The Law Dictionary

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What are Visa Letters of Invitation?

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Visa letters of invitation are written by people from one country for friends, family, business associates, or students in another country. The purpose of a visa letter of invitation is to assist the visiting party in obtaining their visa. Your letter is mailed to your guest. He or she will present the letter of invitation when they go apply for their visa.

Each country will have their own visa and letter of invitation requirements for admission to its country. The country may have a preferred format or a specific document for the letter of invitation. Since each country has their own regulations, the visiting party should consult the embassy of the country they wish to visit. Generally, it is the visitor who must take responsibility for fulfilling all visa requirements to enter another country.

People who host visitors from another country are referred to as sponsors. Sponsors in the United States have to provide documentation about them when they write a letter of invitation. The letter needs to include the sponsor’s name, address, and telephone number, date of birth, occupation, citizen status, and proof of citizenship. Copies of a passport or birth certificate are accepted as proof.

In the United States, sponsors need to provide the name of the visitors, what the purpose of the visit is, relationship to the visitors, length of stay, dates of travel, the visitor’s address, telephone number, and date of birth. In addition, the embassy wants to know how the visitors’ trip will be financed.

If the sponsor is paying for the travel expenses, the sponsor must provide proof of income to support the visitors. Sponsors in the United States need to complete the I-134 form titled Affidavit of Support. The embassy may ask for any or all of the following: A copy of bank statements, pay check stubs, a letter from the sponsor’s employer, value of real estate, and value of life insurance.

Sponsors can contact the U.S. Embassy to make sure they are providing sufficient information. Visitors or sponsors need to check with the embassy to find out the current wait time for visas to ensure the visitors have enough time to receive their visa before departing for the United States.