Has anyone done the Tour du Mont Blanc in the last few years, specifically on a South African passport and booking directly with the refuges? The reason for my question is that my visa agent is telling me that the confirmations I received from the refuges may not be sufficient to obtain a Schengen visa because they don’t have addresses (what mountain hut does) or booking numbers? Many of the refuges just sent me an email confirming the booking. However, the French consulate can apparently be quite particular. The thing that I don’t understand though is that thousands of non-EU hikers seem to do this every year without mentioning any problems with visas.
Has anyone else got experience with this? I just want to understand before I submit my visa application if this will likely be a problem.
I did this hike a few years ago. I am a New Zealander so getting a shengen visa happens on arrival at a border in Europe, not sure of your rules but if you need a booking then I would suggest to just give your first nights accommodation in Europe and leave the rest open as you are travelling within Europe. The fact that you will be doing the tour is probably not worth mentioning. I hope this helps.
In SA you have to get a Schengen visa before departure. This is done at the French embassy. I believe it takes about 3 weeks to come through.
My Wife (South African) has to jump the Schengen visa loops every year we go north and even the Swiss Consulate’s Visa agent just wants a hotel booking, no matter if you cancel it after the application… its such a joke, they want us to lie blatantly and are totally OK with it.
I laughed when I arrived in Nepal (visa on arrival) and they wanted confirmation of where I’m staying. The answer is largely wherever I happen to stop for the day. Luckily I had booked a place in Kathmandu for that night, so I just used that address. But having it listed as “address for duration of stay” is laughable - I doubt most tourists visiting Nepal are staying in Kathmandu for more than a day or 2.
Well, we managed to get it done, but it really is a tickbox exercise. Paid extra for a service with the visa processing company where they check documents for one. Well worth it as we would not have got it all correct. Two things specific to hiking in the alps are:
- They don’t want an email confirming the booking, it has to be a booking confirmation form or letter.
- You have to write a motivation letter explaining why you are not providing them proof of transport when crossing the borders, i.e. because you are hiking the trail across the borders. This must include the days when you are hiking across the borders.
Anyway, now that it is done, we have learnt what to do to get a Schengen visa for the TMB. We’ve also learnt so much now about how and when to book and arrange the logistics from South Africa. So give us a shout if you want to do it.
If you had a personal residential address that you were going to stay in wouldn’t that hell with the visa issues?
Bloody Saffa’s are scattered all over the world there’s got to be someone you know who’s be willing to put you up for the duration of your visit and if your plans change on arrival - we’ll you’ve got the visa and off you go.
UK not being in Europe I do t think the shengen visa is relevant otherwise I’d be happy to confirm your staying with me