A flight itinerary is one of the many documents required by an embassy or a consulate for visa applications. For first time applicants, understanding what is required or where to obtain the different documents to process your visa can be difficult. Although the process for visa application may differ depending on the embassy or consulate, the airline itinerary is a common requirement. It can also be referred to as any of the following:
- Booked Flight Itinerary
- Confirmed / Round trip Flight tickets
- Round Trip Reservation
- Flight Reservation or confirmation
- Proof of Onward Travel, etc.
What is a Flight Itinerary for Visa
A flight itinerary for visa is a document showing the details of a proposed travel plan. So what Does an itinerary consist of for visa purposes? It usually includes details of the flight name, dates and times of the flights, departure and arrival airports, flight numbers, confirmation numbers, airport codes (IATA), etc. The plane itinerary is no doubt one of the most important documents when applying for a visa because it shows a scheduled plan of visit.
With vital information like departure date and arrival date as well as times, travellers can keep track of their trip or journey. You can also share with your family and friends to keep them updated on your journey or travel plans.
Is a flight itinerary the same thing as a flight ticket?
No, they are quite different. While a flight itinerary is described as a document that shows the detailed route of a proposed travel plan, a flight ticket is a document that shows or confirms an individual has paid or booked a seat on an airline.
What are the different types of flight itinerary?
There are three different types of flight itinerary. Depending on the type of your booking, you are more likely to get any of the following: a one-way flight, roundtrip flight, or a multi-city flight.
What is a One-Way Ticket?
A one-way flight ticket is a single flight ticket booked by a passenger from the departure airport to the destination only. It does not cater for a return trip. For instance, a one-way flight ticket from Nigeria to Canada with no return date.
What is a Return Ticket?
A return flight ticket (also known as a round-trip ticket) is a flight ticket booked from a passenger’s departure country to a destination country and back to the departure country. Unlike a one-way flight ticket, a return ticket caters for both parts of a trip. For instance, a flight ticket from Lagos, Nigeria to Canada and a return ticket back to Lagos, Nigeria.
What is a Multi-City Ticket?
A multi-city ticket is a different type of ticket that doesn’t follow the usual airline itinerary. That is, it is neither a one-way ticket nor a return flight ticket. This particular type of ticket allows passengers to travel from point A to B, then C to D, and more. The multi-city ticket allows layover and touchpoints at different cities.
The multiple airline itinerary is the type of travel plan that requires the use of different airlines for a single journey. It is a bit similar to the multi-city ticket, but this time, it involves airlines rather than cities. For instance, a passenger can book a flight from London to Paris using British Airways and from Paris back to London using Air France.
Group travel itinerary
As the name suggests, a group travel itinerary is a type of travel plan that involves more than one person. Unlike the aforementioned type of tickets or itineraries, it is a travel plan that caters for two, three or more persons. Often than not, a group travel itinerary is best suited for tourism travel plans.
What is a Flight Reservation?
A flight reservation is different from a flight ticket. In this case, a flight reservation consists of details of a flight or a travel plan. Such information includes the flight name, passenger’s name, reservation booking number, arrival and departure dates, and airport IATA codes. Note that, when booking a flight reservation for visa purposes, Embassies and Consulates prefer a return ticket flight reservation as against a one-way flight reservation.
Itinerary for Visa offers free flight reservations for visas without payment. Visa applicants can visit the website and fill in the following details to get their free flight reservation:
- Departure from
- Travelling to
- Departure date
- Return date
- Departure time
- Return time
- Phone No
- Number of persons
Why do you need a flight itinerary for visa application?
As explained above, a flight itinerary for visa is more like a timetable which comprises flight timings, passenger’s details, price of flight ticket, flight reservation number, airport IATA codes, the arrival and departure dates, etc. Due to the cost and uncertainty of visa application, not knowing whether it will be granted or not, applicants are often advised to make use of a free flight itinerary. This will, in turn, save cost on buying flight tickets to the destination country if the visa application is denied. By using a flight itinerary, an applicant can go on to buy flight tickets when their visa is approved.
There are two ways applicants can obtain a flight itinerary for visa: by using a dummy ticket or free flight itinerary. Flights agencies like ItinerarforVisa provide free flight itinerary to aid visa applications.
How to read the flight itinerary time
Since the flight itinerary is one of the documents you will be needing as part of your visa application process, it is important to know how to read the time on it. There are two important times you should note: departure and arrival time. Often than not, both the departure and arrival time are not always written in the same time zone.
