Search 58,412 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.

Visa for Thai person without prearranged accommodation

bkkboy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I would like to walk the French Camino again next Summer with my Thai friend. As a UK subject I can enter Spain easily, but my Thai friend needs to show prearranged accommodation to get a tourist visa for Spain. Since we planned to look for a hostel at the end of each day, prearranging accommodation is not feasible. How have other pilgrims from non-Schengen countries dealt with this previously?
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Not sure there is an easy answer.
First time my wife Pat (Thai) travelled to Europe, we had to show a full itinerary, as she was still on a Thai Passport at the time.
 

bkkboy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
I live in Thailand and my friend holds a Thai passport. Prearranged accomodation every night is a problem.
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I live in Thailand and my friend holds a Thai passport. Prearranged accomodation every night is a problem.
Try to search the forum for relevant posts from Camino walkers from South Africa because they are in the same situation and there are a number of them who actively post on this forum. I cannot tell right now whether there is a common tag for such posts which would make the search easier.

I cannot remember how an itinerary with daily changing accommodation is handled for applications for Schengen visa, sorry. I had a quick look at the Spanish embassy in Bangkok or rather at BLS International who handle this for Spain and where your friend has to apply for the visa but I did not see any helpful relevant information there.

Forum member @jsalt may be able to help as she has organised several camino trips to Spain for travellers from South Africa.
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
One way would be to book fully refundable accommodation (e.g. many properties on booking.com offer this) for the duration of the stay at the city of arrival/departure, and then cancel it once the visa has been approved. A problem here might be that if your friend is asked why they are traveling to Spain when applying for the visa, they would have to give a different reason for the trip. Of course, you could also try to book fully refundable accommodation throughout the camino and then not have to lie about the purpose of the trip, but that would require a lot more effort.
 

dick bird

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Plata, Ingles, Madrid, Norte, Primitivo, Invierno, Aragones, Olvidado, Chemin D'Arles
The UK is a non-Schengen country too, of course. Countries have different visa requirements for different countries depending on how much of a 'risk' they are thought to pose.

Does your Thai friend require a consular visa (obtained before travel) or a tourist visa issued at point of entry? If the former, they might be able to convince the Spanish consulate that they are not a risk and have a visa issued before travel without having to show bookings (though a healthy bank balance/credit rating would probably be asked for instead).

If the latter, they could make a booking.com booking, print out the confirmation and then cancel it. It is very unlikely the immigration control are going to check up on every entering tourist unless they have reason to suspect.

But I think talking to the Spanish consulate, and explaining their situation is the way to go so that they know exactly what the Spanish authorities want.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I live in Thailand and my friend holds a Thai passport. Prearranged accomodation every night is a problem.

Yes I get that. Just saying, that's what we had to do.

I won't go into all the drama we have had with Thai family members trying to get Visa to visit us here in Australia. Just for a holiday!

The Visa process can get extremely offensive, very unfair and totally disheartening. And this was the Australian Consulate in BKK. We have basically given up. It's just too soul destroying and stressful to go through the process any more.

This is the 'reality' as they keep telling me.
Sadly, there are some countries around the World whose residents have a 'record' of over staying their visas. Thailand is one of those. So expect Visa 'rules' to be very strict.

On the other hand, I have a small business in the Philippines, and our staff there have no problem coming over to visit us in Australia. That country is treated differently.

I feel your pain.

I would make sure any Visa application for your friend crosses all the T's and dots all the i's and then double check. As was suggested, maybe book accommodation that can be cancelled?

When my wife first travelled to Europe with me (on a Thai passport), the Schengen visa had to be issued by the first country we entered. This was France. The French consulate insisted on seeing accommodation bookings for the whole trip. So we did a coach tour of Europe!

Thankfully Pat got Australian citizenship about 15 years ago so all that is behind us.

But for some Nationalities, like Thai, it almost seems easier to get there in the back of a truck or a small boat!

Sorry, the topic makes me very bitter.
When tourists, just because of their Nationality are treated like criminals. :(

I wish you luck........
 
Last edited:

bkkboy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks. My friend can demonstrate she is not a risk since she holds a very senior Thai government position. She needs to apply for a visa in Thailand, so a consular visa is necessary. I had thought of pre-booking accommodation and cancelling when visa issued. Not sure she would go along with that though. I am looking at options that I can be up front about accommodation.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Thanks. My friend can demonstrate she is not a risk since she holds a very senior Thai government position. She needs to apply for a visa in Thailand, so a consular visa is necessary. I had thought of pre-booking accommodation and cancelling when visa issued. Not sure she would go along with that though. I am looking at options that I can be up front about accommodation.

