What does "copy of itinerary" mean when applying for a Schengen visa?
The Italian consulate website says under requirements for a Schengen visa:
- Applicants for short term visas (up to 90 days) must also present an itinerary of their trip.
What does this mean? This is separate from the proof of return ticket:
- Return-trip booking or proof of available means of personal transport: ticket reservations for round-trip flights originating in our jurisdiction to Europe (and ultimately to Italy) and back, including internal entry and exit points of travel i.e. EURORAIL tickets, car rental, internal flights. The names of reservations should reflect the name on passport. The applicant may be required to show the actual ticket when picking up the visa;
When they ask for an itinerary, what documents need to be shown? Is it enough to have a plan of which places I am going to visit and where I will be staying?
My interpretation is that it simply means your planned route, or sequence of destinations: "plan of which places I am going to visit", like you said. No documents, just tell them where you're planning to go. (But I'm not 100% sure, thus the comment, not answer. :)
I always found the "proof of return ticket" requirement inconsiderate. If they deny you the visa, you lose your ticket money as well. (considering how expensive it is to buy refundable tickets, it's still cheaper to simply write off the ticket)
The point of it is to show that you've got a plan and know how much it's going to cost you etc. They want to know WHY you're going. They already know how (train/plane) but want the details.
SO if you can show that you're headed to France for 3 weeks to check out war memorials, before crossing to Amsterdam for some fun and out through Munich for Octoberfest, and have hostel bookings and the like, it shows that you've thought about it and have some idea of what you're doing, where you're going and maybe how you're going to survive (accommodation etc).
For example, some sites will suggest that you put together a travel plan. This could consist of the itinerary of your tour (if you're doing one), or otherwise - your accommodation, health insurance. Again, this site demands if you're booking through them that you include accommodation for every single night of your stay in the region, but I've had friends who have been issued visas without doing that.
- proof of accommodation for the duration of your stay
- proof of travel + health insurance
- proof of funds for the duration of your stay
Indeed, the Schengen Visa requirements page for South Africans suggests you need documented evidence of:
Round trip reservation or itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from Schengen state. Some Schengen authorities accept the itinerary when applying for the visa but request the original air- ticket when visa is collected (please verify).
Proof of sufficient funds for duration of stay, (Bank statement of the past three months) (min. amount required is different in each country – please verify with the relevant consular authority) Cash will not be accepted as proof of foreign exchange.
Travel/health/accident insurance: a one-page document stating that the applicant is covered by a Schengen Travel Medical Insurance, i.e. minimum medical coverage of the Rand equivalent of Euro 30.000 for all medical expenses, including repatriation dead or alive, occurring in any Schengen country.
- Accommodation: confirmed hotel reservation is requested (hotel vouchers are not necessarily proof of confirmed hotel booking). If applicant is staying with a relative or friend, the relevant authorities may request invitation letter from the host with copy of his passport or ID. Authentication of this document by the relevant authorities may be requested. In case of a pre-paid tour please provide us details of the tour with a proof of payment to the tour operator.
I think OP is confused about whether separate documents are *required*, or if explaining the plan is enough ("When they ask for an itinerary, what documents need to be shown?"). You're not directly answering that question...