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Schengen Visa application: Itinerary and the 90/180 rule example
7 min read
Updated on May 14, 2024

Embark on your European dream with ease and confidence! Navigating the Schengen Visa application can be daunting, but with the right guidance, your journey through Europe's heart can be as smooth as the Seine River.

At iVisa, we've honed our expertise to make your Schengen visa application a breeze, especially regarding the pivotal aspect of your itinerary and how to plan around the so-called 90/180 rule.

tourist brandebourg happy

Understanding the 90/180 rule in the Schengen Zone

The first thing to learn is how to plan your trip according to the 90/180 rule.

The Schengen Visa allows you to explore the Schengen area for a maximum stay of 90 days within a 180-day period.

How does the 90/180 rule work?

Let's clear up some confusion about this rule to help you plan your trip:

  • Calculation: The 180-day reference period isn't fixed. It's a moving window based on the current date and the past 180 days. Calculate the days you've spent in the country based on the last 180 days from today.

  • Counting days: Every day you spend in the Schengen Area counts towards the 90 days, including the day of arrival and departure.

Examples of Schengen itineraries and the 90/180 rule

Here are some example itineraries for visa applicants adhering to the 90/180 rule in the Schengen Zone:

  • Short stays (single-entry):

A tourist plans a 3-week trip to France and Italy. They spend 21 days in total in the Schengen Area. This counts as 21 days out of their 90-day limit.

  • Extended travels (multiple-entry):

A traveler visits Germany for 10 days, leaves for the UK (non-Schengen), and returns after 20 days to spend another 30 days in Spain. Both stays are counted separately, totaling 40 days of their 90-day limit.

  • Maximizing your stay (multiple-entry):

An individual plans a European itinerary, entering the Schengen Zone on June 1st and staying until August 29th (90 days). They must leave the Schengen Area by August 29th and cannot return until 180 days after their initial entry on June 1st.

Tips for planning your Schengen Visa itinerary

When applying for your Schengen visa, your itinerary is more than just a plan, it's a narrative of your journey that you must submit during your visa application.

Ensure it includes:

  • Entry and exit dates: Clearly outline your arrival and departure dates, adhering to the 90/180 rule, including a return flight or transport ticket.

  • Accommodation details: Whether it's a cozy Airbnb in Amsterdam, a friend or family member's house in Paris, or a boutique hotel in Bratislava, include where you'll be staying and submit any booking confirmations.

  • Travel plans: Highlight the countries and cities you plan to visit. Dreaming of exploring the fjords of Norway or the beaches of Greece? Let your travel itinerary reflect that and include any transportation options you plan to use, such as flight tickets.

The importance of a return flight ticket for your Schengen Visa application

Your application must include proof of a round-trip or onward flight itinerary, showcasing your commitment to return home after your European escapade.

Even embassies and consulates understand that it's unreasonable to expect applicants to purchase complete airline tickets upfront. They often advise getting a ticket with a 'free cancellation' option if you do decide to book in advance.

The European Union's visa consulate guidelines state: "A round trip reservation or itinerary with dates and flight numbers specifying entry and exit from the Schengen state is required. Some Schengen authorities accept the itinerary when applying for the visa but request the original air ticket when collecting the visa."

Using a dummy flight ticket for your Schengen Visa application

A dummy ticket, sometimes called a fake ticket or dummy booking, is essentially a mock flight reservation. People often use these as a stand-in for proof of onward travel in various situations like visa applications, immigration requirements, or other travel-related needs without buying a real ticket.

These mock tickets can be generated through different online tools or services, providing what appear to be flight reservation confirmations. Based on our experience, we strongly recommend avoiding fake flight itinerary generators for creating dummy tickets. These aren't only fraudulent but can also jeopardize your visa application and put you at risk of being denied boarding.

Writing a cover letter including an itinerary for Schengen Visa applications

Let's delve into how to write a cover letter effectively and include a sample itinerary for a Schengen visa application.

This is a crucial part of the application process, as it provides context to your travel plans and ensures that you comply with regulations like the 90/180 rule.

Purpose of the Schengen Visa cover letter

The cover letter serves as a personalized explanation of your travel intent, itinerary, and plans during your stay in the Schengen Area.

It acts as a formal introduction and supports your application by providing details that may not be clear from the application form alone.

What to include in your Schengen Visa cover letter

Here are some essential details to include in your cover letter:

  • Personal information: Start with your name, date of birth, and contact details.

