I know this is a bit strange. I’m a guest not a host but I would like a host’s opinion on this. I am an international student to study in France. The French embassy is Nigeria is really strict and won’t issue me a visa if the air b n b host does not provide a scanned copy of their ID and a utility bill to prove ownership. The host was reluctant to do this until I missed my visa appointment and I now have to be late to study. Finally, I am contacted by the host asking me to pay about €500 more in order to provide me with the necessary documents. I said I couldn’t AF
As a host I wouldn’t be prepared to send any of my documents to a guest like that for a visa. No chance, you;d be better off with student residences, why are you using airBnB which is essentially a holiday accomodation site.
I did eventually find a host who sent scanned copies of those documents to the consulate. What could the guest really do with your passport data page or ID that makes you uncomfortable? Would you be more willing if you charged more money? Especially after the guest has paid for the apartment. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any available spaces in the student residences close to the school.
A passport and utility bill would be all that’s required for someone to steal your identity. I might be willing to provide this info directly to the consulate but I certainly wouldn’t give it to a prospective guest. Not even for money. That’s weird. Glad you found a place. Good luck with your studies.
I’m pleased you got a helpful host and resolved the problem.
I’m sure your request is legitimate as my son also had to provide proof from the residence hall that he was staying in for his exchange year. Normally the university has housing set up in advance for exchange students so they don’t have to struggle in foreign places with things like this? So I’m wondering why that was not the case for you.
I would keep in contact with your university housing office and get on a waiting list if possible. AirBnB is not a good long term option! (And will be much more expensive.)
While I’m sympathetic toward students in your situation, I would never ever hand over my ID to anyone for the purposes of a booking.
Agree with others here. Hosts are already verified by AirBnB. I would be annoyed (not to mention uncomfortable) by the request for additional verification. Honestly I would have declined to host you.
I think there’s a failure for hosts to understand that non-EU or US citizens may request these things not for their personal use but for the consulate. Also, it’s okay if you want to decline but the host asking me for more money for the purpose of those documents is a bit dodgy.
I am a black Nigerian female and my host is white. I don’t know how I could steal her identity. I think it may be best to probably request more proof from a prospective guest if it may make you feel comfortable. There are so many people like me out there who request these things for legitimate reasons.
Fair enough. I don’t think anyone in my situation would mind if you sent it directly to the consulate. They would only insist you send it to them personally if they have ulterior motives.
Maybe if you provided the host with all the visa documentation, etc., and proof of what you are trying to do it would have gone a bit smoother. Especially if she was willing to deal directly with the consulate. But she shouldn’t be charging you that much extra for it.
It’s a lot of trouble to go through for a guest, and I doubt I would have agreed to it myself. I still think it is worth a shot to keep in touch with your own university as well as the exchange one and try to get into a dorm or nearby campus housing… Things change a lot in the first few weeks as students settle in. Rooms that were previously booked turn up as kids change dorms or roommates. You will want to be in the dorms anyway for the best exchange experience! (Now I sound like your mom!)
Fii, I sympathise with you as I know that all the Schengen countries are getting VERY strict with visas, particularly student ones. We live in Spain and wanted to host a friend from South Africa (in fact the mother of our future daughter-in-law. Not only were we required to send ID (passport photcopies) but also copies of emails between us and family photos to prove that she was really a friend!
I’m glad you managed to sort things out - I’m sure you’ll have a fabulous time in France!
Fii, it can be tough to be new in a foreign country and I definitely sympathize with your situation. With that being said, I would caution any hosts against providing documents like these to guests. While in this case it’s a legitimate request, as Stephanie mentioned, that’s all that would be required for identity theft, which can end up costing thousands to clear your record from the false transactions. While you may want to be a good host, think about whether you will be okay with the consequences if the request turns out to be fradulent. What I can suggest if you ever get a case like this is to contact the consulate directly and give your documents directly to their office (if you actually want to help and are comfortable with this) rather than passing off your documents to a guest.
Fii while I sympathize with your situation, as a host also from Africa, I would be very unlikely to give out that info to a potential guest!
I just wouldn’t be comfortable.
So you should be really grateful for your host that sent that information. And sending the info direct to the consulate was a prudent move on her part.
I hope you enjoy your time in France, and don’t give your passport etc to your host in France when you get there!
Thanks for posting this question - it gives us hosts more knowledge to use in the future.
As a mom who adopted 2 kids from China, I know that the visa process can be grueling.
I would want to help in this situation but it is a little dicey. At least if I do get the request (and I’m a few minutes away from a major university with TONS of international students) I’ll have an idea of how it all works.
I’m glad you did not pay the host the extra money - I think you were saved from an unpleasant situation totally!!
Also glad it worked out for you, and have a great time in France!