The tourist voucher (also called Russian invitation letter) is a mandatory document for obtaining the classic tourist visa for Russia. The tourist voucher can be provided by the hotel, but if not, you will need to buy it. You will also need a tourist voucher, if you plan to visit several cities or stay at a private home or AirBnB in Russia.
If you need a voucher now, you can click here: get immediately a tourist voucher for 17$. For further details about tourist voucher for Russia and how it works, read the entire post.
What is a tourist voucher for Russia? Why do we need to buy it?
First of all, one of the necessary documents to obtain a tourist visa for Russia is the voucher. It is a document in Russian, issued by a hotel or a travel agency legally registered in Russia. This document therefore invites a foreign citizen to come to Russia. That is why a tourist voucher is also called a “letter of invitation“.
Your hotel in Russia does not provide the tourist voucher for free. The hotel may sometimes send you the invitation for free. Nevertheless, I have noticed that nowadays fewer and fewer hotels offer free invitations. Indeed, after booking on Booking, I received messages from hotels inviting me to buy an invitation on their platform. Sometimes it’s a correct offer (17$), sometimes more expensive (more than 20$ per voucher for Russia).
AirBnB, friends, several hotels. If you plan to stay with a local or with friends, you should in any case have a tourist voucher for the Russian visa covering the whole duration of your stay. Besides, if you change hotels, it is the same (see below).
I need to buy a tourist invitation for the Russian visa, if I stay in:
- Only one hotel: maybe. It depends on whether the hotel can provide you with a tourist voucher for free or not.
- Several hotels: probably. Hotels may be able to provide you with Russian visa invitations for free, but your application with multiple invitations has to be accepted by the Consulate/ Embassy. Besides, the rule is not very precise about this. It seems that several invitations are usually refused, but readers confirm that it is accepted at the Consulate in Geneva. Therefore, if several invitations are declined, you will have to go through a purchased invitation.
- AirBnb accommodation: Yes. Individuals on AirBnb cannot provide voucher for Russia tourist visa. You will therefore need to purchase a tourist voucher.
- With friends/family: Yes (in the case of tourist visa).
Also read: How to get a visa for Russia?
How much does a tourist voucher for Russia cost?
I first tried several companies that provide invitations. I have already bought a Russian invitation letter for more than 40€, but that was before I knew more about how it works. 🙂
Please note. It is always the same tourist voucher regardless of the provider. Therefore, there are no better invitations than others. However, there is one important point: the agency must be properly registered in Russia to issue a valid tourist voucher.
Result of my experience: tourist voucher for Russia for 17$
Now I buy a voucher for a Russian visa for 17$ from the agency “Voyage Expo”/”Russia Support”, registered in the register of agencies and authorized to issue tourist vouchers.
- Tourist voucher at 17$
Comparative of tourist vouchers for Russia
After researching and trying several agencies, I finally made a comparison of the rates for a 2 week tourist voucher.
Tourist voucher Russia with detailed itinerary or detailed program
Depending on the length of stay, the tourist voucher for the Russian visa must be accompanied or not by a detailed program.
For a stay of less than 13 days
There is no need for a detailed itinerary.
For a stay between 14 and 30 days
I have already found information explaining that a “detailed itinerary” document with the voucher was mandatory to obtain the visa for Russia. Moreover, some visa agencies charge for this document a few euros in addition to the tourist voucher (also called Russian invitation letter). But where is the truth?
- Official information: “if the length of stay […] exceeds 15 days, it is mandatory to present the detailed program”, source: Russian Embassy in Paris.
- My experience. I never provided a detailed itinerary, even for 30-day stays, and I always got my visa.
- Good to know. Usually, agencies sell the detailed program for about 10 euros extra. The agency I go through, RussiaSupport, offers it for free.
In conclusion, to make it simple, the detailed itinerary is mandatory with the tourist voucher RussiaSupport.
- <= 15 days: no
- > 15 days: officially yes, but it is possible to get it without the detailed itinerary.
Is it necessary to inform the hotel about the tourist voucher Russia? Will this information be checked?
No, it will not.
Concrete example. For the long answer, I will tell you my story. During my first visas for Russia, I went through a visa agency in Paris which makes thousands of visas every year. So I would deposit my passport and pick it up with a ready-made visa. I knew I needed a tourist voucher for Russia but they took care of it. Do you think they asked me where I was going to sleep? If I booked a hotel? Nothing, Niet, Nada. I finally saw on my passport the name of a hotel, which I didn’t know and where I hadn’t booked anything.
From now on, I buy my invitations to Russia myself. In the box “hotel”, I put nothing, or I leave the default option.
Once in Russia. No one comes to check if you are sleeping in the hotel you have indicated on the tourist voucher. So you can sleep with friends, at a local’s house via AirBnb or just spend the night in the train: no problem in Russia compared to the voucher. What is important, however, is the registration. This is what the hotel does when you arrive.
Tourist visa for Russia: my experience
At first, all these formalities frightened and stressed me. As time goes by (I’m now at more than 10 visas for Russia), the stress fades away. Nevertheless, I always have a small peak when I submit my file. And yet, I have never been turned down, no matter what tourist voucher (or invitation letter) I used.
Tourist voucher for Russia: AirBnb
Generally, as we have seen above, the apartments for rent on AirBnb are offered by private individuals. Therefore, they cannot offer you a tourist visa invitation for Russia. The only solution is to buy a tourist voucher on the internet for the period of your stay.
AirBnb recommends to use the company “Click2Russia.com”, as it is their partner. Disadvantages: the site is in English, the payment is in rubles and the invitation is rather expensive (about 25$). To get a tourist voucher for Russia when you stay with AirBnb, you can go through agencies that offer cheaper invitations. Indeed, the invitation will work just as well and you will save money so you can enjoy more on the spot!
Tourist voucher for Russia: Booking
The Booking.com platform is often used to book hotels abroad because it is convenient and well done. However, there are more and more hotels that do not provide the voucher with the reservation. There are other hotels that charge more than 20€ for the voucher.
Therefore, you can buy a voucher from another company for less.
Also if you are staying in several hotels, it is better to have one voucher for the whole duration of your stay. Some readers have managed to get a visa with several vouchers, but this seems to be rare.
Voucher Russia without hotel
In Russia, I don’t always sleep in a hotel or in an Airbnb because I sleep with friends or family. Likewise, there is no problem to get a Tourist Voucher for Russia without a hotel. So you can buy on the Internet a visa invitation for Russia. The invitation may mention a hotel but once you are there, you can go and sleep wherever you want!
Example of Russian Invitation letter for Russian visa
Here are some examples of Tourist Voucher for Russia:
Hope this information will help you to get a tourist voucher (or Russian invitation letter) and a tourist visa for Russia at the best price. Remember to share this page with those who might need it.