How can I get an ‘invitation’ to Russia?

I understand that in order to get a visa to visit Russia you need an invitation before you can get a visa.

If you don’t have family or friends that you are visiting and you aren’t part of an organised tour, how can you obtain an invitation?

Answer

Well, everything is for sale. There are companies out there that will provide you with an official invitation for set prices. (try Google)

I’ve bought a (single entry) business invitation some years ago, and everything worked out fine. I’ve met several travellers (in Russia) who bought tourist visa invitations.

Some gotchas:

  • The invitation will not be provided more than 45 days in advance.
  • There are quite some options to choose from. Transit, Tourist and Business visa invitations are the more useful options for travellers.
  • There are different visa durations for the Tourist and Business visa, some allow for multiple entries, some (the most common) are single entry only.

Make sure you leave the country one day ahead of the expiration date as to avoid trouble when, for example, your train is delayed.

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