Getting a travel itinerary for visa application is the most difficult and confusing parts of the visa process. Consulates insist on providing with confirmed flight and hotel bookings. But they do not recommend purchasing an actual ticket. They just want an itinerary. Did you see how confusing is that?
Often times the consulates ask for one of these –
- Flight tickets
- Flight itinerary
- Flight confirmation
- Confirmed flight tickets
- Confirmed flight itinerary
- Round trip flight tickets
- Proof of onward travel
They all mean the same thing. “Flight tickets”. Consulates understand the fact that a visa application does not result in a guaranteed approval. Therefore, they only recommend you to “hold” a flight reservation, not actually “purchase” the flight tickets.
If your visa application is denied or delayed, you will lose the money that you have spent on the flight tickets. Airlines and insurance providers do not consider visa denial as a reason for refund claims. So, do not purchase your flight tickets till your visa application is approved.
If consulates would like to see purchased tickets, they will specifically ask for it. For example, Chile visa application mentions that you may have to show your purchased ticket on visa approval.
Not every airline service every route. You have to play around with different airlines and different booking sites to avail the hold option. Below are 14 proven ways to get a travel itinerary for visa application.
Flight itinerary for visa application
01. Purchasing a refundable ticket
Refundable flight tickets on Aeromexico
This is the best and foolproof option for your flight itinerary. A refundable ticket is a purchased ticket. No one can question its authenticity.
Most airlines offer this option at a higher price. Usually 5-10 times higher than a non-refundable or sale ticket. Most airlines process refunds fairly quickly within a few days to a few weeks.
One thing to keep in mind is even though it’s a refundable ticket, some booking sites and airlines charge a fee to cancel the tickets. Few examples –
- Cheapoair (Cancellation fee is $150 USD)
- Etihad Airways (Cancellation fee is $75 USD on “refundable” tickets. Etihad calls this some kind of “tax”)
Pro tip: Always purchase a refundable ticket directly from the airline website. I suggest you call the airline first inquiring about the cancellation policy of their refundable tickets.
A refundable ticket is a valid ticket. You do not need to worry about the consulate verifying it’s authenticity.
You need to pay for the ticket first which usually is about 5-10 times more than a sale price ticket. Refunds take from a few days to a few weeks depending on the airline. You also need to keep the credit card open to receive the refund.
02. Using a local travel agent to hold a flight reservation
Kim Travel, a local travel agent in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This is the second best method. Travel agents can hold tickets for up to 7 days. They may charge a small fee for this service.
For just a small fee, you can hold a flight ticket for as long as 7 days.
This option is good only if the visa processing takes maximum 7 days.
Also Read: What to pack for international travel
03. Using a visa ticket booking website
Travel Visa Bookings, an online travel agent
There are quite a few online travel agents providing this service for a small fee. They can hold the ticket for up to 7 days. They also provide express service if you are in a hurry.
- Rent-A-Flight Ticket | Fee $30 / €24
- Flight Reservation for visa | Fee €25.99
- Dream Euro Trip | Fee €25.99
- Travel Visa Guru | Fee $14 USD
- Visa Reservation | Fee $35 USD
- Schengen Visa Flight Reservation | Fee $15 USD
- Booking for Visa | Fee $15 USD
- Ticket Hotel Visa | Fee $20 USD
- KeyFlight | Fee $19.90 USD
04. Using award miles and hold option
Award miles flight ticket hold option on American Airlines
Some airlines will let you hold your reservation for up to 5 days if you are purchasing an award ticket or using your airline miles. The held reservation is a printable itinerary that you can use for your visa application. The reservation might say that it needs to be purchased within a given time. But, it is still an acceptable option for visa applications. Few examples –
- American Airlines | Free hold up to 5 days using AAdvantage miles
This option works perfectly fine for visa applications. This service is offered free of charge for the airline award members.
You must have a frequent flyer account and a few thousand miles to avail this option. It may not be useful for visa applications that take longer than 5 days to approve.
05. Free ticket hold option by airlines
Free flight ticket hold option on Copa Airlines
Quite a few airlines have the option to hold a fare for up to 48 hours.
- Copa Airlines | Free hold for 48 hours
- American Airlines | Free hold for 24 hours
- United Airlines | Free hold for 24 hours with pay-in-person option
- Turkish Airlines | Free hold for 24 hours or more
- Aeroflot | Free hold for 24 hours with cash option
This service is offered for free of charge by the airlines.
This option may not be used for visa applications that take longer than 2 days to approve.
06. Free ticket hold option by online booking sites
Free flight ticket hold option on Yatra.com
There are some online booking sites that let you hold a reservation for free.
- Yatra.com | Free 3 day hold. Yatra is an India based booking website, but anyone can hold and book international tickets
07. Ticket hold option for a fee by airlines
United Airlines Farelock option
Some airlines allow you to hold your ticket for a small fee for a few days. Different airlines have different hold days and different fee. Usually, the fee is $5-20 USD depending on the hold days.
- United Airlines Farelock | 3 day hold for $6.99 USD and 7 day hold for $8.99 USD
- Aeroflot Deferred Payment | 2 day hold for about $16 USD
- Air New Zealand Fare Hold | 3 day hold for $30 USD
08. Email price quote or itinerary option from airlines
British Airways price quote email
Some airlines allow you to print an itinerary or email a price quote. These look similar to a reservation which can be used for visa application. Few examples –
This option works perfectly fine for United Kingdom visa applications. I have used a British Airways price quote email for my UK visa application and it worked fine. The UK is not asking for flight itineraries anymore for their visa applications. If they do for some reason, you can always use this option.