A senior secure job, will help a lot.
It shows evidence of a need to return home.
Any other such 'evidence' will be very positive.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
The most selling Camino Guide is shipping November 1st. Get your today and start planning.
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Just for info: I had checked the website (link: How to enter Spain from Thailand) of the Spanish embassy in Bangkok before I posted above. It says:
Thailand: To apply for Schengen visas get an appointment at BLS Bangkok. For other visas get appointment directly at the Embassy.​

The application process for a Schengen visa is standardised, with a standardised application form and standardised requirements. In the given case, the person has to apply either for a Schengen visa issued by Spain (country where he or she will spend most of the time of the visit) or by France (country of first entry). The embassies of the EU/Schengen countries have often outsourced this process. This is the case for the Spanish embassy in Thailand. Thai applicants who want to get a visa for camino walking have to apply through BLS Bangkok.

Based on what I remember from anecdotal evidence of forum members in similar situations, mention of the Camino de Santiago doesn't cut much ice. You are a tourist who wants a Schengen visa and you have to fulfil the requirements, like any other tourist who wants a Schengen visa.

Main point: Make it credible by providing required and appropriate documentary proof that you have the financial means to support yourself while in Spain and to return to your home country before 90 days are over. I understand the discomfort about booking accommodation and cancelling it but I vaguely remember that this is not uncommon. I also vaguely remember that a very detailed itinerary may be sufficient. Idea: A plan for every single day with details of the hotel or albergue where you plan to book your accommodation. You are not legally obliged to stick to the itinerary day by day and word for word. I also vaguely remember something about invitation letters or letters from Camino associations that had been added as documentary proof to the Schengen visa application form.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Sadly, there are some countries around the World whose residents have a 'record' of over staying their visas. Thailand is one of those. So expect Visa 'rules' to be very strict.
Don't scare them :cool:. You will find that there is a big difference for tourists from Thailand between visas granted by EU/Schengen countries and visas granted by Australia.

Illegal immigration from Thailand is not a major concern for the EU. In 2019, the EU consulates in Thailand received 340,000 applications for an EU/Schengen visa and only 4% were refused. Compare this with a refusal rate of over 40% for applications for an EU/Schengen visa received in countries like Algeria, Nigeria, or Senegal.
 
Last edited:

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
How have other pilgrims from non-Schengen countries dealt with this previously?

Hi, I have a British passport so I don’t need a Schengen Visa myself, but it is a pain for my South African friends.

When I organize a trip on the camino for the local hiking club I first encourage them to join the Confraternity of St James in South Africa.

They will issue their members with an original letter stating that xx will be going on camino on xx date and will be staying in hostels along the way.

The Spanish consulate here recognizes that letter. I think it has been enough for some South Africans in the past, PLUS copies of their return flights, PLUS copies of recent bank statements showing they have xx funds available.

However, as there are 12 or more people in my groups I do pre-book accommodation anyway.

To increase their chances of successful visa application, I produce a “brochure”, showing the name, address and telephone number of each place we will be staying at.

Apparently this has helped a lot with their applications, and they have NOT had to provide proof of the bookings I’ve made.

Hope this helps. Jill
 

Davidmm

Member
Past OR future Camino
(2017)
Try to search the forum for relevant posts from Camino walkers from South Africa because they are in the same situation and there are a number of them who actively post on this forum. I cannot tell right now whether there is a common tag for such posts which would make the search easier.

I cannot remember how an itinerary with daily changing accommodation is handled for applications for Schengen visa, sorry. I had a quick look at the Spanish embassy in Bangkok or rather at BLS International who handle this for Spain and where your friend has to apply for the visa but I did not see any helpful relevant information there.

Forum member @jsalt may be able to help as she has organised several camino trips to Spain for travellers from South Africa.
The South African Confraternity of St James had an arrangement with the Spanish Embassy that we previously did not need pre-booked accomodation.
 

Davidmm

Member
Past OR future Camino
(2017)
Try to search the forum for relevant posts from Camino walkers from South Africa because they are in the same situation and there are a number of them who actively post on this forum. I cannot tell right now whether there is a common tag for such posts which would make the search easier.

I cannot remember how an itinerary with daily changing accommodation is handled for applications for Schengen visa, sorry. I had a quick look at the Spanish embassy in Bangkok or rather at BLS International who handle this for Spain and where your friend has to apply for the visa but I did not see any helpful relevant information there.

Forum member @jsalt may be able to help as she has organised several camino trips to Spain for travellers from South Africa.
The South AfrIcan Confraternity of St James had an arrangement with the Spanish Embassy that we previously did not need pre-booked accomodation.
 
