As a resident living in the United States on a green card, you may get requests to host or even want to host someone. In most cases, your friends, family, or relatives may want to stay with you as they visit. On their end, the visitor needs to make a visa application, in most cases, a B2 travel visa. On yours, you will need to write a letter inviting them to stay over. This letter is an important part of the application, as your visitor’s request may be rejected if they do not have it.
This article discusses these letters and describes the factors that should be considered when writing them.
What is an Invitation Letter for a Visitor Visa?
An invitation letter for a visitor visa is a formal letter written by the individual intending to host a non-citizen or non-resident from a foreign country.
It forms part of the supporting documents for the visa application and is used as proof that the visitor has a place they can stay while in the country. The invitation often provides pertinent information on the reason for the visit, the names of both the host and the visitor, and the financial arrangements for both parties. It also provides additional documents in support of the application.
Since the letters are part of the visa application, they should indicate the dates your guest will stay. You should also add your contact information in case the consulate and other authorities need to verify the details provided by your guest. Additionally, the letters may provide further documentary evidence on the expected period of stay, such as flight schedules, identification, and proof of citizenship.
Important note: While it forms part of the application, the invitation does not guarantee that your friend or relative will be granted a visa. The relevant embassy or consulate makes the decision to accept the application based on specific criteria.
Purpose of Writing an Invitation Letter for a Visa
The documents forming part of your visitor’s visa application should support the reason for their visit. As the writer of the invitation letter, you take the role of convincing the authorities that your guest has legitimate reasons for visiting the country.
The following are some reasons why this letter is important:
- It states the purpose of your friend or relative’s visit. Often you will need to state whether the visit is for education, business, or recreation purposes. The relevant authorities, an embassy or consulate, may use your letter to assess whether the reason is legitimate.
- The invitation also assures immigration authorities that the visitor has a place to stay once they enter the country. With the relevant information, the authorities can know where the visitor will stay, how long their stay will be, and how they will fund their stay with the financial information provided.
- Since the letter forms part of your guest’s application, it may increase the chances of their application being accepted. This is especially true because it proves you can be contacted and will take responsibility for your guest. It also assures the authorities that your visitor will only stay for the stipulated period as they have a business or other ties to their home country.
- The letter provides additional evidence to authorities, such as your identification, flight schedules, financial statements, and other supporting documents that will strengthen the guest’s visa application.
- Since the letter often provides financial details, it allows authorities to establish who will be financially responsible for the guest’s expenses for the period of their stay.
- The letter allows you to establish your affiliation with the visitor. With a comprehensive letter, you can state whether your guest is a relative or close friend. You can also attach supporting evidence, such as past communication or photographs. This increases the chances of your guest’s visa application being accepted.
Essential Elements of an Invitation Letter for a Visit Visa
An invitation letter is particularly important for any of your guests applying for a temporary visa. Since it increases the chances of the application being approved, it should include all the crucial information the approving government agencies might need to verify and approve the visitor’s application.
The following are the key elements that should be included in the letter:
Host’s personal information
This includes your legal name, address, phone number, and email address. These details can help the embassy or consulate verify your identity and contact you for further clarification should they need it. Your information can also help them establish your citizenship status, especially if you hold a green card.
You should indicate the date the letter was written to establish the timeline and for legal reasons. Some countries may require letters written within a particular period before the application is submitted. Therefore, indicating the date assures the authorities of the legitimacy of the application.
This part of the letter should provide information identifying your visitor and other personal details. It should include their name and passport details. You should also include their date of birth to establish their age, especially because some countries have an age restriction for one to be eligible to apply for a visa. If, for example, the visitor is an adult, you may state their name and provide their passport number, which will act as an identifier.
Since the invitation takes the format of a basic letter, it should include the embassy information to show to whom the letter is addressed. This should be the address of the embassy where your visitor submits their application. You should indicate the embassy’s name, department, mailing, and physical address.
Once you include all the address information, you must establish the relationship between yourself and the visitor. You may identify whether the visitor was your friend or relative. When mentioning the relationship, you should include the length of time you have known the applicant, especially if they are your friend.
Purpose of the visit
Since most countries are cautious of illegal activities, it is necessary to establish that the reasons for the visit are legitimate. You should provide specific details of the visit, including locations where possible. Most people visit as tourists, for education, or for business. Whichever the purpose, you should include the relevant details.
Details of accommodation
To increase the legitimacy of your letter and the guest’s application, you should provide details of where your visitor will be staying. You may be hosting them or have booked a hotel or alternative accommodation. If they will be staying at a hotel, you may include the name and location of the alternative accommodation.
Most consulates would require the visitor to provide financial statements to prove they are stable enough to sustain themselves in your country. On your end, you need to show that you can sustain the visitor while they are in your country. This may be proven by bank statements or a letter from your employer indicating your salary or wages.
Since this is an official letter, you must be polite and formal. You may close it with terms like ‘sincerely’ or ‘faithfully.’ For example, you may conclude by stating; ‘best regards’ and sign off with your name.
Once you conclude the letter, you should append your signature to indicate you understand the implications of the letter. Finally, you should restate your name and contact details. You may also include references from your family members or co-sponsors.
Following are the invitation letters for visit visa templates:
Role of the Consulate in Invitation Letter for a Visit Visa
The consulate is the approving authority in immigration and travel matters. It is the government agency in charge of reviewing and approving visa applications. With regard to invitation letters and applications, the consulate is in charge of assessing the legitimacy of applications. It verifies the identity of your visitor and evaluates the documents submitted. It also reviews whether the documents submitted are legal and in order.
The consulate also assesses the applicant’s eligibility based on the evidence, age, and reasons for travel. The letter plays an important part in verifying the evidence and other documents provided by your visitor to establish whether they should accept the visa application. Once they have reviewed the application, they decide whether to accept or reject your visitor’s application; the consulate can also provide support on any clarifications needed. They can also help the applicant through the application process.
Legal Factors to Consider When Writing an Invitation Letter for a Visa
As the writer of the letter and potential host, there are legal implications you undertake when you agree to write an invitation letter for your visitor.
There are other aspects you need to consider to ensure your invitation is relevant to the Visa your visitor is applying for; these considerations include:
Immigration laws and regulations
Immigration laws vary from state to state; you should confirm your letter complies with all these laws to ensure it helps your visitor approve their application. You can check the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or an immigration attorney to take you through the process and required compliances.
There are different visas for varying purposes; for instance, a tourist will need a B-2 visa, while someone traveling for business requires a B-1 visa. You should inquire about the purpose of the visit from your guest to ensure you only include accurate information in your letter.
Authenticity of information
You should be honest with the information you provide because it strengthens the authenticity of your letter. Ensure you provide the most current details, including addresses and contact information.
Ties to home country
Often, authorities require you to show proof that the visitor has ties to their home country since it is a temporary visa. This helps to show authorities that your visitor intends to return to their home country. These ties include evidence of property ownership, proof of employment, or a family to return to.
Criminal records negatively impact the application. However, it does more damage when you fail to disclose your or your visitor’s record if it exists. It is important to indicate this evidence so it is not a barrier to the application should a background check be done.
You can aid your friends or relatives in the visa application process by preparing an effective invitation letter. Ensure that you provide the most accurate information and enough proof to help establish the legitimacy of your guest’s visit. Before you write it, you should ask your visitor whether there is any specific information they may wish to include in the letter to avoid giving conflicting information. As such, when writing your letter, you must pay attention to the important aspects, such as dates, addresses, and purpose of the letter.