Your dream of visiting the largest country in the world is finally coming true! You’ve got the budget, you’ve got the time. Nothing in the world should be able to stop you, right? Not quite. You still need to get a Russian visa invitation online to be able to obtain your Russian visa. And that is what we will be talking about in this article.
Russia is one of those countries that require an invitation for a visa. You need to get invited or hosted by someone who is living in the country (a friend or a relative). You can also be hosted by a hotel where you’ll stay during your Russian vacation, the school or university if you are going to study in the country, or the Russian company in case of a business trip.
You’ll also need an invitation letter if you are: going to work, a journalist covering a piece of news in Russia, scientific research, and sporting events.
Let’s learn more about getting a visa for your Russian trip:
NOTE: All prices are in US Dollars
COUNTRIES WHO ARE VISA-FREE TO ENTER RUSSIA
First, let’s learn about which countries are permitted to enter Russia without a visa. Check out the list below:
- South Ossetia
90 days stay
- Estonia (alien passport holders)
- Latvia (non-citizen passport holders)
Tourist purpose only
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- South Africa
- United Arab Emirates
60 days of stay
- South Korea
30 days of stay
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Botswana (will take effect on 8 October 2019)
14 days of stay
- Hong Kong
30 days for if holding a letter of guarantee/invitation and a tourist voucher
- North Macedonia
If your country is not listed above, you will need to apply for a Russian visa, and, of course, you’ll be needing a Russian invitation letter online to obtain one.
WHERE CAN YOU APPLY FOR A RUSSIAN VISA
You can either get a Russian visa through the Russian consulate/embassy, travel agency or through an official visa centre online. You can either apply for a tourist invitation or a business invitation letter.
Through the embassy
Through the embassy is the only way to actually apply for a Russian visa, however, you can’t get an invitation letter from there.
Online visa centres can help you secure your Russian visa invitation online. Once you get the invitation letter, you’ll still need to go to the Russian embassy/consulate to claim your visa. It’s the most convenient way to get an invitation from Russia.
RUSSIAN VISA REQUIREMENTS
Now we know where to get your visa. Here are the things that you’re required to submit to get your visa application going. Please check the following list:
- Original passport with at least 2 blank pages and at least 6 months of validity from your departure date from Russia
- 2 copies of your Russian application form
- 2 passport-size pictures signed on the back
- You must also present your old visa if you have one
What is an invitation letter
A Russian invitation letter, also known as a tourist voucher or visa support, is a document where a Russian resident invites you to visit them. The invitation’s purpose could be for tourism, studying, business trips, or personal. It is a mandatory document in order for your visa application to be approved.
A Russian invitation letter, also known as a tourist voucher or visa support, is a document where a Russian resident invites you to visit him/her. The invitation’s purpose could be for tourism, studying, business trips, or personal. It is a mandatory document in order for your visa application to be approved.
HOW TO GET A RUSSIAN VISA INVITATION LETTER
If you have friends or relatives in Russia, it should be easy for you to get an invitation letter. Not for them, unfortunately, as the process of them sending you one is complicated.
If you don’t want to put a burden on their shoulders, you should consider securing a Russian invitation letter yourself. Here are your options:
Travel agencies can help you obtain your Russian invitation letter. They’ll even take care of the whole process for you, and you just need to provide them with the necessary documents.
This option is a bit expensive, but the most convenient as they’ll take care of most of the steps on your behalf. So, if you value convenience over spending a little bit more, go for this option.
Many online visa agencies can help you get an invitation quick and easy. The turnaround time is usually 15 – 20 minutes for a tourist invitation letter. Which is a lot better than walking and finding a trusted travel agency.
All you need is a smartphone or laptop or desktop, your travel details, and a reliable online visa agency.
PROCESSING TIME OF THE INVITATION LETTER
Your Russian invitation letter should only take 30 minutes – 24 hours. If you have to wait longer than this, make sure to follow up right away.
TYPES OF VISA INVITATION LETTER
There are several types of Russian invitation letters. What you’ll need depends on the reason why you are going to Russia. There are 3 main types of invitation letters; let’s learn more about them:
The tourist invitation letter is what you’ll need if you’re just going on a tour to Russia. Though the cheapest and quickest invitation letter to get, the visa acquired through this type cannot be extended. What you get is what you get. You can get more information here.
Personal trips (visiting a relative or friend)
The Russian personal or private invitation letter is a difficult letter to get, at least, on your friend or relative’s end. Aside from the inconvenience of them going through all the processes, the turnaround time can also take up to 3 months, which is why many travellers prefer getting a tourist invitation letter instead.
The business invitation letter is a document that indicates that a Russian company is inviting you to Russia, and is a requirement to get a business visa. We recommend processing it through iVisa because it is quick. It will just take them 24 hours to get you your business invitation letter.
If your purpose for going to Russia is for study, then you’ll need to secure a student visa invitation letter. The initial duration for your student visa is up to 90 days, but the good thing is you can extend this type of visa.
The Russian school that you’ll be attending shall be the one to process this for you, and the process usually takes about a month.
A transit invitation letter is not required to get a transit visa to Russia. All you need to provide when applying for a transit visa is your airline ticket and the visa for the country you’re headed to, which, by the way, will not be required if you can enter that country visa-free.
FORMAT AND REQUIREMENTS THAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN AN INVITATION LETTER
While there are no specific and strict guidelines for Russian invitation letters, there’s a format that is commonly followed in Russia. The size of the paper should be A4 (8.27 × 11.69 inches, 210 × 297 millimetres).
The invitation is divided into two parts; one part being the voucher, which contains all your personal information, such as the cities you will visit, proof of payment, and the services your hotel offers.
The second part of the letter is the confirmation of receipt. It basically has the hotel’s acceptance of the visit as well as some of your personal information such as the accommodations you’ll stay at.
A print out of the invitation letter should suffice for your visa application, however, for business, student, and private invitation letters, the original copy will be required by the consulate.
COST OF VISA INVITATION LETTER
The invitation letter for a Russian visa cost depends on the type of invitation letter you are requesting, the rate of the travel agency/visa centre, whether you want the application to be expedited or not, as well as the country you will be coming from.
The cost of the visa application letter ranges $25-$200.
The fastest way to get the Russian invitation letter step-by-step
Here’s the simple steps:
- Go to this page
- Search for your home country – a passport that you hold
- Choose Russia as your destination
- Fill in the required information about yourself and your trip
- Pay the fee; you can use your bank card or PayPal
- And lastly, wait for the email confirmation – make sure that you use an email address that you can access
- You will receive another email where your invitation letter will be attached
The price range depends on the type of invitation letter you require, and it typically costs around $25 and up to $200+ depending on which country you will be coming from and the type of the visa invitation letter. The process varies from country to country, and, of course, the kind of invitation letter you are requesting.
Your invitation letter should only take 30 minutes – 24 hours. If you have to wait longer than this, make sure to follow up right away.
TRAVEL VISA GUIDES PER NATIONALITY
- Check out this collection of visa guides
- Australian passport holders
- Canadian passport holders
- German passport holder
- New Zealand passport holders
- United States passport holders
- United Kingdom passport holders
And that’s all about the process of getting a Russian visa invitation online! We’ve talked about the visa-free countries (you’re lucky if you’re living in one of them!), the different types of invitation letters, how to apply, where to apply, the costs, and our recommended online visa processing centre.
I hope we have covered everything, but if there’s anything that we’ve missed, or if you’d like to give helpful information about the Russian invitation letter, just don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. You can also check the collection of our visa guides.