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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Russian Tourist Invitation Letter?
It is a document which indicates that you are invited to Russia by a Russian travel company or a hotel that is accredited by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. This document consists of two parts: A Voucher and a Confirmation of the Admission of a Foreign Tourist. In order for you to apply for a Russian Tourist Visa, you will need to present an Invitation Letter with your visa application.
What do I need to apply for the Russian Tourist Invitation Letter?
We require the following to submit your application:
Valid passport (at least 6 months after arrival in Russia)
Credit/debit card or Paypal account
Valid email address
Arrival and departure date
Specify which cities you will visit during your stay in Russia
What is the cost to obtain a Russian Tourist Invitation Letter?
The cost is 25 USD for single entry, and 35 USD for double entry (standard processing). For rush and super rush processing, the cost is 50 USD and 75 USD respectively for single entry, and 60 USD and 85 USD for double entry respectively.
How long does it take to process Russian Tourist Invitation Letter?
It depends on the processing time you choose. We offer three options:
Standard Processing Time: 1 business day.
Rush Processing: 6 hours.
Super Rush Processing: 2 hours
What do I need to do after I receive the Invitation Letter?
After you receive your invitation letter via email, you can apply for the Russian visa at one of their embassies. You need to follow these steps:
Print your invitation in color.
Submit the letter as well as all the other required documents for your visa application at the embassy. These typically include: a color visa/passport-sized photo, health insurance, proof of finance, returns flights etc. (iVisa suggest that you consult directly with the embassy nearest to you for a full list of required documents).
After your visa interview at the Russian embassy, they will issue you your visa, if approved.
Do I need to book a hotel before I can request an Invitation?
A hotel booking is not required for at the time of application. However, the Russian Consulate may ask you to provide a copy of the booking confirmation if you have indicated the hotel as your Russian accommodation in the application form to obtain a visa for Russia.
What is the difference between a Tourist Invitation Letter and a Russian Visa?
The Tourist Invitation Letter is a document that must be submitted along with your visa application. It is not an actual visa, but rather a document that the Russian government requires when applying for an actual visa.
Can I travel to Russia with just my invitation, without obtaining a visa?
No, you cannot. The Tourist Invitation Letter allows you to apply for the actual Russian visa.
Does the Invitation letter guarantee that a visa will be issued?
No, it is merely a document that allows you to apply for the actual visa. Whether you are approved for the visa will be at the discretion of the Russian government.
I have received the Tourist Invitation Letter from you but the embassy also requires a confirmation. What shall I do?
What you have received from us is exactly what is required by the Russian embassy for the tourist visa. The document you receive from us consists of two parts: the Invitation Letter and the Confirmation Letter.
Learn more about Russia Tourism
Russia may not be on many people’s bucket list, but that is mostly because there are a lot of common misconceptions about it. Everyone thinks that Russia is cold all year round and that everyone drinks vodka. While the last one is somewhat true, nobody is making you drink it. Even so, you will find a lot of contrast in Russia. Regardless of many misconceptions, there is a lot of surface area to explore. As with any other country, there are plenty of things you need to know before you hop on the plane, but rest assured that following the Russian etiquette is not that complicated. As long as you keep in mind that Russia is a traditional country, you should get around just fine.
The first myth that needs to be debunked about Russia is concerns the weather. Yes, Russia can have some brutal temperatures in the winter, but the mercury in thermometers can easily reach 30 degrees Celsius during the summer. Sometimes, it is even hotter. So if you do not know what to pack, consider the season Russia is in. However, when it is cold in Russia, the problem is not the low temperature, but the water. You need to make sure that you will not get wet. If you go to one of Russia’s cities in the winter, you need to pack waterproof boots and extra pairs of socks. The snow melts very fast in the cities, and it turns into a snowy mud that is able to get your feet soaked in just an instant. Other than that, hats, thick scarves, and gloves are a must in the summer.
Russia is a traditional country, but not in a sense you would think. Even so, you need to dress decently at times. For example, Russia is mainly an orthodox country, and if you want to visit one of their churches, you need to obey some simple rules. Men should always wear long pants and have nothing that covers their heads. Women, on the other hand, need to wear a scarf on their head, cover their shoulders and knees. Long skirts are to be preferred, although long pants are more common. Speaking of dress codes, Russians do not wear sandals or flip-flops on the street. It is considered of poor taste. It may be hot, but surely you can find other kinds of shoes that can keep you cool.
One of the things that all tourists love when they go to Russia is the cuisine. They have a lot of dishes that are not very common in the rest of the world. One dish that you need to try is the borscht, some kind of beetroot soup. But it is sour, and if you add some heavy cream, you will lick your fingers for days. Of course, there is the possibility of not liking it at all, but you do not know until you try. Unlike the rest of the European countries, Russia’s tap water is not safe to drink. It is recommended that you avoid it. Once you turn on the faucet, brown water will come first before clearing. You should stick to bottled water your entire trip.
As for the vodka, something that everyone is eager to know, Russian people do drink vodka. They even drink a lot of it in some parts of the country. However, if you cannot keep up, which is most likely, all you have to do is leave some of the vodka in your glass. It is a sign that you do not want to drink more for the time being. Once Russians open a bottle, they will not stop until it is empty. That is some sort of tradition for them. Leaving a bottle of vodka half full is a bad sign for unclear reason.
When you go to Russia, you are expected to respect the local customs. For example, if you go to someone’s home, it is a custom to bring a gift. You do not have to spend too much money on it. It is a simple sign of good will. Dress code is also something Russians hold dear. You will not offend anyone if you are underdressed, but you will feel bad if you go to a restaurant or to the opera in casual wear. When you pack, make sure that you add something formal to your wardrobe.
Russia is a very large country, and one of the best ways to get from point A to point B is by train. First class tickets are very expensive, which is why you should travel on the third class. It is not as fancy, but you have a place to sleep if you travel at night. However, do not rely on a train’s kitchen for food. It is either non-existent, or the food is too expensive for the quality it has. Before any trip by train, go to a supermarket and grab something to eat. At least you will not spend a lot of money on poorly made food.
One of the many common misconceptions about Russia is that it is not a safe country. However, that is not true. It is quite the contrary, actually. Petty crimes like pickpocketing are common, but so are in other countries. You need to take caution for that to not happen. Keep your bag close to your body when you go out, and avoid flashing all your devices or jewelry. As long as you are cautious, you will be fine.
You will have a very good time in Russia. The opera is exquisite in big cities, and you cannot leave the country without visiting the Red Square. Plus, you can bring as souvenirs the famous dolls called matryoshka. The people are generally okay, but they are not as open as in other countries. Even so, with a few Russian words in your vocabulary and respect for their traditions, you will get along with them just fine.