A hotel reservation is an essential document for tourist visas. It serves as proof of accommodation for the visa application. A hotel reservation for visa can be obtained from any booking website, with or without paying the full price.
Embassies and consulates often refer to a hotel reservation as:
- Proof of accommodation
- Hotel booking
- Hotel itinerary
- Hotel voucher
All these terms basically mean the same thing, hotel reservation.
In this article, you will learn everything about hotel reservation for visa and how to obtain one for your visa application.
Table of Contents
BONUS: FREE eBOOK
Enter your name and email to download the FREE eBOOK: The Secret to VISA-FREE Travel
What is a hotel reservation for visa?
A hotel reservation for visa is a booking made at a hotel in your name that can be submitted as proof of accommodation for visa application. This reservation can be paid or unpaid and must be verifiable if necessary.
Your hotel booking must be active during the entire period of the visa process. In the event of verification by the embassy, the hotel must be able to confirm that there is an active booking in their system. The embassy may refuse your visa if they cannot validate your hotel reservation.
Why do embassies ask for a hotel itinerary?
Embassies and consulates ask for hotel reservations primarily to understand your itinerary. Embassies can also assess your intentions for the trip from your hotel reservations.
Hotel bookings enable the consulates to understand your itinerary, places you plan to visit and the number of days you plan to stay in the country. Using this information, they can assess the purpose and intention of your trip.
Embassies can also assess the affordability of the trip based on your proof of accommodation. If your hotel accommodation does not correlate with your financial capacity, it raises questions.
Hotel reservations can give away any abnormalities in your visa application. A genuine traveler would do the research and book their hotels. The booking would look natural and convincing.
Hotel bookings in unpopular areas can alert visa officers to take a closer look at the purpose and intention of your trip.
How to get hotel reservation for visa?
You can get hotel accommodation for visa from any hotel booking website. Some websites allow you to get free hotel bookings and some fully refundable ones. Below, I will walk you through 5 ways to get a hotel reservation.
01. Pay-At-The-Hotel Booking [Free option]
Some booking sites allow you to book a hotel without requiring any prepayment. Such bookings are referred to as pay-at-the-hotel or pay-when-you-stay bookings. These bookings do not require any payment or credit card information.
You can get a completely free hotel reservation for visa using this option.
- Booking.com | Free cancellation: No prepayment needed
- Expedia | Fully refundable: Reserve now, pay later
- Agoda | Free cancellation: Pay at the hotel
- Orbitz | Fully refundable: Reserve now, pay later
- Trip.com | Free cancellation: Pay at hotel
- This option is completely free of charge and does not require a credit or debit card.
- Even though these bookings are free, you must still make sure to cancel them.
Not all bookings without prepayment are cancellable. Read the description carefully when making a hotel booking for visa application. The booking description must say “free cancellation” along with “no prepayment”, “pay at the hotel” or “pay when you stay”.
02. Partial Deposit Hotel Booking [Free and Paid option]
Some booking sites let you book a hotel or hostel by paying a small deposit upfront. You pay about 15-20% of the booking as a deposit. The deposit can be refundable to non-refundable.
When you cancel the booking, you will get a full refund of your deposit if it’s refundable.
- HostelWorld | Payable at booking: 15% refundable deposit with free cancellation (*Free option)
- Agoda | Freeze price: 12-15% non-refundable deposit to hold for 7 days (*Paid option)
- Even if you forget to cancel in time, the resulting loss from the booking would be small.
- You must remember to cancel the hostel reservation within the cancellation period. Otherwise, your deposit will not be refunded.
03. Fully Refundable Hotel Booking [Free option]
Pretty much every hotel booking website offers fully refundable booking options these days. You would need a credit or debit card to book such hotels. In the event of cancellation, you will get a full refund of the money spent on the booking.
- Expedia | Fully refundable
- Booking.com | Free cancellation
- Agoda | Free cancellation
- Orbitz | Fully refundable
- Priceline | Flexible cancellation
- Trip.com | Free cancellation
Recommended hotel search engines:
- Kayak | Compares and finds the cheapest refundable hotels
- Skyscanner | Compares and finds the cheapest refundable hotels
- Fully refundable hotel bookings are fully-paid and confirmed hotel bookings. There is no need to worry about the consulate verifying its authenticity.
