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So on the visa website one of requirements listed is "An airline reservation showing date of departure or a handwritten and legible statement from the applicant indicating the intended date of departure, as well as a formal commitment not to depart before that date. It is not possible to modify the start date of a visa once the application is made."

Is one really expected to purchase the flight beforehand? The registration for my classes (I'm going on a long-stay student visa) begins on January 24th, can I purchase the flight for say, Jan 6th? Can I come back home a day or two after my classes end, or does the flight dates need to match exactly what is in my university acceptance letter?

I'm thinking of just doing the handwritten thing (in case my visa gets denied) but I still don't know what dates to request.
 

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They only require a reservation, not the final tickets. Some airline sites will let you reserve and hold for a few days before you have to pay.

I believe they'll allow you to propose a flight date a couple of weeks before your classes start, but not much more than that. And, a few days after your classes end should work, too.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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