Getting a travel itinerary for visa application is the most difficult and confusing part of the visa process. Consulates insist on providing 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 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 until your visa application is approved.
If consulates would like to see purchased tickets, they will specifically ask for them. For example, the Chile visa application mentions that you may have to show your purchased ticket on your visa approval.
BONUS: FREE Cheatsheet
Enter your name and email to download an easy-to-use cheatsheet for travel itinerary
Not every airline services every route. You have to play around with different airlines and different booking sites to avail the hold option. Below are 15 proven ways to get a travel itinerary for visa application.
Flight itinerary for visa application
01. Purchasing a refundable ticket
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 that 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”)
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 its 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 visa ticket booking website
There are quite a few online travel agents providing this service for a small fee. They can hold a reservation for up to 21 days. They also provide express service if you are in a hurry.
- Dummy Ticket | Price $19 USD | Booking valid from 14-21 days
- Onward Ticket | Price $31 USD | Booking valid for a guaranteed 14 days
Other available agents
- OneWayFly | Price $29.90 USD | Booking valid for a guaranteed 14 days
- Flight Reservation for visa | Price €25.99 EUR | Booking valid up to 21 days
- Visa Reservation | Price $55 USD | Booking valid for 14 days
- Schengen Visa Flight Reservation | Price $15 USD | Booking valid for 14 days
- Booking Reservation for Visa | Price $15 USD | Booking valid for 14 days
- Schengen Visa Itinerary | Price $30 USD | Booking valid for 14 days
- Visa Bookings | Price $15 USD | Booking valid for 14 days
- KeyFlight | Price $18.90 USD | Booking valid for 7 days
- Booking for Visa | Price $15 USD | Booking validity unknown
- Ticket Hotel Visa | Price $20 USD | Booking validity unknown
- Travel Visa Guru | Price $12 USD | Booking validity unknown
03. Using a local travel agent to hold a flight reservation
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 a maximum of 7 days.
Also Read: What to pack for international travel
04. Using award miles and hold option
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 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
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 free of charge by many 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
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
Some airlines allow you to hold your ticket for a small fee for a few days. Different airlines have different hold days and different fees. 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
- British Airways Hold Flight | 3 day hold for $10 USD
- Air France Time to Think | 3 day hold for $20 USD
- Air New Zealand Fare Hold | 3 day hold for $30 USD
- Swiss Airlines Secure Price | 3 day hold for $27 USD
- Lufthansa Secure Your Fare | 2 day hold for $25-40 USD
- Aeroflot Deferred Payment | 2 day hold for $16 USD
08. Email price quote or itinerary option from airlines
Some airlines allow you to print an itinerary or email a price quote. These look similar to a reservation that can be used for visa applications. Few examples –
This option works perfectly fine for UK 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 UK visa.
09. Free 24 hours ticket cancellation from United, Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline, etc.
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
Tickets from budget airlines, such as AirAsia cannot be canceled even when booked on Expedia/Priceline/Travelocity/Orbitz. You must read the fine print on the checkout page carefully to make sure that the ticket can be canceled 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 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 obtaining 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
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.
- Onward Ticket | Price $14 USD | Ticket valid for 48 hours | Instant booking
Other available agents
- OnewayFly | Price $18.90 USD | Ticket valid for 48 hours
- BestOnwardticket | Price $12 USD | Ticket valid for 48 hours
- AirOnwardTicket | Price $7.99 USD | Ticket valid for 36 hours
- RentOnwardTicket | Price $9 USD | Ticket valid for 72 hours
- OnwardFlights | Price $7 USD | Ticket valid for 24 hours
These are great as proof of onward travel for a 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. Using a fake ticket generator
There are a few online fake airline ticket generators. These tools generate a fake flight ticket that looks similar to the actual booking. These bookings are not real and cannot be verified.
This is an extremely risky option, so use it at your own discretion.
Available fake ticket generators
- FakeFlightTickets | Price $5 USD | Downloadable fake ticket
- KeyFlight | Free service | Downloadable fake ticket
Using dummy/fake flight tickets is illegal and against the law. If caught, you may be fined, prosecuted or jailed. Please use fake tickets at your own risk.
Easy to generate fake tickets on the fly at your convenience.
These tickets are fake and it’s against the law to use them.
12. Purchasing non-refundable flight ticket
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 the best non-refundable flight deals, use the booking sites listed below.
Available flight search engines
- Skyscanner | Great search engine to find the cheapest flight tickets
- Momondo | Also a great search engine with great discounts
You have the actual ticket. No need to worry if the consulate verifies its authenticity. Since you bought it early, it probably was cheaper than purchasing it 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
A 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.
13. Refundable or pay-at-the-property option
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.
- 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.
Not all “pay-at-check-in or pay-at-the-property” bookings are refundable. Read the description carefully when making a hotel booking.
14. Pay deposit option
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, a 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 needs to be canceled.
15. Non-refundable hotel/hostel
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 booking a non-refundable hotel. But if you see a really good hotel deal that you can’t pass up, you can probably consider it.