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Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

London, United...
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Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

We are travelling to St Petersberg in one month's time. We attempted to complete our tourist visa application tonight (online) , but it seems we need some kind of invitation/visa support document. We have emailed our hotel to ask them to provide one. Hopefully they will email to us.Does anyone know if that is all we need?

Is it straightfoward after that?

Thanks.

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Coventry, United...
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1. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

I wouldn't worry too much about the invitations, if your hotel cannot supply them I know a reliable company that can within minutes.

Plymouth, Minnesota
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2. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

Most hotels turn these around in a day...so you SHOULD get an e-mail with 2 docs - one a voucher showing accomodations "paid for" (via res. credit card), the other a confirmation...both of these you simply print out and include..will save you about $20-30...

St. Petersburg
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3. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

Yes, all the hotels send such visa-support letters. Many of the hotels used to do it for free, now majority will charge you something in between 20-30 euro per passport. If you haven't received the answer from the hotel for more than a day just send it again from another e-mail address. Sometimes letters are just lost in the space of global net. Almost all tour companies could provide these documents but they will charge a little bit more – around 35 euro per passport.

Have a great trip!

Coventry, United...
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4. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

Getting an invite from your hotel is OK if it's free and they are willing to add a few days to the invite beyond your intended stay. Last thing you want are visas that match your exact entry and exit dates, particularly your exit date. Planes get delayed, people can miss their flight and once you're in Russia with an expired visa you've got the headache of having to obtain and pay for exit visas.

€35 for invitations is criminal, they can be bought here for under €18 at £15.00

Plymouth, Minnesota
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5. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

Agree NO WAY should a hotel charge this much - if you are at larger, major chain/reputable place they really, really should do for free (all mine have been). I think some smaller places actually have a bit more "overhead" , harder for them to just toss in (vs. big place doing many each day) - at least I THINK I picked this up here in another post!

Michael raises a good point in favor of shelling out a few bucks...if you want/need ANY flexibility whatsoever, getting this thru visa agency gives you that. The only other way to MAYBE game the system (NOT recommending) would be (and I have done this NOT on purpose) was to get a reservation for say 4 days, get your support docs, then "change" to 3...

One thing for sure...do NOT get a "free" invite from a hotel if there is ANY chance you might totally cancel- they will whack you way more than $35...some have said as much as $100...

Sorry to appear so alarmist, just want you to have all info...

Dresden, Germany
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6. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

>The only other way to MAYBE game the system (NOT recommending) would be (and I have done this NOT on purpose) was to get a reservation for say 4 days, get your support docs, then "change" to 3...

I doubt that there is any feedback between hotels, immigration service, and border control. Do you have any evidence?

Cheating should be avoided, though. The agency is a better option indeed.

Plymouth, Minnesota
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7. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

So, likely not answering your question directly, but clearly when one accidentally does this as I did, there is no provision or mechanism I am aware of for "revising" one's visa paperwork with regard to the accompanying support docs - that is, I had already sent in, gotten back, and was not until I was getting close to leaving that my plans changed.

St Petersburg Russia
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8. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

While the idea of booking for a few days after your expected departure date is not quite proper, no one is going to object at either end if your "plans" change to reduce the dates by a couple days.

It is always a hassle getting visa extensions if there are delays in departing, such as mechanical or weather difficulties. It is always better to bracket your flight dates with 1-2 days cushion.

The visa support document is free to them but it obligates them to register your visa if you are staying in-country over 7 days.

Moscow, Russia
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9. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

> ...it obligates them to register your visa if you are staying in-country over 7 days.

OMG... A hotel must register their guest (not his visa) on the day of arrival, regardless of the duration of the stay.

Plymouth, Minnesota
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10. Re: Are we doing the right thing regarding visas?

After all the ongoing issues around registration (NOT actually visa registration), I went to the "horses mouth" - the Russian Federal Migration Services, and indeed while the 7 day thing may apply to tourist, the HOTEL (which is responsible for doing this, not the tourist) has to do this as Marassa says right away...