Booking travel tickets for visa without paying?

  • I am in the process of filling the forms for my wife and daughter (Chinese) to travel with me (British) to the UK for a short holiday. On the government advice located at it says:

    Accommodation and travel details

    You may wish to submit the following documents to help show us your accommodation and travel arrangements in the UK and on which date you intend to leave the UK. We advise that you do not make any payments for accommodation, travel and so on until you have received your visa.

    • Details of accommodation and return
    • travel bookings

    This could be:

    • hotel booking confirmation (usually email) travel booking
    • confirmation (can be email or copy of tickets) travel agent
    • confirmation of both accommodation details with a supporting letter from the occupant confirming that you are able to stay there

    But how do you have tickets for a flight if you haven't made payments. All airlines I've seen require you to pay in full before they issue any tickets.

    What is the best way to satisfy this requirement?

    As an alternative, did you look at getting a British Passport for your daughter, and a spouse visa for your wife? Might take a little longer than a tourist visa, but future trips would then be much easier!

    My daughter isn't eligible for a British passport. Spouse visas contain the same advice on flight bookings as other visas plus since a spouse visa is a instrument for later obtaining permanent residence, it has stricter requirements than a tourist visa which, since we want to live in China, not the UK, would not be to our advantage.

    NOTE: this guidance refers to the OLD RULES. It is out-of-date (and the answers are out-of-date also). People should use caution when reading out-of-date material

    Given @GayotFow's comment above, can we mark this question and its answers as obsolete, perhaps using one of the mechanisms suggested at ?

  • Doc

    Doc Correct answer

    9 years ago

    The obvious answer is to pay for your tickets! Presuming you have solid travel plans (which is what they are trying to ask you to prove by showing tickets!) then this shouldn't be a problem.

    Of course, the one catch with this is that if your visa application is rejected, you've now got tickets that you are unable to use. Some airlines will allow you to get a refund under circumstances like this (even for a non-refundable ticket), as will some travel insurance policies - however many will not.

    There's a few other alternatives, each with their own advantages and disadvantages :

    • Ask your travel agent to provide an itinerary, including flight details (and confirmation numbers if they have them - these are generated before the ticket is paid for) and use that as proof of your flights.
    • Buy a full-fare, refundable ticket and use that for the visa application process. Once the visa is approved, cancel the ticket (getting a full refund), and then book a discount ticket. The biggest catch is that you'll be out of pocket for a reasonable amount of money for a while, and in the interim the ticket prices for the cheap flights might have gone up.
    • Bite the bullet and just buy the tickets - on the presumption that the visa will be approved.

    The UK Visa advice explicitly says not to pay for tickets. "We advise that you do not make any payments for accommodation, travel and so on until you have received your visa."

    @Rincewind42, I guess they just don't want you to blame them when your visa is refused and you are left with non-refundable tickets.

    @Rincewind42 That does not mean they will not refuse the visas based on the fact that you have not submitted confirmed tickets. Bureaucrats are often like that.

    What I actually did in the end was go through the online booking process and print out the final page before the payment page. This has the flight numbers, dates, times, total cost and the passengers names. I included these with the visa application and got the visa without any issues.

    @Rincewind42: this sounds like a great idea. Which website did you use ?

    Nothing but general info. It would be much informative if you would provide airlines that allow booking without paying upfront.

    When I had applied for the UK visa (Indian citizen in USA), back in 2013, I sent them a printout of the tentative itinerary from (screenshot of the page just before payment page). I got the visa for 6 months.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM