- When applying for a Schengen visa, you will have to establish proof of accommodation, i.e. proof that you have a place to live (or can afford a place to live) throughout your stay in the Schengen area. You will therefore be asked to indicate your intended means of accommodation on your Schengen visa application form.
- A valid accommodation can be in the form of one or several of the following:
- Address of host (relative, friend, partner, sponsor).
- Leased/rented apartment.
- Dormitory/school housing.
How to show proof of accommodation
- For all of the above places of residences, be they temporary (i.e. you are staying there for a portion of your trip) or permanent (i.e. you are staying there throughout your entire trip) you must provide the following additional information/documents:
- Complete address (street number, city, postal code, building number, and/or apt number).
- Complete contact information (telephone number and email address).
- If staying with a host: first and last name of the individual(s) you will be staying with AND an invitation letter from said host(s).
Documents required for proof of accommodation
- The following documents are accepted as proof of accommodation:
- If hotel: proof of booking, such as a reservation.
- If apt rental/lease: rental/lease agreement (with your verified signature).
- If staying at a property you own: proof of purchase/ownership (with your verified signature).
- Proof you can afford/have already paid for your lodging (in the form of a deposit or renter’s agreement, credit card charges, etc.).
- Official invitation (in the form of a letter).
- Private invitation (in the form of a letter).
- Bring original documents when available, otherwise print out copies of documents and submit them with your visa application.
- Please note, while different countries have different requirements/preferences for providing proof of accommodation, the above general types of lodging (and related documents) are considered universal. Check with your specific consulate/embassy to determine how best to provide proof of accommodation in your intended Schengen country of stay.
- If you have received an invitation to stay in the home of a citizen of a Schengen country, the person extending you the invitation is in most cases required to write a letter on your behalf, which you will submit as part of your Schengen visa application. In this letter, your host should likely share information as to the nature of your relationship (how you know each other, etc.) and declare him or herself to be responsible for providing you with accommodation throughout your stay. For more detailed information on the format and contents of invitation letters, please check with your specific consulate/embassy to learn more.
- Please note, consular authorities will check the addresses you provided as your intended accommodation(s) as part of their examination of your Schengen visa application. If any of the addresses are inconclusive, or, for example, the name of a provided hotel does not exist, or the hotel exists but has no record of a reservation made in your name, you will likely be denied a visa on the grounds that you have failed to credibly established proof of accommodation. Therefore, make sure you enter all information related to your accommodation correctly and confirm that it is valid and complete before submitting it with your application.
Establishing proof of accommodation and subsistence
- Please note, you do not have to pre-pay for your hotel/rental in order to establish proof of accommodation on your Schengen visa application. Because you are not guaranteed to receive a Schengen visa, pre-paying for a hotel could result in you losing money in the event that your application is rejected. However, your proof of accommodation will likely be found credible so long as you indicate where you intend to stay on your trip, and establish that you have the means to pay for your accommodation upon receipt of your visa (or arrival in the Schengen area).
- Submitting a reservation for a hotel room for the specific dates corresponding to your entry and exit to/from the Schengen area can be a credible way of establishing proof of accommodation without pre-paying.
- Private accommodation can in certain cases stand as evidence that you have established proof of subsistence for your stay in your respective Member State (i.e. that you have the financial means to afford to stay in the Schengen area throughout your visa validity period). If accommodation is being provided to you at no cost, either in the form of a hotel voucher or because you are staying with a relative/host, you will have the opportunity to select the “accommodation provided” box in the “means of support” category on your Schengen visa application.
- Alternatively, if you have pre-paid for your lodging in the form of a deposit or by paying upfront, this is also a good means of establishing your ability to afford both your means of accommodation and your means of subsistence; in other words, that you can afford your trip (the main condition determining whether or not you will be approved for a Schengen visa).
I don’t know where I’m staying yet, what should I do?
- In the absence of a fixed address (i.e. if you have not yet established where you are going to stay) either because you have not yet decided where you want to stay, you should at the very least establish that you have the means to pay for your accommodation when you arrive in the Schengen area.
- However, you are more likely to receive a Schengen visa if you are able to establish a credible form of accommodation on your application. For example, if you do not yet know where you intend to stay, but you have the means to make a reservation at a hotel (and establish that hotel as your primary accommodation on your application) you should do so. Once you arrive in the Schengen area, you are relatively free to move around and stay where you want (the consulate is not likely to check that you are staying at the address you provided in your application (except in extreme circumstances, such as a crime is committed and the police need to search for you).