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Schegen and British VISA for US permanent resident: do we need to buy refundable flight tickets before we get the actual visa? can we cacel those pricy tickets and buy non refundable flight tickets later without having to lose the VISA issued?

Schegen and British VISA for US permanent resident: do we need to buy refundable flight tickets before we get the actual visa? can we cacel those pricy tickets and buy non refundable flight tickets later without having to lose the VISA issued?

Mar 3rd, 2006, 04:49 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 7
Schegen and British VISA for US permanent resident: do we need to buy refundable flight tickets before we get the actual visa? can we cacel those pricy tickets and buy non refundable flight tickets later without having to lose the VISA issued?

Hi all,

I and my hubby will be travelling to London and then ITALY, FRance and Switzerland this summer. we both are permanent residents in US but we dont hold US passport so we need to apply for VISA for visiting UK and other coutries.

So are in the process of getting all our documents ready to first apply for British VISA and then for Schegen VISA.

we wanted to know if we need to book refundable tickets now ( way too much overpricedess, compared to non refundable orbitz or kayak.com tickets) in order to apply for VISA and can we cacel those and get non refundable cheaper tickets once we get our visa?

If we buy the refundable flight tickets then if we dont get the visa ( thats worst case) we can atleast cancel our flight tickets as hotel reservations dont need more than credit card info and we can call those easily.

we are putting together all required docs but we are not sure if we should go and pay way too much $$$$ for those refundable tickets ( guess its more than $5000) and then cancel it and buy non refundable affordable tickets after we get our visa from british and Italian embassy ( we are staying for 9 days in Italy so we will have to apply for schegen visa here)??

If I wait till I get my visa to cancel my refundable tickets and book non refundable tickets, I will be missing out on the deals that are available now ( under 1650$ for two people from West coast, open jaw).

Also is there are rule that we need to stick with the same reservatio or flight booking as mentioned in VISA application documents even after getting schengen or British visa? can we change our hotel reservations or flight booking after getting VISA?

I wanted to know if any one with Green card had applied for schegen visa or british visa before and how you went about booking flight tickets?

Thanks for any help in advance.
travelworld is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Hello travelword, I do not understand your problem. My SIL who is a citizen of Italy has a US Green Card and is a legal permanent resident of the US. But he is not a citizen of the US. Besides his so called Green Card he has the legal travel card..not sure of the correct name, sorry, but it was issued to him by the US government so he can travel outside of the US and return to the US without any problem.

Last year he went back to Italy for a month. He did not need a visa as he had his Green Card and his US government issued travel card and of course his Italian Passport. He was gone for a month in Italy and returned to the US without any problem whatsoever.

I guess my comments are not any help to you..and in rereading your post I still don't understand why you would need a Visa to visit Europe. But maybe it is because your citizenship is not a European citizenship. Or maybe it is because you plan on staying in Europe more than 90 days. Hope you will post back as you have me curious. Best wishes.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 06:56 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 70
Why won't you get your visas before booking tickets?
Ivan_Drago is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2006, 08:47 PM
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Posts: 460
I think I understand what you're asking. You need to apply for a British Visa and a Schengen Visa, and amongst other papers, you need to show a return ticket. So basically, you want to safeguard yourself from a possible visa rejection, in which case you can get a refund of your airticket? From what I know, yes, you can cancel the refundable ticket after the visa is issued and buy non-refundable cheaper tickets as long as the visa is valid for those travel days.

Also, I think you'll also need a separate visa for Switzerland
sharon1306 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 03:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,167
Hi T,

This is such a technical question.

I suggest that you call the Italian, French and Swiss consulates.

ira is online now  
Mar 4th, 2006, 04:59 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,273
100% agree w/ ira. As helpful (and knowledgable) as Fodorites are, do not base important immigration/visa decisions on what someone on an annonymous message board tells you. You need help from the consulates of the countries you are visiting and possibly from the State Dept too.
janisj is online now  
Mar 4th, 2006, 04:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 70
Most consulates just need to see an itinenary, not a booked ticket. British Consulate specifially urges applicants NOT to buy tickets before applying for the UK visa. Calling them is not the best solution as at times they would charge you for speaking to a live person, just go on their website, they post all the information on procedures.
Ivan_Drago is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I agree with Ivan_Drago that an itinerary is sufficient. You must show confirmed reservations. It's not necessary to buy the tickets. For example you can book with the airline and have them e-mail you a confirmed itinerary. The airline usually holds a courtesy reservation for 24 hours.

