What to do When You Need to Give a Hotel Address at Immigration

Sometimes, immigration authorities ask you to provide an accommodation address or specifically a hotel address when arriving. But this might not always be possible. What do you do when:

  • You are not staying a night but going on to another country? Usually in that case it is best to give the destination town and flight number/ferry number/train number or write “by car” or even “on foot” as appropriate.
  • You have not yet booked a hotel or accommodation? Some countries treat this quite seriously – China, for example, sometimes requires printed proof of hotel reservations prior to issuing a visa, let alone letting you past immigration. Note that cancellable hotel reservations are typically fine. In fact, lots of countries require you to provide an accommodation address, such as for example the United States. Explaining that you have not booked one in advance, no matter how reasonable that may be, can cause problems. In this situation, many travellers simply write in the name of a large, well-known hotel chain with branches in the destination city. The larger it is and the more branches they have, some figure, the less likely they are to face further questioning.
  • You plan on staying in non-booked accommodation, such as with a friend or family member? This depends on the country you are visiting. In many you could write down their name and address and specify their relationship to you e.g. “friend”. In some countries, however, your hosts may prefer that you keep this out of government records, and simply put down a vague hotel address, as above.

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