How to get on Raya: what you need to know about membership on the ultra-exclusive dating app

Curious how to get on Raya? It won't be easy, but here is some insight and tips on getting access

two images, the first showing a phone with 'heart' emojis coming out of it, and the other showing a woman smiling at her phone, against a purple square background
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

What's harder: figuring out how to get on Raya, or finding a needle in a haystack? The former, of course. This highly exclusive dating app isn't just for the average person on the street; no, if you're after the most elite dating experience possible, Raya may just be for you—if you can make it onto the app, of course!

The most highly coveted (and talked about) of all dating apps, Raya helps A-listers snag a soulmate or connect with like-minded peers. 

While most of us are weighing the pros and cons of Hinge vs Bumble, Tinder vs Bumble, or exploring the Thursday dating app, actors, reality stars, CEO's, other Very Important People are busy browsing this secretive community that's said to be as competitive as an Ivy League, if not more so.

How to get on Raya: everything you need to know

You can forget about dating burnout—Raya is all about those FOMO vibes. We're sorry to report, but the odds of setting up a profile on one of the best dating apps around are *pretty* slim. But should you feel determined to try and figure out how to get on Raya, we've got the scoop.

Firstly, what is Raya?

Not to be confused with the animated dragon, the Raya dating app is considered one of the most popular dating apps amongst famous folks. There have been plenty of celebrities on Raya since its inception, including Zac Efron, Channing Tatum, Lucy Hale, and Emily Ratajkowski, to name but a few!

Having first launched in 2015, Raya was an invite-only platform geared towards the entertainment industry. As it has evolved, it has expanded across "creative" industries and branched out to include networking opportunities, as well as romantic matches. Because of this, it's mostly an app to be used in the major creative hubs of Los Angeles, New York and London—if you're in the Scottish Highlands, or southern US states for example, you may not have much success finding people near you! 

But despite all this change in the app, the one thing that's remained consistent for the past eight years is the difficulty gaining access to this highly exclusive club.

How does Raya work?

Raya works in a pretty similar way to other dating apps. If you're lucky enough to bag yourself a membership, you'll have to create a profile, which, on Raya, is photo-centric. The photos will appear in a close-up, slideshow format, allowing potential matches to view your whole range of interests.

Then, as per many dating apps, you'll review potential matches one at a time, and you'll swipe right to indicate that you like someone, and left to show that you're not interested. 

In accordance with the safe, trusted community Raya is promoting, those who manage to snag some real estate on the platform must also follow strict codes of conduct. Should they violate the company's terms, they're liable to have their account deleted. Reportedly, one of these important rules is that screen-shots are a huge no-no—not a massive surprise given the 'elite' demographic of the app. 

But lets rewind; before planning your profile, how do you actually get a Raya membership?

How to get on Raya—the process and the Raya application

If you're wondering how to get on Raya (perhaps you fancy trying your luck dating a celeb, or networking with some successful entrepreneurs), be aware that it may not be especially easy. The application is extensive, and the waiting list is said to be around a comfortable 100,000 users. No biggie!

Should you know a famous face who is already on the app—perhaps you and Olivia Rodrigo like to chat over coffee, or you're already planning your next brunch with Demi Lovato—said famous face (or average Raya member) can do you a solid and provide a recommendation. However, if you sadly haven't crossed paths with a Raya member yet, you're going to have to take your chances and apply for membership like everyone else.

woman smiling at her phone whilst holding a drink in a coffee shop

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Per the app, "All applications will be considered; however, we reserve complete control and sole discretion regarding who is granted membership to the app.|

In total, there are roughly 10,000 users on Raya, so when you start crunching numbers and factoring in the waiting list, that means that only about 8 percent of applications are accepted. Yes, Raya has a higher rejection rate than Harvard Business School, according to The New York Times. Talk about having high standards!

Tips for boosting your Raya application

Reportedly, applications to Raya are assessed by a committee of 500 people, so it's likely that anyone trying to get onto the app will be vetted pretty thoroughly. Raya does explain that the committee is full of diverse members, in everything from age to race to sexuality, to ensure that biases don't sneak into the decision making process. 

But what exactly are this committee looking for? When it comes to application tips, many people speculate that having a "cool" profession in the creative industries will give potential users a good edge. 

Others believe that a big social media following is key. As mentioned, getting a recommendation/referral from someone already on the app can also be one of the best ways in if you're wondering how to get on Raya, though it's not a guarantee. 

In fact, the app itself says that knowing various people already on Raya is one of the most surefire ways to getting accepted. "Among the factors that our membership committee considers in reviewing applications is the extent of the applicant’s connection to existing members, as we’ve found an existing 'real world' network within the community to be among the best indicators of an applicant’s engagement and enjoyment on the app."

Young Asian woman using smartphone, sitting on the sofa, near the window with city views.

