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We applied for a tourist visa for a family trip during our annual leave in summer in Portuguese embassy in Tehran (Iran). After a long time our visa requests were approved. In our applying form, we had booked a 4-star hotel on booking.com, but because of the long visa processing time our booking expired and the embassy has asked us to provide them a new booking. They said booking.com is not acceptable and we should made a non refundable booking with a local travel agency. We did it but with a cheap 3-star hotel, because our trip is coming in 20 days and I was afraid any changes in our schedule will cause us to lose money. The embassy said that we should change the booking to non refundable one for a 4-star hotel, and otherwise our visa will be canceled.

I have tried negotiating with them and they returned our passports with visas canceled.

How can I proceed in this situation?

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    Chances are that you showed them a high end booking (ie proof we can afford our trip) but it turned out to be only a temporary hold. Then you replaced it with a cheap hotel, leaving the consular official feeling you lied about your financial resources for the trip. – user13044 Aug 4 '17 at 21:12
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    What do you mean canceled your visa? Is there a visa sticker in your passport that says canceled? – greatone Sep 2 '17 at 3:17
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    what box was checked on the refusal notice? – Gayot Fow Sep 2 '17 at 3:40
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Indeed Schengen visa code does not require nonrefundable accommodations:

Article 14

Supporting documents

  1. When applying for a uniform visa, the applicant shall present:

...

(b) documents in relation to accommodation, or proof of sufficient means to cover his accommodation;

Even proof of accommodation itself is not required, if you can provide "proof of sufficient means to cover his accommodation". A lot of my close relatives and friends had applied for Schengen visa - this includes strict countries like NL and DE - and nonrefundable accommodation was never required.

So what possibly triggered this inquiry in your case? Most likely this is the fact that you booked the accommodation, but once they rechecked it again after issuing the visa, the booking was not there anymore. This made them suspicious that you canceled the reservation once submitting the application, and thus never intended to use it. Which in turn made them wonder whether you're a genuine tourist. Suspicions like that are not good for one's credibility. Thus it was good idea to provide an explanation why it happened, especially if it was not your fault. For example, if the accommodation got canceled because the hotel got overbooked, and notified you of cancellation, this notification should have been sent to Embassy. This would help establishing you as a trustworthy individual who simply got unlucky, and not as someone who's trying to game the system.

Of course now it is all vain, but for future cases, in this case it might be helpful to provide the following:

  • An explanation what happened to the initial booking. Even if you think it doesn't look good, absent this explanation they'd imagine something way worse - for example that you tried to provide fake documents. Comparing to that if you say "I was sure my visa is denied and decided to cancel so I wouldn't lose money" sounds much better.

  • A new booking in a similar type and class of accommodation. I would book directly with a hotel and not with booking.com as it is much easier for the Embassy to verify your booking shall they decide to do so.

  • Other proof that you have "sufficient means to cover his accommodation" - such as credit cards with balance, bank statements etc. As Tom said in comments, if you switch the hotel from $90 a night to $20 a night, the consular officer might wonder what change of circumstances you had during the processing time (got bankrupt? lost job? sued in court?), and thus it is better to be proactive and prove that your financial circumstances didn't change.

Regarding how to proceed? You can apply for a new visa, but make sure this time your application withstands extreme scrutiny. Probably better to visit some other countries first.

  • thanks, all of my documents were ok and just this officer seems has a personal problem with me! anyhow is there any chance to change this situation? how will this issue affect on my next visas? – MEISAM Aug 5 '17 at 4:09
  • meanwhile, she knows my hotel is booked truly and is non-refundable, she says why your hotel is 3-star?!! – MEISAM Aug 5 '17 at 4:12
  • I don't see a visa officer having issues here. In act they did express courtesy by asking you to resubmit another booking. They were not required to do this, and could just refuse your visa right away. Why it went wrong, we can only guess without seeing the actual communication between you two (this is important). I already suggested how to proceed, and I'm unsure whether it will affect other visas to other countries; probably yes, but the impact shouldn't be significant. – George Y. Aug 5 '17 at 6:36
  • the fact that you booked the accommodation, but once they rechecked it again after issuing the visa, the booking was not there anymore. This made them suspicious that you canceled the reservation once submitting the application, and thus never intended to use it. Which in turn made them wonder whether you're a genuine tourist.I don't know if I agree with you. Consular officers know that people cancel bookings all the time. Most embassies even recommend not booking a ticket before visa is issued. I routinely make bookings and then cancel them immediately after I print the reservation. – user 56513 Aug 5 '17 at 10:15
  • @PaulofOsawatomieأبوعمار to qualify for Schengen tourist visa you must provide proof of accommodation (or means to afford one). I have quoted the relevant Visa Code (which is the law regulating issuance of visas). This is not the case for a (very) few other visas (such as US visa), but this is not relevant for this question. So the consular officer legally cannot issue him a visa unless they receive the proof of accommodation. – George Y. Aug 6 '17 at 22:31

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