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I am planning to visit Moscow this winter as a solo tourist. I am a Hungarian citizen. I booked airplane tickets myself. I was informed that I will need an invitation letter, and I think I will go this way: (How can I get an 'invitation' to Russia?), but now the tourist visa application online form asks:

Which institution you are going to visit

the options are: None, Travel company. I think I will need to select travel company because the description says:

In the case of a tourist visa select "Travel company" from the list and give the name and address of the travel company. In the case of business visa select "Organization" from the list and enter in the "Name of organization" name of the host organization, enter the address of the organization and TIN in the appropriate fields. In the case of private visa select “Individual” from the list and enter the name, birth date and home address of the host. In the case of transit, select "None" from the list. Reference number: printed on the bottom line of approval of a foreign tourist "Референс №». It is necessary to introduce whole number with leading zeros.

Confirmation number: printed on the top line of confirmation of a foreign tourist. The number can contain only numbers or numbers with letters. You should only enter the numbers.

However I do not have a travel company.

What do I do?

  1. Select "None" from the drop down so that I don't have to fill in travel company(this seems to be against the description that says select travel company for tourist visa)
  2. Select Travel company and the Invitation letter company will be my travel company and they will provide appropriate details? as in (How can I get an 'invitation' to Russia?)
  3. Apply at some additional travel company, because there is no other way?
  4. Some other option?

I didn't expect the visa application to be this complicated. I hope I get there.

  • it's very complicated and quite confusing. You simply need to pay a tourist group a fee for an invitation, or use a hotel that will do it for you. All the hotels I have booked in Moscow have done it for free, but you have to remind them you need one. They do not automatically do this service for you, you have to email your hotel. For example, the Hilton does it here: www3.hilton.com/resources/media/hi/SVOHFHI/en_US/pdf/… – AussieJoe Nov 25 '19 at 17:35
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You do indeed need a letter of invitation (also called a Tourist Voucher) to get a Russian visa. Getting it isn't too hard but will cost you a small amount of money. Many hotels will act as the travel company if you have a booking with them. However they might charge an extra fee for this, and will often revoke your letter of invitation if you cancel your hotel booking with them. I believe being invited by an individual (ie a friend or relative in Russia) is also possible, but is reportedly a bureaucratic pain and will probably ultimately cost quite a bit of time. For this reason people often use a third party company, of which many are available, to produce them their letter of invitation — there are many companies who will charge you something like 10-30 USD to produce a letter of invitation for you, automatically and quickly, through email. I used one of these companies myself and had absolutely no trouble. You still have to provide details of the hotels you intend to use but deciding not to use these hotels will NOT invalidate your visa.

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  • Thanks, so how do I fill the Which institution you are going to visit? use the details that the "invitation letter company" will provide? – Employee 1223 Nov 18 '19 at 14:47
  • @Employee1223 I'm pretty sure that yes, you would enter their details. I applied as a UK citizen though and the form was quite different; I wasn't asked which institution I would visit; so I would put money on this just being a poorly worded question. Maybe someone from Hungary who has applied can chip in here... – Muzer Nov 18 '19 at 14:52
  • Yes, the invitation letter company gave travel company details too. – Employee 1223 Nov 21 '19 at 17:02
  • Are some nationalities excempt from this? – Mikael Dúi Bolinder Nov 22 '19 at 14:36
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    @MikaelDúiBolinder honestly don't know, but I would imagine that everyone who specifically needs a tourist visa would also need a letter of invitation. If your nationality doesn't need a tourist visa you also probably wouldn't need a letter of invitation. – Muzer Nov 22 '19 at 16:46
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When I travelled to Russia the last time five years ago, the Travel company I was supposed to enter was the name of the Russian company that supplied me with an invitation letter (in my case: RZD tours).

You should be able to find all the required details to complete the form in the invitation letter and/or supporting documentation.

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