Obtaining A Russian Invitation

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How to get An Invitation to Russia

To go to Russia involves getting a visa but before you can obtain your visa you must have an Invitation to Russia. The invitation is basically a document that supports your visa application.

It can come from a hotel you are staying at or from a tour agent. We are travelling quite independently so we searched around the internet for ways to get an invitation. We found several businesses who specialize in issuing invitations even though you are not staying with them or going on any tours they organise. This seems to be a normal practice in Russia. We were intending to use the services of Way to Russia and they advertise they can organise the invitation for $30 USD. However we failed to get sensible responses back from them regarding enquiries we made about train bookings so we decided to look elsewhere. We then found a company called Go To Russia. They charged $20 USD per invitation.


Getting our invitation fast

At 8:30 p.m. we completed their online questionnaire and submitted our credit card details. Believe it or not, two hours later our invitations were emailed to us. They advertise quick service but we thought two hours was outstandingly good.

In the questionnaire you need to tell them what stop overs you are having whilst you are in Russia. You also need to write down what accommodation you have booked, if any. When the invitation is emailed back to you they use some of the information you give them and they bulk it out with details of other accommodations you "might" have if you chose to. Russian bureaucracy stipulates that you must tell the government where and when you will be located throughout your time in their country. What it comes down to is this - "bookings" are made for you in various cities you are going to by the Invitation Agency but you don't have to validate those bookings by arriving at the hotel or paying for the accommodation. It still seems strange to us but it is the way things are done and the Russian government seems happy with it.



What does an Invitation to Russia look like?

This is what one of our invitations looks like:

A russian invitation


Now we both have our invitations we can begin the process of getting our visas.


Next page - Obtaining Our Visas


Our trip in the order it happened:

Travel Planning Necessities
World time zones, world weather, currency converter, language translator services.

Search over 25,000 hostels.

Trip Advisor Forum - Russia
The place to find information about Russia when you can't find it elsewhere.

Way To Russia
Another very good forum

Getting A Russian Visa
The process is explained

Trains between Moscow & Saint Petersburg
Explanation of the types of trains on that route.

Firmenny Trains
An explanation of what they are.

Moscow's Railway Stations
A map of their locations and proximities.

Learn How To Speak Russian
Free lessons.

Map of St. Petersburg
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Map of Moscow
Lonely Planet's map of the city.

Moscow Times Newspaper
English version.

The Russia Club
A forum for all those interested in anything "Russian".

Russian Rail Timetable
It takes a bit of mastering but Ian managed it (eventually).

The Art Of Travel
Very interesting travel information for all locations.

Smart Traveller
Australian Government's site dealing with current travel advice.

Travel Independent
A site written by travellers for travellers. Lots of information.

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