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What is a flight itinerary for a Schengen Visa and how do I get one?

If you are planning to visit Europe and require a Schengen visa, officials will often ask you if you can provide a booked flight itinerary and/or flight reservation to prove your travel plans and that you will not overstay your visa. Sometimes, they might even ask you to submit the actual ticket for your visit.
Do not worry too much about confusing terms such as booked flight itinerary, air ticket booking, dummy air ticket for visa, dummy ticket, flight confirmation - all will be explained.
All these terms are used as alternative expressions to describe a single visa requirement - proof of booked flight itinerary - a document that allows you to prove your Schengen Visa flight itinerary.

Won’t I lose a lot of money if I book a flight and my Schengen Visa application is rejected?

You do not need to buy a full flight ticket before applying for your visa. Embassies and Consulate officials understand that applicants may not wish to spend lots of money on a ticket before they even know if they can travel.
Instead, officials will want a reservation or itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from a Schengen State. Some will accept the Schengen Visa flight itinerary when applying for the visa but may request the original air ticket when the visa is collected. You will have to present your Schengen Visa flight itinerary at your visa interview.
On this document must appear:

  • passenger's first and last name
  • flight number of the chosen airline
  • a reservation number or identifier
  • departure and return dates (the ticket must be round trip)
  • flight hours
  • IATA airport codes
  • the total price of the ticket

If you are confident of obtaining your Schengen Visa, and are happy to book your flight before obtaining your visa, for example, if you have applied on many occasions before, you can - and some airlines offer tickets with the option of cancellation and refunds, although these tend to be more expensive than standard tickets.
However, there is nothing to be concerned about if this is not your preferred option as there are plenty of ways to obtain a flight itinerary without buying a costly flight ticket.
It is important to remember before you hand over your documents that your flight itinerary should be plausible. It must be consistent with your travel dates and your activities must be arranged in a way that fits with your plans and the purpose of your visit - because if not, it may contribute to the rejection your visa application.

Dummy flight tickets

Some airline companies won’t charge you a fee for getting one ‘dummy flight Itinerary’ with a reservation number, but typically, you need to pay a fee to get a booking or reservation.

Reserving a flight ticket with a local travel agent

Even though your local travel agent will charge you a small fee for their service - typically 10 percent of the full price - this is a very good option since they are capable of holding a travel ticket for periods of seven days or even more.

Reserving an airline ticket with a hold option

Not all airlines offer flight reservation booking, so one should research to find the right one that offers such services. There are, however, some that will hold your tickets for a small fee from $10 to $30. The length of the time they will hold the ticket depends on the airline, but most of them can hold your ticket for around three days, although some will do so for longer. This can be ideal if you need to present your flight booking at your visa interview.

Reserving online with airline booking websites

Some airlines will hold reservations for up to 48 hours, but you should call to check this is the case - even if advertised as an option - to ensure it is not for specific customers or flights. Booking agencies also often offer to hold a ticket for up to three days for free. You should check which are the best companies to use for this service in your home country.

Request a visa refusal refund guarantee

 For information: in case of visa refusal, some airlines agree to fully reimburse the ticket even if it is "non-refundable". Check directly with the airlines.

Congratulations! You know how to obtain a Schengen Visa flight itinerary for your trip to Europe.

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Frequently asked questions (FAQS) about getting a Schengen Visa flight itinerary

Is it best to buy a flight ticket or get a reservation?

There is no problem with buying a ticket before making your Schengen Visa application - but you should be aware that you may not receive a refund.

Is a one-way flight ticket reservation acceptable?

No. Part of the reason you are asked to submit a Schengen Visa flight itinerary is to prove you will return to your home country and not overstay your visa.

Can I change my flight booking after I have submitted my visa application?

Providing your flight dates do not change it is unlikely to cause a problem. However changes to your dates of entry may invalidate your visa - meaning you could need to reapply.