You may not be able to use this option for visas other than the UK.
09. Free 24 hours ticket cancellation from United, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.
United Airlines free cancellation within 24hrs
A few airlines and online ticket booking websites provide options for free cancellation within 24 hours of booking. These sites allow you to cancel a flight ticket within 24 hours of booking. Few examples –
- United Airlines | Free cancellation within 24 hours of booking
- Expedia | Free cancellation within 24 hours of booking
- Priceline | Free cancellation within 24 hours of booking
- Orbitz | Free cancellation within 24 hours of booking
- Travelocity | Free cancellation within 24 hours of booking
- Yatra | Free cancellation within the same day of booking
Pro tip: Tickets from budget airlines, such as Airasia cannot be cancelled even when booked on Expedia/Priceline/Orbitz. You must read the fine print on the checkout page carefully to make sure that the ticket can be cancelled for free within 24 hours. For more information, check out my step-by-step guide on how to book flight tickets with 24 hour FREE cancellation on Expedia
This is a great option as a proof of onward travel or return ticket if you are availing Visa on Arrival. You have to time it well so that you are still in the 24 hours period when availing the Visa on Arrival. You can cancel the ticket right after you complete your Visa on Arrival formality.
These tickets must be canceled within 24 hours. After that, you cannot cancel and cannot get a refund. This option may not be used for visa applications that take longer than 24 hours.
10. Using an onward ticket booking agency
Best Onward Ticket, an online onward flight ticket booking agent
There are a few onward ticket booking sites that provide this service for a small fee. They cancel the ticket after 24 hours on your behalf.
- BestOnwardticket | 48 hours valid ticket for $12 USD
- OnwardFlights | 24 hours valid ticket for $7 USD
- OnewayFly | 48 hours or more valid ticket for €20 EUR
- ReturnFlights | Free service, downloadable dummy/fake tickets *
- NomadProof | Free service, downloadable dummy/fake tickets *
- KeyFlight | Free service, downloadable dummy/fake tickets *
- FakeFlightTickets | Free service, downloadable dummy/fake tickets *
* Use of dummy/fake tickets is illegal and against the law. If caught, you may be fined, prosecuted or jailed. So please use fake tickets at your own risk.
These are great as a proof of onward travel for visa on arrival. You have to time it properly so the ticket is still valid while going through the visa on arrival formality. For a small fee, you will have a legitimate and verifiable flight ticket.
This option may not be used for visa applications that take longer than 24 hours.
11. Purchasing non-refundable flight ticket
Non-refundable flights on Skyscanner.com
Purchase non-refundable flight tickets only if you are 100% certain that your visa will be approved. I have booked non-refundable flight tickets myself a few times. But, I was applying for a visa that I have applied a few times before and approved.
For best non-refundable flight deals, use the booking site listed below.
You have the actual ticket. No need to worry if the consulate verifies it’s authenticity. Since you bought it early, it probably was cheaper than purchasing after the visa approval.
In the case of visa denial, you will lose the money since the ticket is a non-refundable ticket.
Hotel itinerary for visa application
Hotel itinerary is much easier to obtain than a flight itinerary. Many hotels and most hotel booking websites offer refundable or pay-at-check-in options.
12. Refundable or pay-at-the-property option
Refundable or pay-at-the-property hotels on Expedia.com
These options sometimes do not even require credit card information. Just make a note of when the booking needs to be canceled. Create a calendar reminder to make sure you cancel these bookings right after your visa approval. Few examples –
- Expedia | Refundable and/or pay-at-the-property
- Booking.com | Refundable and/or pay-at-the-property
- Agoda | Refundable and/or pay-at-the-property
- Orbitz | Refundable and/or pay-at-the-property
No pre-payment is necessary. Just book refundable hotels/hostels and cancel once your visa is approved.
You have to remember the date by which the reservation needs to be canceled. Otherwise, you will be charged for the booking.
Note: Not all “pay-at-check-in or pay-at-the-property” bookings are refundable. Read the description carefully when making a hotel booking.
13. Pay deposit option
Pay deposit on Hotelworld.com
Some booking sites let you hold a reservation by paying a small deposit upfront. You pay about 20% of the booking as a non-refundable deposit. You can cancel the booking after your visa application is approved. You will lose the deposit, but if you pick a cheap dorm room for a few days, 20% deposit will not be that much.
- HostelWorld | 20% non-refundable deposit
For a small deposit, you can book a hostel dorm bed. You can cancel it right after your visa is approved.
20% is still a big amount if booking in cities like Paris where a dorm bed costs about €10.00 per night. You must make sure to remember the date by which the reservation need to be canceled.
14. Non-refundable hotel/hostel
Non-refundable hotels on Expedia.com
Book a non-refundable hotel/hostel only if you are 100% certain that your visa application will be approved.
If you are re-applying for a visa that was approved previously with the same documentation, then there is a good chance that your visa application will be approved this time as well.
Even in this case, I do not suggest to book a non-refundable hotel. But if you see a really good hotel deal that you can’t pass up, you can probably consider.