Fine art photography from the Camino Ways.
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
Try to search the forum for relevant posts from Camino walkers from South Africa because they are in the same situation and there are a number of them who actively post on this forum. I cannot tell right now whether there is a common tag for such posts which would make the search easier.
The closest tag would be the one that I have now attached to this thread - "travel-documents/insurance". The tag can be seen at the top of the thread, under the title, or click here.
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
AFAIK th;ere is no Thai association, but perhaps the Australian one might be of assistance. In Canada, the CCoP provided a testimonial to their non-citizen members, which was accepted by the Spanish consulates here for visa purposes.
 

taigirl

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2019
Try to search the forum for relevant posts from Camino walkers from South Africa because they are in the same situation and there are a number of them who actively post on this forum. I cannot tell right now whether there is a common tag for such posts which would make the search easier.

I cannot remember how an itinerary with daily changing accommodation is handled for applications for Schengen visa, sorry. I had a quick look at the Spanish embassy in Bangkok or rather at BLS International who handle this for Spain and where your friend has to apply for the visa but I did not see any helpful relevant information there.

Forum member @jsalt may be able to help as she has organised several camino trips to Spain for travellers from South Africa.
I walked with a South African woman in 2019. We booked accommodation along the way as needed. She had a SA passport and didn't need to show accommodation. Why not pre book but then cancel and change once in Spain. I had a similar situation to get a visa for China.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
One way would be to book fully refundable accommodation (e.g. many properties on booking.com offer this) for the duration of the stay at the city of arrival/departure, and then cancel it once the visa has been approved. A problem here might be that if your friend is asked why they are traveling to Spain when applying for the visa, they would have to give a different reason for the trip. Of course, you could also try to book fully refundable accommodation throughout the camino and then not have to lie about the purpose of the trip, but that would require a lot more effort.
I think that it would be best to book fully refundable accommodations for the entire Camino, then cancel them if needed. I would not lie about the purpose of my trip.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
Don't scare them :cool:. You will find that there is a big difference for tourists from Thailand between visas granted by EU/Schengen countries and visas granted by Australia.

Illegal immigration from Thailand is not a major concern for the EU. In 2019, the EU consulates in Thailand received 340,000 applications for an EU/Schengen visa and only 4% were refused. Compare this with a refusal rate of over 40% for applications for an EU/Schengen visa received in countries like Algeria, Nigeria, or Senegal.

Sorry, no intention to scare anyone.
But as I pointed out, my wife on a Thai Passport travelling to France (as the port of entry), had to show a complete itinerary.
 
2022 Camino Guides
The 2022 Camino guides will be coming out little by little, most of them by the end of 2021. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop

Lindsay53

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances April / May 19
One way would be to book fully refundable accommodation (e.g. many properties on booking.com offer this) for the duration of the stay at the city of arrival/departure, and then cancel it once the visa has been approved. A problem here might be that if your friend is asked why they are traveling to Spain when applying for the visa, they would have to give a different reason for the trip. Of course, you could also try to book fully refundable accommodation throughout the camino and then not have to lie about the purpose of the trip, but that would require a lot more effort.

Thanks. My friend can demonstrate she is not a risk since she holds a very senior Thai government position. She needs to apply for a visa in Thailand, so a consular visa is necessary. I had thought of pre-booking accommodation and cancelling when visa issued. Not sure she would go along with that though. I am looking at options that I can be up front about accommodation.

As someone who has some experience with these things ( I used to be a Customs Officer) I can tell you that being up front is the best way to go ahead. Do not listen to anyone suggesting your friend lie or mislead on her visa application. That will only end badly. Unfortunately Thailand is classed as a high risk country for overstayers and certain other issues and visa applicants are more carefully scrutinised than those of many other countries. Having said that, genuine travellers will have no problem. As I said earlier, your friend should contact the Embassy and explain about the Camino. I am very sure they will understand.
 

jungleboy

Spirit of the Camino (Nick)
Past OR future Camino
A few in the past; more in the future!
I think that it would be best to book fully refundable accommodations for the entire Camino, then cancel them if needed. I would not lie about the purpose of my trip.
Oh definitely. It’s just a lot more effort and it may be difficult to find refundable accommodation for every end-of-stage location on the camino.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Oh definitely. It’s just a lot more effort and it may be difficult to find refundable accommodation for every end-of-stage location on the camino.
But, end of stage locations don't really matter if they will be canceling them anyway.
I would use booking.com to make the cancelations easier.
 
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Sorry, no intention to scare anyone.
But as I pointed out, my wife on a Thai Passport travelling to France (as the port of entry), had to show a complete itinerary.
Out of curiosity, I had a look at the application forms / application procedures for a Thai national who applies to either France or Spain for a short-stay Schengen visa (see here for France and here for Spain).

