When you apply for a visa to visit any of the Schengen countries, there are certain requirements related to the supporting documentation you have to provide. One of these requirements is that you have to deliver proof that you have accommodation for the duration of your stay.
This proof typically consists of a document that clearly shows that you have made arrangements to stay with family or friends or at an accommodation establishment during your visit to the Schengen Area. The most common option would be a letter from such a friend or family member, or a confirmation from a hotel, hostel, or another type of accommodation provider that you have booked a room with them. A rental agreement for short-term accommodation such as a holiday apartment is also acceptable.
What types of documents are acceptable as proof of accommodation when you apply for a Schengen Visa?
When it comes to proof of accommodation, all countries in the Schengen region apply the same rules. The aim is to make sure that you will be able to support yourself during your visit, i.e. that you will not become a burden to the state.
This is why officials at visa application centres, consulates, or embassies will ask you to provide documentary proof of your accommodation arrangements. These can include any of the following:
- A rental agreement, if you are e.g. renting an apartment or home for the duration of your stay.
- Proof that you will be on a tour that offers prepaid accommodation.
- Proof that you are being sponsored, e.g. if you are staying with a business associate, friend, or family member.
Not only do you have to submit these documents when you apply for a Schengen visa, but you must also have them available when you arrive for the personal interview that forms part of every Schengen visa application.
How to prove that you have a hotel reservation for the duration of your stay
One of the easiest ways to prove that you have somewhere to stay during your visit to the Schengen Area is a confirmed reservation from a hotel, hostel, or another type of accommodation establishment. This can, for example, be in the form of an email from them.
One important point to take into account here is that you should make 100% sure that you have a valid confirmation number. If the visa authorities check your application and find out that it’s not valid, they will not only reject your application but there could be further penalties involved. The best option is to contact the place where you will be staying by phone or email to make sure this is correct.
When being asked for proof of accommodation for a Schengen Visa, how do I prove that I will be on a prepaid tour?
This is done in a very similar way to providing proof of accommodation. Contact the tour operator and request that they confirm your reservation in writing so you can forward it to the people handling your Schengen Visa application. Always make sure that the tour operator you are dealing with is a reputable business. If your reservation turns out not to be valid, your Schengen Visa application will be rejected and there will be other consequences.
What other options do I have available apart from providing a booking confirmation from an accommodation establishment like a hotel or hostel?
With modern technology, it has become fairly easy to fake or change booking confirmations. If the authorities find out that your booking confirmation is fake, your Schengen Visa will immediately be rejected and you could be barred from traveling to the Schengen Area for an extended period of time. Ask yourself if it’s worth taking the risk of being unable to get a refund on your flight reservations, visa application fees, and other costs related to the trip that you have already incurred.
Do I have to pay for a hotel room or other accommodation before I know whether my Schengen Visa has been approved or not?
The vast majority of booking agencies will provide you with a confirmed booking for free or ask you to pay a relatively small fee or deposit in advance. The alternative is that you contact the establishment where you plan to stay and find out whether they are prepared to issue a refund (full or partial) if you are forced to cancel the reservation within a certain period of time.
How do I use a sponsorship letter as proof of accommodation when applying for a Schengen visa?
If you plan to stay with family members or friends during your visit to a Schengen country, you have to get a letter of invitation from them. This letter will form your proof of accommodation. It has to be properly signed by the person who is inviting you and must be approved by local officials. Your sponsor will also have to provide his or her passport and, if they are related to you, provide proof of the relationship in the form of e.g. a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
What else do I have to know about Schengen Visa accommodation requirements?
Another important requirement related to your visit to the Schengen group of countries is that you have to submit documentation to prove that you can sustain yourself during your trip. The proof of accommodation is actually part of that – but you will also have to show that you have enough money for other expenses related to the visit.
Where and how should I submit my application for a Schengen visa?
You have to submit your Schengen visa application at the consulate of the country that you will be visiting. If you plan to visit two or more Schengen countries, use the consulate of the country where you will be staying the longest.
If you want to visit various Schengen countries, each one for a similar period of time, you should apply at the consulate of the Schengen country where you will arrive when first entering the Schengen region.
How long will I be allowed to remain in the Schengen region with my visa?
The Schengen visa is what is known as a ‘short stay visa’. As such, you will be able to stay in the Schengen area for 90 days during any 180-day period. The exact period for which your specific visa will be valid is shown on the visa sticker. Look for the heading that says “Duration of visit.”