There was a time, a simpler time, when I used to think that a letter of invitation wouldn’t change a thing. Long before I got that wanderlust that singers sing about and bloggers blog about, and needed to apply for visas.
Now, after having travelled and lived in many countries, and many conversations with people with powerless passports like me, I have come to the understanding that they make a difference.
And if you are traveling to the USA, a letter of invitation for US visa is no doubt helpful and can often add a lot of weight to your application. That being said, a letter of invitation, by itself doesn’t guarantee the issuance of a visa to the applicant.
You still need to fulfill, the US visa requirements such as proof of funds and strong ties to your home country.
This article refers to a US visitor visa invitation letter only. The template can be used for a B1/B2 visa or even a student visa, but not for a US business visa.
When Do I Need to Provide a US Visa Letter of Invitation?
If you are a US citizen or legal resident, chances are that you want your friend, parents, partner etc. to visit you in the United States. Now if this said person needs a visa to visit the USA, you can help them by writing a letter of invitation for US visa.
You need to write this letter before they submit their visa application. When the applicant submits the documents at the U.S. consulate or Visa Application Center, this letter can go along with the application.
Sample Invitation Letters for US Visa for Tourism
The thing is, there are many ways to write a letter of invitation for US visa. Depending on the relation between the host and guest.
The thing to remember is that the host/sponsor must address a letter to the US consular officer and another one to the US visa applicant.
Here are some examples of invitation letters for visa, that are pretty common.
1. Sample US Visa Invitation Letter for Parents
Writing a US visa invitation letter for parents is probably the easiest and safest. Here is an actual letter written by a friend to invite his parents to the USA.
2. Example of Invitation Letter for Friend
An invitation letter for US visitor visa for friend can be written like this.
[Host’s name ex- Bob Vance]
[Friend’s passport number]
Dear [Friend’s name e.g. Vladimir],
So happy to know that you finally decided on the trip to the USA. It would be an honor to invite you to come and host you during your trip from [Date range].
During this time we can visit the statue of liberty, and other famous landmarks in New York. And we can plan to go for some road trips in the tri-state area.
I would also like to add that, I will be responsible for your entire USA tour expenses, including the round trip flights, housing, food, and any other personal expenses.
I am sending a copy of my passport and rental lease with this letter, to help you with your US tourist visa application.
3. Sample Letter to Consulate for Visitor Visa
Your Visa Invitation letter to the United States Consul should look like this.
Consulate of the United States of America, Bogota, Colombia
Dear consular officer,
Good day! My name is Christine Bundy. I am a citizen of the United States and I live in 12, Mountain Drive, Portland, OR-97206. I have been working as a teacher at Mountain View High school in Portland for the last five years.
I am writing this letter to request you to grant a B-2 tourist visa to my friend Daniela Romero, a citizen of Colombia with passport number AL123456. I have known her for two years. I met her when I was living in Colombia and she took it upon herself to introduce me to her culture, and that’s how we became friends.
Daniela will be visiting me in Portland from 08/02/2020 to 11/06/2020, for a period of almost three months. During her stay in the United States, she will stay with me at my home at the address stated above.
Daniela will be presenting my letter to you, along with a copy of my driving license as well as other proof.
Thank you for your kind consideration.
12, Mountain Drive, Portland, OR-97206,
How to Write US Visa Letter of Invitation?
It might seem like writing in ink gives your letter a more personal touch. You are not entirely wrong. It does. But, if we have learnt anything from the boomers and the generations that followed before computers became the norm, it is that handwritings are not often legible. No matter what your mom told you.
So, I would ask you to go ahead and simply type the letter on a word doc (or Hemingway app if you are feeling adventurous), sign it and scan it.
And while writing the letter of invitation for US visa, you must be very very careful about all these things. Under no circumstances should the consular officer get a hunch that it is fake, even if it is not.
A good US Visa invitation letter has three parts usually. It should not be more than one page and should not have any unnecessary information.
A letter of invitation for US Visa should be personal. So, no need to make it sound as if it was written by an attorney.
1. Details of the Host
- Host’s full name, address, email, phone number, and date of birth
- Host’s occupation
- The legal status of the host in the USA and a photocopy of a document proving that. Example- Green card, passport, etc.
- Affidavit of support
2. Details of the Guest
- Guest’s full name, address, phone number, email, and date of birth
- The relationship between guest and host – friend, sister, son, etc.
3. Information about the Trip
- Purpose and duration of the trip
- Details of accommodation arrangments and expenses
Is Letter of Invitation Mandatory for a US Visa?
No it is not. But see, applying for a U.S. visa can often be a not-so-pretty experience, with all the documents and the strict approach that USCIS has adopted.
A US visa invitation letter can smooth the entire process. This letter also demonstrates that as a citizen or legal resident, you, are willing and able to host them in your home and financially support them. And that the probabilities of them overstaying is lower.
Additional Information When Writing a Letter Of invitation To USA
Yes, the invitation letter that you have written has turned out to be the coolest thing you have done since the last Tik Tok challenge. But if you are a little thoughtful and really want to go the extra mile, how about these documents as well?
- Proof of Identity: A scanned copy of the host’s ID or valid passport.
- Proof of accommodation: proof you, the host has a home. Rental agreement or proof of ownership will do the trick.
- Evidence of funds: Bank statements and credit card statements etc. if you will be financially supporting that person.
- An Affidavit of Support: Only in case the host will be financially supporting the guest, then he/she can submit an affidavit of support for the application. You can fill in the USCIS Form I-134 for this.
Would I Be Liable for my Guest’s Overstay in USA?
Now, that’s a million dollar question. Well, not million dollars! Duh!
So you sent the invitation letter for a friend or cousin. And he/she got a visitor visa to come to the US. You also sent her an affidavit of support in order to back up the invitation.
Now that person has fallen in love with the American dream, and doesn’t want to move his/her ass out of the United States.
Now you have one of these questions.
- Would you be legally responsible to turn her in? Call ICE?
- Would you need to financially support her since you mentioned that in the letter?
- How about just peace out and ignore him/her?
I am no attorney, but I will tell you this. What your “friend” does once he/she sets foot in the USA, that is not really your problem. The ICE or the FBI or the police have bigger issues to worry about.
Once the visa was issued by the consulate, you won’t have to worry about this stuff.