- If you fail to cancel in time, your booking is deemed noncancellable and you cannot claim a refund.
- You must keep the credit or debit card used for the booking active to receive your refund.
04. Non-Refundable Hotel Booking [Paid option]
If you come across a good hotel deal that you cannot pass up, then you can consider booking a refundable hotel for your visa.
I suggest booking a non-refundable hotel only if you are one hundred percent certain that your visa application will be approved.
- Expedia | Non-refundable
- Booking.com | Non-refundable
- Agoda | Non-refundable
- Orbitz | Non-refundable
- Priceline | Non-refundable
- Trip.com | Non-refundable
Recommended search engines for non-refundable hotels:
- Kayak | Compares and finds best deals on hotels (non-refundable)
- Skyscanner | Compares and finds best deals on hotels (non-refundable)
- Non-refundable hotel bookings are fully-paid and confirmed hotel bookings. There is no need to worry about the consulate verifying its authenticity.
- Booking a non-refundable hotel early on would get you a good deal on the hotel than booking it after your visa approval.
- In the event of visa refusal, you will risk losing the money spent on the non-refundable hotel booking.
- Hotels, booking websites and embassies do not consider visa refusal as a valid reason for hotel booking cancellations and refund claims.
05. Dummy Hotel Booking [Paid option]
There are online travel agents offering proof of accommodation for visa purposes for a nominal fee. Using these agents, you can get a dummy hotel reservation for visa application valid for 2-3 weeks.
These agents can book a hotel on your behalf and cancel after its validity period, which is usually 2-3 weeks. You will have to provide them with the city, travel dates and visa details. They will book the hotel for you and send the hotel confirmation letter by email.
- Dummy Ticket | Price $20 USD | Hotel booking valid for 2-3 weeks
- You can conveniently get a dummy hotel booking for visa for a nominal fee.
- This type of dummy hotel reservation works for all visas including Schengen visas.
- There is no need to remember to cancel the booking as the agent cancels the booking after its validity, usually after 2-3 weeks.
- After you receive your hotel booking, there won’t be a record of your booking on the agent’s website. The only way to verify the authenticity of the booking is to contact the hotel.
- Even though the agents promise a 2-3 week validity, there is no guarantee the bookings can stay valid that long.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do embassies check hotel reservation?
Yes, the embassies can check the hotel reservation if they need to. Your hotel booking for visa must be verifiable. You must book the hotels on a reliable booking website or directly from the hotel. This way, if the embassy contacts the hotel, they will be able to confirm your booking.
Do you need hotel reservation for Schengen visa?
Yes, you would need a hotel reservation for Schengen visa. Proof of accommodation is a mandatory document for the Schengen visa application. You can book pay-at-the-hotel or refundable hotels for your Schengen visa from websites such as Booking.com, Expedia or Orbitz.
Can I use Booking.com for Schengen visa?
Yes, you can use Booking.com for Schengen visa. Hotels booked on Booking.com are accepted as proof of accommodation for Schengen visa application. If you prefer not to pay upfront, you can book any hotel with no prepayment or free cancellation option.
Is hotel booking required for US visa?
No, hotel bookings are not required for US visa. US embassies discontinued asking for hotel bookings and flight tickets. You do not need to book any hotel for US visa. In your DS-160, you can simply mention the name and address of the hotel you plan to stay in the US. But you do not need to book that hotel for the visa.
Can I use a fake hotel reservation for visa?
Embassies can verify the authenticity of your hotel reservations. Using fake hotel reservations can land you in trouble. You can get your visa refused or a permanent ban due to falsified documents.
A hotel reservation is an essential document for tourist visa applications. You can obtain a hotel reservation from any hotel booking website. Most hotel booking websites offer hotel bookings without any prepayment. Booking hotels without any prepayment is the most sensible way to get a hotel booking for your visa. In the event of visa refusal, you will not lose money spent on the hotel.