As you say, a complete itinerary is a prerequisite and so is accommodation booking. I don't know how individuals solve this conundrum concerning accommodation when they want to go on a Camino trip or a backpacking trip in Europe. As @jsalt has indicated, the more detailed the documentation submitted, such as the itinerary, the greater probably the chances of a successful application for a short-stay Schengen Visa.

I am a little doubtful about the advice given in some posts to just say that one wants to go on a Camino and hence won't book accommodation because Spanish embassy staff (or the staff to which they have outsourced the application process) will surely understand. If it were so easy, surely everyone who applies for a short-stay Schengen visa would opt for this method to get into Europe?

Like many people do, whether they benefit from the visa waiver program or not, I would at least book some nights at the beginning and at the end of my Camino trip, and, as is normal, would make use of the flexibility to cancel or change one or the other of these bookings when it turns out that circumstances require it. One could, in good conscience, do the same for a few major stops like Pamplona, Burgos and Leon.
 
Last edited:
Past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
This is just background information and of no practical use. What counts are the requirements of the EU country in relation to which you apply for a short-stay Schengen visa and how they handle the application process. The so-called EU Visa Code, ie the relevant EU law. says this:

When applying for a uniform [short stay Schengen] visa, the applicant shall present:​
(a) documents indicating the purpose of the journey;​
(b) documents in relation to accommodation, or proof of sufficient means to cover his accommodation;​
(c) documents indicating that the applicant possesses sufficient means of subsistence both for the duration of the intended stay and for the return to his country of origin or residence, or for the transit to a third country into which he is certain to be admitted, or that he is in a position to acquire such means lawfully, in accordance with Article 5(1)(c) and (3) of the Schengen Borders Code;​
(d) information enabling an assessment of the applicant’s intention to leave the territory of the Member States before the expiry of the visa applied for.​
As the example of South Africa show, there are apparently other ways to comply with these conditions than 30+ hotel bookings.
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Fine art photography from the Camino Ways.

WGroleau

Wandering Weirdo
Past OR future Camino
2015 & 2016 (partial)
I don't know whether this would work, but having spent seventeen months in Spain, dealing with various offices, I'd probably take a chance on reserving ten weeks in a hotel in Pamplona, and then after arrival, talk to the Guardia Civil about your plan to cancel the hotel and do the Camino, completing and leaving before your visa would expire. I suspect they would be quite approving of that idea. Maybe you could even contact the and get a response that you could print out and show to anyone that asks along the way.

Another option would be to find places that will take reservations at allergies less than thirty kilometers apart, and then you can cancel if you find you're going faster, or slower.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
after arrival, talk to the Guardia Civil about your plan to cancel the hotel and do the Camino, completing and leaving before your visa would expire. I suspect they would be quite approving of that idea.
But I don't think the Guardia Civil has anything to do with immigration and visas. Nobody will be asking, along the way. The only controls/concerns are at the borders where there is an immigration office.
 

bkkboy

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Thanks everyone. I agree with the reply that I should be upfront when applying for a visa. I am still left with the problem that if I book cheaper non-refundable airfare and hotels I will be left out of pocket if the visa is refused. If I buy the more expensive refundable airfares and hotels, when I receive the visa, the first thing I will do is cancel all refundable bookings and rebook in less expensive non-refundable places. I will phone the embassy and ask what they suggest.
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
@bkkboy When you speak with the Embassy, make sure that you let them know that you are walking the Camino as a pilgrim and, as well, that many of the pilgrims' albergues do not take reservations, and ask for their advice. Try to speak with a Spanish officer, rather than a locally-engaged staff member, who may not be familiar with the Camino.
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Past OR future Camino
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks everyone. I agree with the reply that I should be upfront when applying for a visa. I am still left with the problem that if I book cheaper non-refundable airfare and hotels I will be left out of pocket if the visa is refused. If I buy the more expensive refundable airfares and hotels, when I receive the visa, the first thing I will do is cancel all refundable bookings and rebook in less expensive non-refundable places. I will phone the embassy and ask what they suggest.
I don't know about the route that you are planning, but I've recently been looking at fights from the Oregon to Portugal for next Spring, and the price for refundable tickets is much lower than it has been in the past. As far as accommodations, just look on booking.com, and you will find many without cancellation fees that you don't have to pay for in advance.
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I think that it would be best to book fully refundable accommodations for the entire Camino, then cancel them if needed. I would not lie about the purpose of my trip.
This is where a site like booking.com is extremely beneficial. I had to cancel approx. 25 pre-made bookings for my 2020 Camino due to covid and the ease of making those cancellations was so appreciated. Had I made each one separately, the process of canceling would most likely have been a nightmare.
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 101 ratings
Downloads
15,269
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,934
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,731
Updated

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top