Tour operator vouchers don’t cut it for visa applications

Agents on Open Jaw by Travelinfo have raised concerns about a number of Schengen visa application centres turning their clients away on the basis that a tour operator (TO) voucher is insufficient proof of hotel accommodation.

The Greek, Italian, French and Spanish application centres were singled out by agents as having recently turned clients away for this reason.

According to the Schengen visa application centres canvassed, applications may be rejected if proof of the hotel booking is not supplied on the hotel’s official letterhead.

GVCW, Capago, VFS, Visalink Intergate and BLS all said that agents were advised to submit both the TO voucher and the confirmation from the hotel.

VFS added: “It depends on the reputability of the tour operator and on whether or not the client’s names are listed in full on the proof of booking (among other details), however a tour operator voucher runs the risk of being rejected, where the confirmation from the hotel does not.”

The Greek Consulate in Cape Town, told eTNW that while clients had always been advised to provide proof of accommodation as supplied by the hotel itself, their application centre had recently started enforcing this more stringently.

Michele Kendall, md of Visalogix, said securing proof of the booking from the hotel could be time consuming and that agents should take this into account when determining the timeline for visa applications.

She added that African embassies were also starting to insist on receiving proof of the booking on official hotel stationery. “At this point Ivory Coast and Nigeria are also requesting this. We expect other African countries to follow suit.”

Michele said this could be a response from embassies to South African clients putting together false itineraries to secure visas when they want to backpack, or do not have any fixed accommodation, when they travel through the Schengen area.


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