Guys I am planning a trip to Russia in the summer to meet the girl I've been chatting with and I am in the process to apply for a visa. I've noticed some websites(such as https://www.getrussian.com/order/forms.php?a_aid=987g) offer visa invitation letters sent by email but according to the Russian Embassy, "selling and purchasing of such documents via Internet is illegal, “invitations” obtained via Internet can not be the reason to get the Russian visa and won’t be accepted by the Consular Section of the Embassy." So just wondering if any of yall have tried this and did it work? If not, where should I go to get an invitation letter if I don't want to stay in a hotel？ (Since I find apartments much more affordable than hotels)
I was there last year and I got my invitation letter through an e-mail and it worked fine. I have heard things about original invitation through mail but I ignored that. I send copy of invitation along with other documents and had no trouble. I don't know if something has changed. As far as apt, remember you have to register your papers within 3 days or you will encounter problems while there(police) or when leaving country.
I stayed in a'mini-hotel' last time, great rates and had girls there to help me and they also registered me. Two blocks from Nevestsky.
I was there in July of 07 and got my invitation from waytorussia. The woman I met there told me it was not necessary to register and on the 7th day I told her she could go on the excursion by herself I was going to figure out registry by myself. Got it done and backdated but had to pay extra. Anything seems possible in Russia.
You do not say if you are travelling from England or America.
An excellent English based co. is Real Russia. Very informed and helpful. They can supply the Invitation letter and Voucher Document( also required,)no problem, as can many other agencies.
The laws have relaxed in Russia in recent years for tourism. They can also get ones visa direct from the Consulate in London for a small fee, as they go there each morning by courier and get served before the public. Invitation Letter and Voucher, together with visa processing and collection costs about 80 USD. I used this service last month.
If one is staying in the Russian Federation for more than 3 days excluding weekends and publc holidays, then the Invitation letter needs to be registered. A hotel can do this, but if in an apartment, then they can advise where to do it in the city visited.
On my first visit to Russia, I was stopped by the police on way back to my hotel at night. I had taken some wrong turning and in fact I was lost. I had no passsport with me and was asked for money. I agreed only if they would give me a lift to the hotel. They thought this was hilarious that I should be so cheeky, but obliged with pleasure. The police here are O.K. This bribing thing is just an accepted part of the way things are in this country, but of course it sounds appauling to a Westerner.
danny....I am proof of asking for papers & passport. Happened almost everytime stopped by police, though papers was asked for more often. I tell you, I was stopped nearly every block, it got quite troublesome. I do remember I got stopped only when I was alone walking around.
If you count on not being checked you can register at the tourist agency that provides the invitation in the city you land in. When you register they just make a copy of your passport. Then the next day they give you a poor copy of the registration. Looks like it would be simpler to pay when they get the copy of your passport and they could email the registration to you.
Some sites recommend checking into a motel for a night and then it is their responsibility to register you. It is just a hassle and a paper chase anyway. My papers were never checked in St Pete, Kostroma, or Moscow but I did see militia checking a few others.
Ok, so don't come to conclusions about the rest of Russia based upon the one city that you live in.
I was stopped and asked for my passport on my first evening as a tourist in Russia in Volgodrad, and I had read on this forum that this may happen, but still didn't carry it when I went out to observe the city. I obviously didn't look Russian, much too good looking!
Guys here are giving their experiences for others to benefit from. Why do you feel the need to disagree with everything you read, simply because things may be different where you live? Russia is huge, and things are different from place to place. And the bribe culture is very real in Russia. Incidentally, when I was in Astrakhan, I hardly saw any police either.
tringa, I'm a U.S. citizen living in Europe and I'll try to apply for the visa here instead of going back to U.S. to apply. Don't know if it's possible but I'll try it. Then about the bribing part, do you still have to bribe the police even if you had all the documents with you? And how many RUBs are usually sufficient??
Taylor Swift, if I had my passport with me then I would refuse to give the police any money, and ask for them to take me to their superior officer. But a few dollars only if you were in a predicament. Even then, if I had not been merry with Russian beer, I probably would not have said what I did.
danny, I am not American either, I am English. I was only joking about being better looking than a Russian, and I didn't say they were ugly. My girlfriends mother thought that I looked Russian. For the record, I love Russia and I love the Russian people.
tringa I'm really curious about your experience with her mother. Did she question you about anything? The girl I've talking to also wants me to meet her mom but I'm a little afraid. First I don't look Russian at all and though I'm 25, people often think I'm 21 or 22 by the way I look. So I really don't know what her mother will think of me...
Meeting Mama is a good thing, it means that you are not an 'embarrassment' on the side, try to enthrall it, take it by the horns, by suggesting that you have a family BBQ (you provide the food etc.), if they have a garden or, if not then, you will treat the family to a restaurant.
Don't concern yourself, I doubt Mama will speak English so just smile and, if girlfriend or interpreter is interpreting then, just sweep her of her feet. It won't take much, if you've taken her to a restaurant then you should have already swept her off her feet.
Another tip Taylor,
When a lady's wine glass becomes empty it is for the man to top it up again so, without prompt, top it up or ask if another bottle needs to be ordered, ..... keep on your toes whilst pretending to be relaxed :)
It's easy and once they've accepted you then you can get away with errors but, as they say, first impressions!
Don't worry too much about your age. Maturity isn't always measured by age, and many men never grow up. If mamma questions you, as happened to me, simply be honest, and let her see that you are a responsible and genuine guy.
Martins advice is good as usual, but I took a less dashing approach, and quietly expressed my appreciation as she welcomed me into her home, and thanked her for preparing so much food for me. Take her a small present.
I looked for common ground, and talked about things which interested mamma, about her part time job. If you have a sense of humour and can make her laugh this is a great bonus. Of course, your girlfriend will have to interpret.
I asked if she had any photos of my girlfriend when she was very young, and then we spent a whole hour looking through the family album.
Just show her that you are not some freak from a foreign country that her impression of may only be through movies that she has watched.
You're obviously into the female export/import business, ever heard of the expression 'in-laws'? I get on fabulously with my in-laws and having the experience, the warmth, of being truly part of their family I wouldn't have it any other way.
Yeah sure Danny,
The FSU is a breeding farm for 'mail order brides', families only have children to export them!
Some guys need to get real, every lady has a family, one only needs to put himself in the place of a parent, would he let his 'little girl' travel to the other side of the world with a guy who wasn't even prepared to get to know her parents?
I recall a conversation over dinner with my mother-in-law, I get on fabulously with her and I joked with her that the way to a woman's heart is through her mother. 'Mama' retorted that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach, we both had a good laugh about it.
Danny thanks for advise but I advise you to keep an eye on the gun every time your woman get mad at you. If she can kill innocent little cats for no reason, I wouldn't think she'd have any mercy on humans either.