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I am applying for a complicated visa right now and I was told the chance of refusing visa application is high. What happens if my visa is refused and I already have my airplane ticket? My flight is in one month, with British Airways. Is there a chance of getting my money back? Will the embassy give some affirmation for the flying company to cancel the ticket?

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Airplane tickets come with a variety of refund and change policies, depending on the price you pay and the airline policies (usually, higher priced tickets are easier to change or refund). You may choose to purchase a fully refundable ("full fare") ticket which would allow you to get your money back if your visa application is not successful.

Be aware that fully refundable tickets can be considerably more expensive than discount fares, so depending on your circumstances it may be cheaper to buy a discount fare (which you can't refund), and just not fly if you don't get your visa.

If you have already purchased your ticket, you'll have to check the conditions for the fare that you paid. Airlines are unlikely to be sympathetic if you don't get your visa, but it can't hurt to ask if you find yourself unable to take the flight.

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It is not obvious from your post if you already bought your ticket or not.

If you did not, but need a ticket for applying, the following tip might be useful: According to a post at flyertalk (, it is common practice to buy a full-fare ticket, apply for the visa, and then cancel the fully-refundable ticket when the visa decision has been made. In case the visa is accepted, then you buy a new ticket at a lower price. This might be against the rules of the visa application, though, so please check.

Also note that there are some airlines that have an explicit money-back policy for such cases. You would use the formal letter by the embassy that your visa has been denied to use the policy.

If you did book your flight already, your fare is non-refundable, and your visa was denied, you can still try to contact customer service and ask for a refund anyway. Especially if you manage to elevate the issue, there is a chance that they will make an exception.

And finally, even if that does not work out, and cancellation is not possible, but there is the possibility to do a change-for-a-fee, then you can try to cancel the flight, and you can redeem the money already spent on a later flight with the same airline, possibly elsewhere (minus the change fee).

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If you didn't buy a fully-refundable ticket (or one that's easily changeable with a fee), then you could always look into purchasing trip cancellation insurance - just make sure this issue would be covered in your policy. Or perhaps you purchased your ticket on a credit card that has special coverage for cancellations and similiar issues? It doesn't hurt to call your credit card company to find out.

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Note that insurance doesn't cover you for something that's already happened at the time you bought the ticket. Also, cancellation insurance may only cover "unforseen" circumstances and you may find yourself in a catch-22. If you tell the insurance company you're worried you might not get a visa, they'll charge you a huge amount for the insurance; if you don't tell them, you may find they refuse to pay out because the potential for visa trouble is materially significant to the coverage. – David Richerby Apr 11 '14 at 19:14

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