A flight itinerary is a crucial document for visa applications. You can get a dummy ticket or book a non-refundable flight ticket. But you risk the ticket becoming invalid or losing money in case of visa refusal. Booking fully refundable flight tickets for visa is the most sensible option.
Fully refundable flight tickets provide the option to cancel and get a refund if the visa is refused.
These tickets come at a premium. But they provide peace of mind and financial security. Whatever the outcome of your visa, refundable flight tickets protect you from financial losses.
In this article, you will learn how to book fully refundable flight tickets and how to use them for visa applications.
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What are Fully Refundable Flight Tickets?
Fully refundable flight tickets are a type of airline ticket that allows you to cancel and get a full refund of the fare. With refundable flight tickets, you can get the refund in the original payment mode rather than in airline credit.
Non-refundable flight tickets usually come with strict cancellation policies and penalties. But fully refundable flight tickets offer greater flexibility and peace of mind.
In case your visa application is refused, you can easily cancel the ticket and receive a full refund without incurring any financial losses.
Refundable tickets are also sometimes referred to as refundable fares.
Why Choose Fully Refundable Flight Tickets for Visa Applications?
There are several reasons why a fully refundable flight ticket is a feasible option for visa applications. Let’s discuss a few below.
Reason 1: Serves as a Flight Itinerary
A flight itinerary is a key requirement for any visa application. It shows that you will return to your home country or continue onward to the next destination.
A fully refundable ticket serves as a flight itinerary for any visa application. It’s a fully paid and confirmed flight ticket. So no embassy can deny it. They would readily and happily accept a refundable ticket as a flight itinerary for visa.
Reason 2: Guarantees Ticket Validity
Agents offering dummy tickets claim 2-3 weeks of validity but they cannot guarantee it. Airlines have the right to cancel such reservations in favor of paying customers. When the demand increases, the airlines can drop any reservations held in the system.
Imagine a flight itinerary becoming invalid amid a Schengen visa process. Panic strikes in!
A fully refundable ticket eliminates any such mishaps. It’s a fully paid ticket, so it remains valid for the entire duration of the visa process. After your visa approval, you can simply cancel and claim a full fund.
Reason 3: Minimizes Financial Loses
Embassies and consulates understand that you may lose the money spent on flight tickets in case of visa refusal. For this reason, they do not recommend purchasing actual flight tickets before visa approval. Instead, they recommend a flight reservation.
A flight reservation still costs money. Agents typically charge $20 for a flight itinerary. In case of visa refusal, you will lose the money spent on such itineraries
With fully refundable tickets, you can simply cancel and get a full refund. It may take some time for the refund to be credited to your account, but you will not lose any money in the process.
Reason 4: Boosts Visa Approval Chances
A fully refundable flight ticket is neither a reservation nor a dummy ticket. It’s a fully paid and confirmed flight ticket. Submitting a fully paid flight ticket conveys to the visa officer that you are serious about your travel plans.
By submitting a fully paid flight ticket, you also demonstrate that you can afford to buy a premium ticket. Thereby, showing your seriousness towards the trip.
Tips for Booking Fully Refundable Flight Tickets
To ensure a smooth and hassle-free process of booking fully refundable flight tickets for visa purposes, consider the following tips:
Tip 01: Research Airlines that Offer Fully Refundable Fares
Finding airlines that offer fully refundable tickets is the most challenging part. Airlines are slowly doing away with fully refundable fares and introducing fees for cancellations.
There are still quite several airlines that offer fully refundable fares but there may not be any for your route.
I have listed a few refundable airlines in the section below. Take a look at them and see if any of those work for your route.
Tip 02: Contact the Airline to Confirm the Refund Policy
Not all refundable flight tickets are “fully” refundable. Meaning, airlines charge a fee to cancel the tickets. Check the fare rules to make sure it’s fully refundable. Things such as “refunds are permitted with a fee”, etc are red flags.
Even if a fare says “fully refundable”, call the airlines to confirm if there will be any admin fee to cancel and get a full refund.
It’s necessary to call the airline before booking fully refundable tickets.
Tip 03: Book Directly with the Airline
When booking fully refundable tickets, always book directly with the airline. This way you will have full control of the booking and cancellation process.