(Image credit: Getty)

So if you don't already know anyone on Raya, it might be time to start mingling in the right places to boost your chances of getting accepted onto the app!

Raya invite—is it possible to receive an invitation to the app?

Back when Raya was first set up, it was exclusively invite-only. But now, of course, anyone who is interested is free to submit an application. So is a Raya invite still a thing these days? Yes—as mentioned, existing members can refer or invite people they know IRL to the app.

However, as mentioned, an 'invite' or referral is no guarantee that you'll be granted a free pass onto the app; it's likely that you'll still have to submit an invitation, which will have to be reviewed and accepted itself. 

Is there a Raya dating app hack?

No hacks here, unfortunately. However, TikToker @imtaylorreynolds gave things a go by emailing the customer service reps as if she was already a member—however, it didn't quite plan out as she'd hoped. (We give her an "A" for effort.) 

"I sent them [Raya customer support] an email. It was honestly a good email, if I say so myself. Very sales oriented, had a good hook, a problem, a solution, a question at the end. And I followed up."

She confesses that this didn't work, but after a few of her pals got accepted onto the app, she reveals that she also made it on; showing again the importance of an existing network on the app!

A user commenting on the video agreed: "I got on and I honestly think it was because a lot of my contacts were already on raya."

While another said that an email actually worked for her! She wrote: "the fact i got on raya two months ago because i sent them an email 😭 they literally accepted me like 30 minutes after i sent it lol."

So of anyone else has any tricks up their sleeve, we're curious to hear what you have to say!


♬ Mind Yo Business - Lakeyah

How much is Raya per month?

You may not be aware, but Raya members do actually need to pay for the privilege of using the celebrity dating app!

If your application is accepted, new members can purchase a one, six or twelve-month membership that renews automatically. Pricing is estimated to be around $9.99 per month, or £5.99 in the UK. 

The likes of Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Snack or Thursday are mostly free, though if you sign up for premium membership options, more often than not you'll have to pay a fee for the additional features. Unlike Raya, these options don't require an application process, and there is of course the free option if you don't want to pay at all.

If you have second thoughts...

Though exclusive in nature, Raya, at the end of the day, can feel as overwhelming as any other online dating experience. There are ways to take a break, should you need one. 

'We created a “hide” feature and a “paused” account status, and encourage members to utilize them at any time if they aren’t comfortable for any reason," the app stated. "Doing so will preserve conversations you’ve had with other members but will prevent any new members from seeing your profile."

The Ben Affleck Raya drama

Wondering where you've heard of the Raya dating app before? Perhaps you learned a little more about it when Ben Affleck, a former Raya user, found himself unlucky in love. One of the app users, Nivine Jay, had assumed she was being catfished and unmatched with the presumed fake Affleck—so he sent her a (rather funny) video asking why he was unmatched. Despite what she thought, it really was Ben!

HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 12: Ben Affleck attends the Los Angeles premiere of Warner Bros. "The Flash" at Ovation Hollywood on June 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

(Image credit: Getty Images/Phillip Faraone/Getty Images)

She was quoted in E! News, saying, "I'm seeing a lot of comments calling him a creep and l don't think that's fair. l wasn't making fun of him in the video. l was making fun of myself for thinking he was a catfish and it was just supposed to be funny."

And, as you know, one of our fave Selling Sunset stars, Emma Hernan casually mentioned that the famous actor also connected with her on the Raya dating app (before he reunited with J Lo!), though he has denied those claims. So yes, there are even hardships on the most exclusive dating app out there. The struggle to finding love knows no bounds, evidently.


Sorry Ben 🥺🥱 #raya #benaffleck #dating #fyp

♬ original sound - Amir Yass

Non-celebs reveal how they've fared on Raya

So we know a little bit about how celebrities tend to fare on Raya, but what about the rest of the app's members, who are just like everyone else? Over on TikTok, lots of Raya members explain how they've had a super long wait for their membership to be approved; some as many as three years.

However, plenty of users have also shared that they've come across lots of celebrities on the app, with one TikTok user sharing that she matched with the likes of Lewis Capaldi and F1 star Lando Norris! However, she noted that she didn't actually end up chatting with any of them.


♬ original sound - Milly G

Overwhelmingly though, lots of TikTok creators who have used the Raya app share that their experience left them questioning whether it was actually worth the subscription.

One user, @shannonwhalenn, shared her experiences with the app, explaining that she was left underwhelmed, given that lots of users she came across weren't actually in her immediate area, as mentioned (often, not even the same State), and that she got a sense that most people were there in order to boost their careers, rather than for romance.


♬ original sound - Shannon Whalen

So while it may sound like a super glamorous way to make connections, it appears that, in reality, there are some downsides to using the app. But we'd argue that's the case for any online dating service!

If you're ready to put down the phones then, check out these expert-backed first date tips—no need to pay for a subscription here!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.