The departure time is usually written in the passenger’s time zone while the arrival time is written in the destination country’s time zone. Depending on the time of departure and flight hours, a plus 1 beside the arrival time means you are arriving the next day. The flight itinerary time can either be in 24 hours format or 12 hours format.
How to check the itinerary for a flight
As an applicant or a first-time traveller, you would need to learn how to check the itinerary of your flight to determine the validity of your flight. To confirm the itinerary for your flight, simply check your email for a copy of your itinerary. However, another option is to visit the website of the airline you intend to fly with. Under the reservation section or ‘manage booking’, fill in your six digits booking number and last name or family name. Click enter or search to show your itinerary.
Itinerary reference number
An itinerary reference number is simply the number provided by travel agents or agencies to save a passenger’s preference during a trip. This serves as a quick and unique identifier in their systems. Also, note that an itinerary reference number is only issued by a travel agent or agency and it is not the same as a booking reference number.
What is a booking reference number?
The booking reference number, also known as passenger name record (PNR), is a unique identifier for flight bookings in an airline’s computer system. It usually comprises a six digits alphanumeric code e.g. B7QPO9. The booking reference number is also the same as a record locator and confirmation number.
It is important to note that a passenger can have up to two booking reference numbers if their flight itinerary consists of more than one flight. If a passenger’s first flight is on United Airlines and the second one is on Lufthansa, it is expected that both flights will have a separate booking reference number. This is because a booking reference number is generated by an airline to serve as a unique identifier for its computer systems.
What is a Dummy Ticket?
A dummy ticket can simply be described as a flight reservation for visa application. It is usually in the form of a return ticket flight reservation, from the passenger’s home country to the destination country and back. As the name suggests, it is a dummy ticket and not a real ticket. Therefore, it is not a paid return ticket. However, like a confirmed ticket, it includes the travel itinerary details. Also, depending on who you ask, a dummy ticket can be referred to as any of the following:
- Airline Itinerary
- Itinerary Ticket
- Flight ticket reservation for visa
- Flight reservation for visa
- Flight itinerary for visa
- Flight reservation for visa application
- Air ticket booking
- Dummy air ticket
Can I use a flight itinerary generator?
No. Although there are various electronic fake flight tickets or flight itinerary generators, it is best to avoid using them for visa application. Instead of using fake flight tickets or online flight itinerary generators, visa applicants are strongly advised to get a dummy ticket from an airline or a trusted agent like ItineraryForVisa.com. This way, you can reserve flight tickets without payments (or full payments).
ItineraryForVisa offers cheap tickets and itinerary options for travellers and visa applicants.
That said, we will discuss why embassies and consulates request flight itineraries and how to get a flight itinerary or reservation for visa applications.
Why do Embassies and Consulates Ask for Flight Itinerary?
Often than not, embassies and consulates do not make it compulsory for visa applicants to book a flight ticket. This is so considering the number of resources and money people spend in applying for visas. In the case of visa rejection, it means an individual would lose the money they use in buying flight tickets. Also, note that a case of visa rejection is not enough to seek refunds for the tickets.
Therefore, it is a great gesture that some embassies and consulates do not make it compulsory to buy the tickets. However, applicants are expected to reserve a flight ticket. Such applicants can now go on and purchase or cancel the reserved ticket based on the outcome of their visa application. In a case where a visa application is accepted, an applicant can also cancel a reserved ticket and book for a later date as long as it is within their visa validity.
Below are some of the major reasons embassies and consulates ask for flight itineraries and sometimes flight tickets:
As proof that you will not be overstaying
One of the major reasons embassies and consulates ask for a flight itinerary is to prove that the applicant does not intend to overstay their visit or visa. Oftentimes there have been cases of applicants who get to their destination country and only to abscond. Another thing to note is that applicants are expected to provide a return ticket itinerary and not a one-way ticket.
This way, the return ticket reservation shows the details on your proposed travel: departure date and arrival date to your home country, flight names, flight times, etc. Although providing a return ticket itinerary shows that you have plans to return at a stipulated time, however, it is not a guarantee that your visa will be approved. Some other factors and decisions go into a visa application approval or denial.
Deciding the length of the visa
Another reason is simply to determine the length of your visa — the start date and end date. Usually, it is based on the dates you provide as well as the ones on your flight reservation or itinerary. The officials at the embassy or consulate use the information you provide to decide how long your visa should be. Always ensure that the dates in the documents you provide are the same.
By asking for the flight itinerary, embassies and consulates are able to avoid date mismatch that usually occurs when an applicant submits their application. Such mistakes can sometimes hurt an applicant’s visa process.
