Flight Itinerary for visa application

Author:Tran Van Chung | 22/03/24

Your flight itinerary is the first step towards your dream trip and is also an integral part of your visa application. With international travel increasingly booming, understanding how to book and use flight itineraries when applying for a visa has become extremely important. This article will detail the flight itinerary and provide an overview of how to book flights, relevant terminology and useful tips to help your visa application process go smoothly.

What is a flight itinerary for visa?

A flight itinerary is a detailed document of your flight schedule, including flight names, departure and arrival times, dates, flight codes, IATA codes for departure and arrival airports, and booking/reservation numbers. This document not only helps the consular officers verify your travel plans but also serves as proof that you are ready for your trip, thereby increasing your chances of a successful visa application.

Flight itinerary for visa application
Flight itinerary for visa application

A flight itinerary doesn’t necessarily have to be a fully paid flight ticket but must demonstrate that you have a clear plan for your trip and return from the country you intend to visit.

What is a flight ticket?

In international travel, a flight ticket serves as an essential document confirming your reservation on a specific flight. The flight ticket usually contains:

  • Passenger’s name
  • Flight name
  • Booking code or Booking number
  • Departure and arrival dates
  • IATA airport codes
  • The actual flight ticket price
  • Information about connecting flights (if any)

Do I need to book a flight ticket before applying for a visa?

Many wonders if they need to purchase a flight ticket before submitting a visa application. The answer to this dilemma is no. You do not need to buy a flight ticket before applying for a visa. Instead, you can present a flight itinerary, which you can book without having to pay the full price for the ticket. Once your visa is approved, then you should purchase the actual flight ticket. This approach minimizes financial risks in case your visa application is denied.

What is a flight reservation?

A flight reservation, a concept familiar to those who have prepared for international travel, details your travel plans to a specific country. Specifically, this is not a paid flight ticket, but merely a travel schedule with an airline of your choice, including flight names, passenger names, valid booking numbers, departure and arrival dates, along with IATA airport codes. Typically, Embassies and Consulates require a round-trip flight reservation, not a one-way flight, as part of the visa application process.

What is a dummy ticket?

A dummy flight ticket is nothing more than a round-trip booking from your departure country. The specialty of a dummy ticket is that it is not a paid ticket. Essentially, it is a document detailing your travel itinerary without being a confirmed flight ticket. Using a dummy ticket in the visa application process helps demonstrate your travel plans without having to bear the financial risk of purchasing a flight ticket before the visa is granted.

Why do embassies and consulates ask for it?

In the visa application process, providing a flight booking proof is a common requirement from embassies and consulates, but the purpose behind this requirement often raises questions. Here, we will explore the reasons why a flight itinerary becomes an indispensable part of the visa application.

  • To avoid financial risk for visa applicants: Consular offices prioritize financial safety for visa applicants, understanding that a visa denial could lead to significant losses if the individual has already paid for the flight ticket. Therefore, instead of requiring a paid flight ticket, they only request a booking proof, allowing applicants to flexibly cancel or adjust plans without financial trouble after the visa is granted.
  • To prove no intention of overstaying: Requesting proof of a round-trip flight booking also benefits in ensuring that the visa applicant will return to their country before the visa expires, thus minimizing the risk of overstaying. This approach reflects the consular offices’ desire to maintain order and legal discipline.
  • To decide the visa validity: The flight itinerary helps the consular officers determine the visa validity accurately, so it matches the real needs of the trip. This ensures you have enough time to complete your trip’s purpose without being restricted by a too-short visa validity.
  • To determine the appropriate embassy/consulate for application: In cases where the travel plan includes multiple countries, the flight itinerary also helps determine the correct embassy or consulate to apply to. This is based on the principle that you should apply at the country where you will spend the most time, or if the time is evenly distributed, at the country you will enter first.

What steps should one take to secure a flight schedule for any visa submission?

In preparing your visa application, another critical element you cannot overlook is the flight itinerary. This step not only increases the chances of a successful visa application but also reflects your clear travel plans. Below are some ways to obtain a flight itinerary without financial risk:

Purchase a refundable flight ticket
Purchase a refundable flight ticket
  • Purchase a refundable flight ticket: This option is suitable when you want an official ticket but still ensure you can get a refund if the visa is not approved. However, the price for such tickets is usually higher than regular tickets and may include a refund fee.
  • Book through travel and visa websites: You can make reservations without paying the full ticket price through travel and visa-specific websites.
  • Contact local travel agents: Travel agents can hold a flight reservation for you for a period of seven days or more, usually for a fee equivalent to 10% of the ticket price.
  • Use airlines’ reservation hold options: Some airlines allow you to hold a reservation for a small fee ranging from $10 to $30. Depending on the airline, they can hold your ticket for about 3 days.
  • Free airline and online booking site reservations: Some airlines and online booking sites like Yatra offer free reservation holding for up to 48 hours. This gives you additional time to consider without having to commit to payment immediately.

Remember, the ticket you book should be a round-trip to clearly show your plans to return to your country, thus increasing your visa application chances. Choose the method that suits your needs and financial situation to ensure a smooth and successful visa application process.