure consistency with the other information and documents you have submitted (for example, your travel dates must match the dates on the approved leave of absence from your employer – in case you are employed).
How To Get Prepaid Tour Evidence From Your Tour Operator For Your Schengen Visa Application
First of all, you should know that submitting a simple invoice that proves you have paid for a trip to Europe (100% upfront or partially) is not enough.
Schengen Visa officers need to check the details of your:
- Proof of transport (whether you will be travelling by plane, ship, bus, etc.)
- Proof of accommodation (e.g., hotel reservation)
- Day-to-day itinerary
- Schengen medical insurance valid for all Member States
Please note that the above-mentioned documents are required whether you will be travelling with a tour operator or organise your trip to the Schengen countries yourself.
Therefore, your tour operator should prove all of these details. However, do not forget that:
- Most tour operators do not provide medical insurance meaning you may need to acquire it from a separate company.
- Most tour operators do not include international flights in their packages and therefore you will have to submit your flight reservations as a separate document in case you will be travelling by plane.
- If you will be travelling through the Schengen Territory independently – Before and after your booked the tour, you need to include flights, accommodation and insurance for these dates as well,
We suggest you discuss with your tour operator and ask what is included in your vacation package.
Secondly, it is recommended that you use a reputable tour operator, as they are more likely to know what evidence you must submit to the Embassy/Consulate for a Schengen Visa and they will provide you with all of the necessary documents.
To get the complete set of evidence of your prepaid tour, you must contact your tour operator and ask them to provide you with the documents listed below, that is printed on paper with their tour agency in the letterhead, which also contains the logo of the tour agency (if they didn’t send them to you already).
If you already have detailed evidence of your trip, you should simply print off the documents and submit them to the Embassy.
Also, all these details can be included in one single invoice that shows the price of the tour and the details of your transport/accommodation/day-to-day itinerary or can be separated into various documents.
For example, you can submit an invoice that only shows the price of your tour and separate documents showing the details of your trip.
If you have not chosen a tour package already – we suggest you search on the Internet and find the most reputable tour operators in your country.
Also, you can choose a vacation package based on the prior experience of your friends or relatives.
Next, create a short-list containing a few trustworthy tour operators and check their websites to compare offers and prices.
Once you decide on a specific vacation package, you can follow the steps on the agency’s website in order to book the tour. Alternatively, you can contact them and ask them to guide you.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing & Submitting Prepaid Tour Evidence For Your Schengen Visa
- Not choosing a vacation package well in advance
Do not forget that it will take a bit of time to prepare all of your documents for your Schengen Visa.
Also, Embassies/Consulates can take up to 15 days to review your documents and process your application.
So, make sure that you choose a holiday package well in advance (we recommend you choose a holiday package where the departure date is fixed at least 6 weeks from the moment you decide to book your prepaid tour and organise your documents for your Schengen Visa application).
- Assuming that your vacation package will replace other relevant documents that you must submit
The Schengen Visa requirements stay the same no matter whether you choose to organise your trip by yourself or to acquire a prepaid tour.
Submitting evidence of a holiday package does not mean that you do not need to submit other important documents (such as insurance for medical emergencies with a minimum coverage of 30,000 EUR – in case your tour operator does not provide it to you – or your employment documents), they are still mandatory.
Also, be aware that some tour operators will require you to have medical insurance prior to booking a tour.
If you show your tour operator your insurance in order to be allowed to book a tour, it does not mean that you do not need to submit your insurance to the Embassy/Consulate as well.
- Submitting just an invoice that proves you paid for your vacation package
This is the biggest mistake you can make. If you do not show the Schengen Visa officers all the details of your trip, you risk the rejection of your application.
A simple invoice does not show the details of your accommodation (which is important, as they prove that you have a place to stay while travelling to the Schengen Zone) or other details of your trip, such as your internal travels and your daily activities.