Deciding at which visa office you should apply
The embassy or consular officer also requests for flight reservation or itinerary to decide whether or not you are applying at the right visa office. Most times, it can be as a result of an applicant planning to visit more than two countries. For example, if an applicant is applying for more than two countries in the Schengen area, the period of his visit will determine where to apply for a visa. In most cases, you are more likely to apply for a visa in the county’s embassy where you will be landing first. If you are visiting Germany then France, it is expected you apply for a Germany Schengen visa from your home country.
Above are the three major reasons embassies and consulates ask visa applicants to provide a reserved flight ticket or itinerary. Now, what are the options available and how can an applicant get a flight itinerary for visa application?
How to Get a Flight Itinerary for any Visa Application.
There are two ways to get a flight itinerary or reservation for any visa application, buy a refundable flight ticket or reserve a flight ticket. Note that reserving a flight ticket is cheaper when compared to buying a refundable flight ticket.
When making flight reservations for visa application, it is important to note that most reservations only last for specific hours or days. Most times, it is only for three days. Meanwhile, confirmation of a visa application can last up to 15 days. Hence, an applicant must find a way to hold the booked flight reservation at least for the duration of the visa confirmation. That said, and as explained under the why do embassies ask for flight itineraries section, applicants are expected to book a return ticket flight reservation.
Buying a Refundable Flight Ticket
Buying a refundable flight ticket is one of the ways to get a flight itinerary for visa applications, especially when the embassy or consulate requests it. It is also the safest way to get a refund in cases where a visa application is rejected. Most airlines companies or travel agencies provide refundable flight tickets as part of their services. Although, this type of ticket is usually more expensive when compared to the price of normal tickets.
Depending on where you buy the tickets, they might also charge a fee when you cancel a flight ticket and ask for a refund. Refunds usually take a few working days or weeks.
Reserving a Flight Ticket with your Local Travel Agent
Another option to get a flight itinerary for visa application is by reserving a flight ticket with a local travel agent. This is a great option considering that local agencies can hold flight tickets for seven days or more. Depending on how long your visa confirmation process takes, you can negotiate with the travel agency. Travel agencies like ItineraryForVisa offer this service at a good rate.
Reserving a Ticket with a Hold Option for a Fee by Airlines
Similar to local travel agents or agencies, some airlines also offer a flight reservation for visa application. Therefore, it is important to research the airlines that offer such services. In most cases the airlines can hold a ticket for about 3 days, however, it could be more depending on the airline. They also charge a small fee which usually varies as well.
Reserving a Flight Ticket with a Free Hold Option by Airlines and Online Booking Websites
While it might require a small fee for some airlines to reserve your flight ticket, there are a couple of airlines that offer this service for free. Although, this is usually for about 48 hours (two days). On the other hand, a few online booking websites also offer to hold a ticket for about three days for free. It is important to research the airlines and online booking websites that offer such services.
Is One Way Flight Ticket Reservation Acceptable?
In most cases, one-way flight ticket reservations are not acceptable. A visa applicant is expected to book a return flight ticket (round-trip ticket) when submitting their documents to the embassy. The major reason why embassies request return flight tickets reservation is to make sure an applicant does not abscond or overstay their visa. And of course, booking a one-way flight ticket does not seem convincing that an applicant would not overstay their visa.
Aside from booking return flight tickets, it is important that all the documents submitted to the embassy tallies. It should be consistent with your proposed travel plans as well as the dates. This way, your plans and reason for travel are credible. If it is otherwise, it might affect your visa application.
Caution on Making a Fake Flight Ticket Reservation!
Don’t do it. There are tons of online websites that provide fake flight tickets or reservations. However, the problem is that they do not offer unique booking codes and are often done with graphics software. While the offered fees might be cheap compared to other options listed above, it does more harm than most people imagine. It is not advisable to use such fake travel tickets when applying for a visa. Another reason you should not patronise such a platform is to avoid being scammed with your hard-earned money.
Also, in the case of the embassy or consulate finding out, it will affect your visa application. It can also affect your future application to the country.
Which Countries Require to Submit a Round-trip Flight Itinerary when Applying for a Visa?
Some of the countries that require a return flight itinerary when applying for a business or tourism visa include countries in the Schengen area, Japan, Algeria, Brazil, Canada, China, Turkey, New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates (UAE), etc. Note that the countries in the Schengen area consist of 26 countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The Schengen area or zone consists of European and non-European countries that have officially abolished every form of border control — including passport. The area operates using a single and common visa policy that aids international travel purposes.