Avoid booking on flight search aggregators and booking websites. These sites do not have control over ticket cancellations and they will have their fee for cancellations.
Which Airlines Offer Fully Refundable Flight Tickets?
Most premium airlines offer fully refundable tickets. Though some of these airlines are doing away with fully refundable fares, there are still plenty of airlines that offer fully refundable and cancellable flight tickets.
I did not verify every airline mentioned below. Please do your due diligence before booking with them.
|Region||Airline||Fully Refundable Fare Type|
|North America||United Airlines||Economy (Fully Refundable)|
|Southwest Airlines||Anytime Fare|
|Aeorméxico||Flexible AM Plus|
|South America||LATAM Airlines||Top|
|Air France||Economy Flex|
|Aegean Airlines||Business Class|
|Asia||Malaysia Airlines||Economy Flex|
|Vietnam Airlines||Business Flex|
|Korean Air||Prestige Flex|
Personal Experience and Case Studies
I have booked fully refundable fight tickets for various visas. I promptly canceled and claimed a full refund after I received my visa. Let’s look at the airlines I have used and the visas I have applied for.
Case Study 1: Mexico Visa
For my Mexico visa, I have booked fully refundable flight tickets on Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines offers “Anytime” fare which is fully refundable. I booked round-trip tickets from Chicago to Cancun for the visa.
After I received my Mexico visa, I canceled my ticket and received a full refund of the fare within a week.
Case Study 2: Canada Visa
For my Canada visa, I have booked a one-way fully refundable ticket on Etihad Airways. Etihad used to offer fully refundable fares.
After I received my Canada visa, I tried to cancel the ticket. I learned that Etihad charges an admin fee to cancel and refund fully refundable tickets. It was only $30 but it taught me a good lesson. Never book fully refundable tickets without contacting the airline first to confirm their refund policy.
Yes, the refund policy will be buried somewhere in the fine print, but it’s straightforward to call the airline and confirm.
Case Study 3: Schengen Visa
For my Schengen visa, I have booked a round-trip ticket on CheapOair. It was on an airline that’s now a charter airline. It was a fully refundable fare but learned that CheapOair charges an admin fee to cancel flight tickets. The service charge was $150. I learned a valuable lesson from that experience. Never book fully refundable flight tickets on booking sites. Always book them directly with the airline.
Some booking sites may not charge to cancel tickets, but it’s easy to deal with if you booked directly with the airlines.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I get a full refund on my ticket if my visa is rejected?
Depends on whether it’s a non-refundable or fully refundable flight ticket. If it’s a fully refundable ticket, then yes. You can cancel and receive a full refund of your flight ticket in case your visa is refused.
Are fully refundable tickets more expensive than non-refundable ones?
Yes. Fully refundable tickets are priced much higher than non-refundable tickets. The higher price is due to the added flexibility of cancellation without incurring any penalties or fees.
Can I book fully refundable tickets for any destination?
Fully refundable tickets are available for most destinations. However, the availability of refundable fare options varies depending on the airline and the specific route. For example, none of the airlines servicing Australia offer fully refundable tickets. In the event of the non-availability of fully refundable fares for a destination, use a flight reservation or dummy ticket for your visa.
How long does it take to receive a refund for a fully refundable ticket?
The time taken to receive a refund for a fully refundable ticket varies depending on the airline and the payment method used. It can range from a few days to a few weeks. Before you even book your ticket, contact the airline for specific information and refund processing times.
Is it possible to change the travel dates on a fully refundable ticket?
Fully refundable tickets are also changeable. Meaning, you can change the travel dates without incurring penalties or fees. However, the airlines may charge a fare difference if the new travel dates fall under a higher price category than your old dates.
Booking fully refundable flight tickets for visa is a wise decision. Fully refundable flight tickets provide the option to cancel and get a refund if the visa is refused. Irrespective of the outcome of your visa, refundable tickets protect you from any financial losses.
Fully refundable flight tickets not only serve as a flight itinerary for visa but also guarantee flight ticket validity and minimize the financial impact due to visa refusals. They also help boost your visa approval chances. Start by researching the airlines that offer refundable flight tickets for your route. Make sure to call the airlines to confirm their refund policy before booking.