What is proof of accommodation and how do I get it for a Schengen Visa?
When applying for a visa to the Schengen Area of countries that have abolished border arrangements between each other you will need to provide supporting documents. These include Schengen Visa proof of accommodation documentation.
What documents do I need for Schengen Visa proof of accomodation?
Officials at embassies, consulates or visa application centers will require you to provide documentation that can include the following:
- Evidence you have a place to stay, such as a hotel or hostel booking reservation.
- Evidence of an invitation from your host (proof of sponsorship).
- Evidence of a prepaid tour.
Schengen Visa proof of accommodation rules are applied by each country in the Schengen Area as one of the requirements of proving you can support yourself during your stay.
You will be required to submit these documents as part of your Schengen Visa application and have them with you for your visa application interview appointment.
Proving you have booked a hotel during your stay
One of the simplest ways to prove you have a place to stay in a Schengen Area country is to provide a booking reservation in the form of email confirmation from the hotel or hostel where you have reserved your bed or room.
You should be careful when checking if your confirmation number is valid, as the authorities will investigate this information and will refuse your application, possibly with a further penalty, if it does not check out. Therefore, you should contact the hotel via email or over the phone to ensure this is correct.
Will I need to pay to make a hotel reservation before I know if I will receive a Schengen Visa?
Most reputable booking agencies will either allow you to pay a small deposit or fee to book your hotel room, allowing you to receive confirmation. Alternatively, you can check if your hotel will offer a full or partial refund if you cancel your booking within a certain time period.
Are there any alternatives to getting a booking confirmation from my hotel or hostel?
While technology means it is possible to fake or alter a booking confirmation, if you are caught by checks on your booking’s validity, your visa will be immediately refused and you may face rejection from traveling to the Schengen Area in future. You should ask yourself if the risk is worth taking - as it could prove much more costly if you are unable to obtain a refund on your application fee, flight reservations, and the costs of any other documents and logistics associated with your application.
How do I provide evidence of a prepaid tour when showing Schengen Visa proof of accommodation?
You should do so in a similar way to a hotel booking confirmation - except to go through your tour operator. Ask them to provide confirmation of your bookings so you can pass them onto those dealing with your Schengen Visa application. Again, it is vital to check that you are using a reputable tour operator, as if your bookings are not valid, this will jeopardize your Schengen Visa application.
How can a sponsorship letter provide me with Schengen Visa proof of accommodation?
If your accommodation will be covered by friends or family living in a Schengen country, then you must include a letter of invitation that outlines your proof of accommodation. The letter must have your invitee’s signature and be approved by local officials. They will also be required to provide their passport, as well as, in the case of family members, proof of their relationship to you such as a birth or marriage certificate.
Is there anything else I need to know about Schengen Visa proof of accommodation?
You will also need to submit documents proving your means of subsistence during your stay. An important part of this will be your proof of accommodation, which can affect the amount of funds you require to ensure your visa application is successful. Accordingly, it is very important to keep reservation documents safe and to hand when attending the interview.
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Frequently asked questions about Schengen Visa proof of accommodation
I plan to camp during my stay in the Schengen Area. Do I need proof of accommodation?
Yes. You will do - although it could be a pitch at a campsite. Alternatively you could make cheap reservations even if you intend to make other arrangements later.
If my Schengen Visa is rejected - will I receive a refund on my booking?
No you will not. So it is advised that you only pay a small reservation fee.
What if I change my arrangements during the process of making my visa application?
Your proof of accommodation documents are designed to support your application. So providing you have a similar valid reservation this should not be a problem.