Archive FAQ > Invitations

What is an invitation?

Invitations are required to create an Archive of Our Own (AO3) account. They're available in two formats: one is a link, and the other is a string of letters and numbers (known as a token).

For help with a link invitation, go to I've received an invitation link. How do I use it to create an account?

For help with an invitation token, go to How do I use an invitation that is not a link?

If you don't have an invitation and would like one, go to How do I get an invitation?

Why can't I create an account without an invitation?

We're using the invitation system so that Archive of Our Own (AO3) can grow in a controlled manner. We need to add new users gradually so that our account numbers don't grow beyond what our hardware, bandwidth, and Support team can cope with. This helps us ensure that everyone using the AO3 gets the best possible experience.

How do I get an invitation?

You can receive an invitation from our automated queue, or from an existing Archive of Our Own (AO3) user if they have any available.

To receive an invitation from our automated queue, select the "Get Invited!" button below the Welcome message on our homepage. You can then add your email to the Invite Requests list. Invitations are sent on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on the status of your invitation request, refer to How long will it take for me to get an invitation?

AO3 users can no longer request new invitations but they can send out any they already have. The exception to this is users running a challenge (refer to How do I request invitations for a challenge that I'm running?).

Be aware that your AO3 username and potentially your email address will be available to the person who sent you an account invitation. If you don't want this information shared, you may prefer to use the automated queue instead.

For more information on how an existing user can send an invitation, refer to I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?

How long will it take for me to get an invitation?

You can find information on the current number of people on the waiting list and how many invitations we're sending per day on the Invite Requests page. This information should help you estimate when you'll receive an invitation. The number of invitations we can send out per day depends on a number of factors, so the rate is subject to change. To get to this page, open the Archive of Our Own (AO3) homepage while logged out, and select the "Get Invited" button below the Welcome message.

You can also check where you are on the list. From the Invite Requests page, select "check your position on the waiting list", enter the email address you requested an account through, and then select the "Look me up" button. You'll get an estimate of when you'll receive your invitation based on the rate at which we're sending out invitations and where you are in the queue.

Can I make a donation to get an invitation faster?

No, we don't provide Archive of Our Own (AO3) invitations in exchange for donations. We are committed to providing the AO3 as a free service for any fans who wish to use it, regardless of their financial situation. Therefore, although we're deeply grateful for the financial support of fans who choose to donate to the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), doing so won't get you an invitation any faster.

If you received an invitation link, you can either select the link or copy and paste it into your browser's address bar to access the New Registration page.

If you received an invitation that isn't a link, go to How do I use an invitation that is not a link?

How do I use an invitation that is not a link?

If another user has provided you with a string of letters and numbers but not a link, go to your browser's address bar and enter /signup/####, replacing "####" with the string of letters and numbers you've been given. This should take you to the New Registration page. For more information on how to continue from there, visit How do I create an account?

How do I request invitations for a challenge that I'm running?

An account is required to participate in gift exchanges and prompt memes run on Archive of Our Own (AO3).

If you need to request accounts for a challenge you're running, please contact Support with the challenge name, the dates sign-ups will open and close, the challenge owner account to send the invites to, and the number of invitations needed. Support will reply to your request once the invitations have been added to your account. You'll then be able to send them to participants by following the instructions in I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?

I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?

If your account has unsent invitations, you can give those invitations to others by following the steps below.

To give an invitation to someone, you need to:

  1. Log in and go to your Dashboard by selecting the greeting "Hi, [username]!" and choosing "My Dashboard" from the menu, or by selecting your profile image.
  2. Select the "Invitations" button towards the top right of the page on desktop (or below the heading with your username on mobile). This will take you to the Invitations page, which will provide a summary of how many invitations you have available.

From the Invitations page, there are a few options:

  • Enter the email address of the person you'd like to invite, select an invitation code listed below (up to five of your available invitations will be listed), and select the "Send Invitation" button.
  • Copy the invitation URL and send it to the person directly. To do so:
    1. Select the "Manage Invitations" button towards the top right of the page on desktop (or below the "Invite a friend" heading on mobile). This will take you to a page which shows you the status of all invitations made available to your account, including those that have been used.
    2. Copy (don't open) the URL of any unused invitation from the "copy and use" text area. How you do this depends on your computer or device:
      • On Windows desktop: right-click on the link and select the "copy link" option (exact wording will vary depending on your browser).
      • On MacOS: ctrl-click on the link and select the "copy link" option (exact wording will vary depending on your browser).
      • On a mobile device: long press on the link and select the "copy link" option (exact wording will vary depending on your browser).
    3. Paste the link into a chat or text window, email, or other communication method, and send it to the person you're inviting. They can follow this link to sign up for an account.

Alternatively, you can copy the invitation token (the string of letters and numbers) and send that to the person you're inviting. They will then need to follow the instructions in How do I use an invitation that is not a link?

You can always resend invitations and modify the attached email address so long as the invitation hasn't been used. Modifying the email address allows you to recycle unclaimed invitations and resend them to other users. For more information, refer to I'm an AO3 user. How do I manage my invitations?

If you don't have any invitations available, anyone you want to invite will need to request an invite through the Invite Requests page. Though there is a "Request Invitations" button located on the Invitations and Manage Invitations pages, selecting that button will no longer initiate an invitation request process. If you need to request accounts for a gift exchange or prompt meme you're running, go to How do I request invitations for a challenge that I'm running? for more details.

I'm an AO3 user. How do I manage my invitations?

  1. Log in and go to your Dashboard by selecting the greeting "Hi, [username]!" and choosing "My Dashboard" from the menu, or by selecting your profile image.
  2. Select the "Invitations" button towards the top right of the page on desktop (or below the heading with your username on mobile). This will take you to your Invitations page, which will provide a summary of how many invitations you have available.
  3. Select the "Manage Invitations" button towards the top right of the page on desktop (or below the "Invite a friend" heading on mobile). This will take you to a page which shows you the status of all invitations made available to your account, including those that have been used.

From the Manage Invitations page, you can filter your invitations by their status. To do so, select any of the "Unsent (#)", "Sent But Unused (#)", "Used (#)", or "All" buttons on the top row.

Invitations listed in your "Unsent (#)" page are available for use and can be given out. The "Used (#)" page contains the username, and potentially email address, of the person who has created an account from the invitation. Once an invitation has been used to create an account, it can't be used again.

In the "Sent But Unused (#)" category, you can review unused invitations and, if necessary, change or update the invitation recipient's email address. Selecting a token in the left column will take you to its Show Invitation page, which displays information about the invitation. To update the email address, enter a new one in the provided text box and select the "Update Invitation" button in the bottom right corner. You can also copy the invitation and resend it to the recipient. For more information, refer to I already have an account. How do I give an invitation to someone else?

Where can I get more information if my question isn't answered here?

Some frequently asked questions about the Archive are answered in other sections of the Archive FAQ, and some common terminology is defined in our Glossary. Questions and answers about our Terms of Service can be found in the Terms of Service FAQ. You may also like to check out our Known Issues. If you need more help, please submit a Support request.