  • Proof of ties to your home country: Explain your reasons for returning, like employment, family, or educational commitments.

  • Financial means: Mention your financial arrangements for the trip, indicating you have sufficient funds to cover your stay and details about your employment.

  • Closing statement: Conclude by affirming the accuracy of the information provided and your intent to abide by the Schengen rules.

  • Reason for traveling: Include why you want to visit a Schengen country.

  • Other info: If you were unable to submit any of the required documents, explain why.

  • Travel dates: Start with your arrival and departure dates, ensuring they're within the stipulated 90-day limit in a 180-day period. Include your main transportation details, like flights or trains, especially those showing your entry into and exit from the Schengen area.

  • Accommodation and logistics: Provide details of your accommodations for each destination on your route. If you're staying with friends or relatives, include a letter of invitation from them. Also, outline your internal travel plans, showing how you intend to move between different Schengen countries or cities.

aurora borealis northern lights

Schengen Visa cover letter example including itinerary

Here's a helpful guide with a sample cover letter for your Schengen Visa application. You can adapt this letter based on your personal info, situation, and reason for traveling.

Sample cover letter for a Schengen Tourist Visa

Incorporating this detailed itinerary helps visa officers better understand your travel plans, increasing the chances of a successful application.

[Current date]

[Destination of main destination country] Embassy

[Destination embassy address in the country of application]

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to apply for a Schengen visa for my upcoming visit to [country 1, country 2, etc.], planned for the period of [date, year until date, year]. I will travel [solo or indicate people in your travel group], primarily for [tourism, business, or other] purposes.

My itinerary includes exploring [famous landmarks in countries such as …]. Additionally, I am eager to experience [other landmarks or regions in the destination country].

During my trip, I also intend to visit [other country on itinerary] from [date until date] to meet a family member who resides in [town or city]. My accommodation during this time will be at my friend's residence. I will then travel to [next destination] to continue my tour, concluding in [last town/city] on [date, year].

I am currently employed at [name of company/organization] as a [job position], where I have been working for [number of years]. My annual salary is [salary amount]. Enclosed is a No Objection Certificate from my employer, granting me leave for this period.

I will be self-financing my travel and have attached proof of my financial capability to support myself during my stay.

Here is a detailed itinerary of my activities:

Date Activity
May-20 Arrival at [name of the airport] and accommodation at [accommodation/hotel name]
May-21 Visiting [tours and booked tickets]
May 22 – May 28 Exploring [city or town]
May-29 Taking a train from [location to location]
May 20 – June 4 Visiting my sister in [city/town] and exploring [destinations/landmarks in the country]
June 5 Taking the train from [location to location]
June 10 Leaving [last stop from (name of the airport)]

I have enclosed the following supporting visa application documents:

  • Schengen Visa Application Form

  • A copy of my passport

  • Flight and train ticket reservations

  • Schengen Visa Travel Health Insurance policy

  • Hotel reservation receipts

  • Letter of invitation from my family member

  • No Objection Certificate from my employer

  • Bank statements for the last six months

I trust that the information in this letter will be sufficient for a positive response to my application. Thank you for considering my request, and please feel free to reach out if you need any additional details.

Best regards,

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Your phone number]

[Your email address]

What else to expect during your Schengen Visa application

When applying for a Schengen Visa, it's important to be prepared for the entire process. Here's an overview of what you can expect:

  • Document verification: The consulate will thoroughly check all submitted documents, including your passport, application form, photos, travel insurance, flight itinerary, proof of accommodation, and financial means.

  • Interview: Most applicants must attend a visa interview. Expect questions about your trip, such as the purpose of your visit, your itinerary, and your ties to your home country.

If it's your first Schengen visa in the past five years, you must also provide biometric data (fingerprints and a digital photograph).

Here are some extra tips for a successful Schengen Visa interview.

  • Visa decision: After processing, you'll be informed of the decision. If your visa is approved, check the visa sticker for any errors and be aware of the validity period and the number of permitted entries.

  • Possible need for adaptability: Be prepared for possible changes. For example, travel restrictions or policy changes can affect visa processing. Remember, each Schengen state may have slightly different requirements or processes, so it's essential to check the specific requirements of the country you're applying to.

Being well-prepared and understanding what to expect can make your visa application process smoother and less stressful!

Need more info about the Schengen Visa requirements and itinerary?

If you have any questions, please contact our customer support team via online chat or WhatsApp. We're happy to help!

  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This site does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. For government source information, please visit our product pages.
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