The same procedure for hotels.

Of course you can buy non-refundable tickets now if you're afraid that the prices will go up and show them to the consulate. However, if the consulate denies your application for any reason, you can kiss your $ goodbye. In any case, for most nationalities the British consulate should issue a visa on the same day. I don't know about the Italian consulate, but it shouldn't take too long.

Did I read somewhere on this forum that Switzerland has become a Schengen country? In any case, even if Switzerland is still non-Schengen, certain nationalities can travel to Switzerland without a Swiss visa as long as you have a Schengen visa and a US Green Card. Check the Swiss websites for details. I looked at it a few years ago, and it's explained quite clearly.

Of course as was mentioned, check the different consulates' websites, and clarify with them if you've questions.
111op is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 07:28 PM
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By the way, what I wrote is based on my understanding of the visa application process. To get the best information visit the consulates' websites or call or visit them in person.

Visa applications also vary by nationality.
111op is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Hi travelworld,

Is there a reason you think you or your husband would be rejected for a visa? I ask this not to be nosy, but in all the time I've applied for visas, my applicants have never been rejected, even though the application experience was quite harrowing.

My uncle is also a permanent resident, and I've usually just gone ahead and purchased his tix w/o worry that his visa application would be rejected. Just make sure you answer the embassy's questions truthfully, have all the documents and fees as they outline in their guidelines, and all should be fine. I've not had a problem yet securing visas for any member of my family who aren't US citizens.

Just so you have a guideline, I've already purchased my family's tickets to London, and I will be applying for his visas in a few weeks for our trip in mid-June.

In your case, if your main Schengen destination is Italy, the earliest you will be able to apply for an Italian visa is 90 days prior to departure (at least in NY). Go to this site to get more info on which country's visa you will need: http://www.eurovisa.info/WhereApply.htm

I would personally check the embassy sites of the countries you'll be visiting and see if what their guidelines are. I know in Canada, if you've committed or been convicted for a criminal offense, Canada will reject your visa application unless you can prove you've been pardoned or legally prove that you've been rehabilitated.

Oh, and LoveItaly, your SIL's legal travel card is a re-entry permit.
mcnyc is offline  
Mar 4th, 2006, 08:21 PM
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Hi mcnyc, thanks for your comment, yes you are correct, my SIL's US travel card is a reentry card.

At this point I am assuming that travelworld and her husband hold passports for a country other than a country that is part of the EU, unlike my SIL who holds an Italian passport. Not that it is any of my business of course, just am confused. But assume that is the case.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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I have absolutely no reason why Embassy would deny our visa. we have been to Thailand and got the visa on entry within few minutes. Never had any VISA problem so far.

we just wanted to take the right precautions in case something goes wrong..( delay in processing etc) as I need british visa before I can apply for schengen visa.

we are visiting family in London and then we will start our vacation. Since we are going to for more than a week ( 9 days) in ITALY, we need apply for Schegen via at the ITALIAN embassy and Italian emabasy has a policy that we need to apply 30 days before the actual travel date. So we need to get our British visa back by march end so we can send all our documents to ITALIAN embassy again for schengen visa before April 1st week as we are leaving for London in 2nd week of May.

Yes we can go ahead and buy the non refundable ticket but we just dont want to kiss good bye to $800 ( $400 per person) just in case our visa gets denifed for reason we dont know !!

we have had friends who have just booked a non refundable ticket via orbitz or other travel sites before applying for visa and submitted that ticket/itinerary and they have got their visa without a problem. we are just being over causious I guess...Guess we should follow the suggestion that 111op gave.

we will go ahead and call airline and make a reservation and provide that itinerary to the British embassy. HOpe that consulate will not hold us responsible to that itinerary we present now.

Thanks you all for suggestions are comments it was really helpful in making a decisoin as we were a bit undecided on what to do!!
travelworld is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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LoveItaly, yes we dont hold an italian passport. we hold an indian passport and we have never had any problem getting visa anywhere.

Since we only have 50 days before our travel date , we dont want to take any chances i.e we want to give room for VISA delays and apply ASAP...also as I mentioned earlier for ITALIAn embassy we need to apply 30 days ahead of time and since we are entering LONDON first we need to have british visa before applying for schengen. we will not need any VISA for visiting switzerland as we have green card.

Hope this clears your confusion

Thanks by the way for all the responses !!
travelworld is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Update...hope this will of help to some one else in the future!!

we had called british consulate ( they charge $2.10 per minute to call them ...but atleast we get the info !!) and the official told me that I can just make a flight reservation and send the itinerary that I receive from the airline and they dont care even if the reservation expires after 24 hours. As long as they know when we plan on entering UK and when we are leaving UK ( i.e via reservation/itinerary) they are ok. we dont need any thing else.

Well now a new twist to our story....

we are flying open jaw, we are flying into london and flying out of Paris back to home ( US).

Good that we called British embassy, the official told me that since we are leaving London and entering ITALY, they want to know if we have schengen visa to enter our next destination.

So now we need apply for Schengen visa at the ITALIAN embassy first (as our final destination is PARIS but our port of entry and maximum stay is in italy)and get the visa and then apply for British visa!!

again there is a bit of work to be done..we need to call italian embassy now to find out if they are ok with us applying for schegen before getting british visa as our first destination is LONDON...well we are moving in circles now ...(

Many of you were wondering why we might get our visa rejected. we have all the documents and everything we have stated is true and we personally have no reason to believe that our visa will get rejected but there are always rules and policies that we dont know of or thats not specifially mentioned on the website..those are the things we were concerend about as we dont have much time left for our travel!!

This is exactly the kind of situation we were worried about that might result in our visa getting rejected..for some minor reason we are not aware of!!

none of the embassy site talks about these details...or may be they do by I couldnt find the place to look for

british offical said that applying for schengen first and then british should be fine as we are not entering london or UK again , they will not require British visa. He specifically told that I need to have schegen before applying for biritsh visa!!

now we need to talk to italian embassy and find out if they are ok with this!!

wondering why i am sharing all this ...Just wanted to give an update as you have been of great help so far !!
travelworld is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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I think that you're making this too complicated, personally. I think that the Italian consulate will be fine with your applying for a Schengen visa first.

On the other hand, since you know that the consulate will be happy with an approximate itinerary, why not show them something that will make it easy for them to issue you your visas?

I'll let you think about the last sentence.

Good luck!
111op is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 11:10 AM
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By the way, how much time are you spending in Italy and how much time in Paris? If you show the Italian consulate an itinerary that shows that you're spending much more time in Paris, you may be sent to the French consulate instead.

So think about what I said and make things easy for yourself.
111op is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 11:22 AM
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111op..looks like you are right...things are getting more complicated...

as you said may be we should come up with an itinerary that will make the consulate happy!!

btw I dont think we need to change anything in our itinerary as we are spending 9 days in italy and only 5 days in paris.

Here is how our itinerary looks like

London ( 4 days)
ITALY ( 9 days)
SWISS ( 5 days)
France ( paris only 5 days)

So our port of entry as well as longest stay is in ITALY so we are applying for ITALY. we have done our research and My DH is the one who is a bit concerned about all this and I hope we can actually get to apply for VISA soon and not worry about any more documents or itineraries!!

Thanks for your last comment....
travelworld is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 11:32 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
I did a Google search, and Switzerland apparently voted to ratify the Schengen Treaty in June 2005. However, it's not listed here:


1. Check again whether you need a visa for Switzerland after you have a Schengen visa. You did say that it was not necessary.

2. Depending on answer to 1, check to see if you require a multiple entry Schengen visa. I'd get a multiple entry one to be safe, but it's usually more expensive.

Since your first entry into the Schengen territory is Italy and you're spending the most time there, you should indeed apply at the Italian consulate.
111op is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Switzerland is NOT in Schengen.

IF its systems for border control meet the requiremewnts of other Schengen members, it MIGHT join in mid-2007.

Till then, it remains an independent country.
CotswoldScouser is offline  
Mar 9th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 538

Why not just have an US-London-US printed reservation. Get the UK visa. Then get the Schengen one. Which, I think, you can get in London anyway.

Then get your real tickets. All the immigration officer wants to see when you arrive at London is:

1. A passport and visa.
2. An onward ticket to anywhere outside the UK/Ireland. A Eurostar train to France will do.

He has a gazillion better things to do than worry about whether the ticket in your hand was the one you showed the consular official in the US. Or where you'll be in a couple of weeks, as long as it's not the UK or Ireland.
CotswoldScouser is offline  

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