Many U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents have friends and family living abroad whom they may want to invite to the United States for a temporary visit. When this happens, people often forget that there are certain requirements a foreign national must meet to obtain a travel visa and gain lawful entry into the country.
While not a requirement, a letter of invitation can be used as supporting documentation for a loved one’s B-1 or B-2 visa application to help them meet their application requirements.
If you’ve been asked to prepare an invitation letter for a U.S. visa application and aren’t sure where to begin, this guide may help. We discuss what a letter of invitation is, describe how to prepare one and provide an invitation letter for visa example that you can use as you craft your own.
Invitation letter for U.S. visa application defined
An invitation letter is a document written by an individual formally inviting a family member or friend who’s a foreign national to the U.S. for a specific period of time. Invitation letters are often used as supporting documentation to the foreign national’s visa application when seeking temporary entry into the U.S.
The purpose of an invitation letter is to confirm the details of the applicant’s stay, including the reason for and dates of their travel. While an invitation letter isn’t a specific requirement for any visa application, including one with the application or bringing one to the visa application interview may be beneficial.
When to submit a letter of invitation
If a friend or relative plans to visit you on a temporary travel visa, they may ask you to provide them a letter of invitation to submit in support of their visa application. Below are two common visitor visas for which you may consider submitting an invitation letter:
|Visa||Category||Examples of permitted activities|
|B-1||Business||– Consult with business associates|
– Attend scientific, educational, professional or business events
– Settle an estateNegotiate a contract
– Visits with family or friends
– Medical treatment
– Participation in certain social events
– Participation in amateur musical, sports or similar events
– Enrollment in short recreational study courses
Regardless of the precise scenario, if a friend, family member or colleague requests an invitation letter, providing one may help enhance their chances of a successful application.
The timing of the letter’s submission doesn’t matter since a letter of invitation isn’t required when filing the initial application for a visitor visa. You may include a letter of invitation as additional documentation in support of your application, or you may also choose to bring one with you to your interview.
Who can write an invitation letter for U.S. visa applications
An invitation letter should be written by the individual who will host the foreign national during their stay in the U.S. and who has personal ties to the invitee.
Typically, the individual writing the invitation letter is either a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR). In many cases, the host is a friend or family member of the visa applicant. However, colleagues and business associates may also write letters.
How to write a letter of invitation for U.S. visa applications
Because providing an invitation letter is optional, there’s no specific list of information that one must contain. Nevertheless, below are some examples of information that’s often included:
- The host’s name and contact information
- The host’s citizenship or immigration status
- The visa applicant’s name and contact information
- Details regarding the relationship between the host and the visa applicant
- Name and contact information for the visa applicant’s foreign employer
- The visa applicant’s expected travel dates
- Details regarding whether the host will provide accommodations or financial support to the invitee during their visit
- The purpose of the invitee’s trip and travel plans within the United States
- Any other details confirming the invitee’s ties to their home country and plans to return
In short, the goal of the invitation letter is to provide details confirming the foreign national’s relationship with the host residing within the U.S., the dates of travel and the purpose of their visit. The letter should also include details about the invitee’s ties to their home country to verify their intent to return at the conclusion of their trip. Examples of this include information about their home, job and family.
Lastly, the host should sign the invitation letter.
Sample letter of invitation for U.S. visa supporting documentation
Below is a sample letter of invitation. Keep in mind, there’s no specific format that an invitation letter must follow to be accepted as supporting documentation for a visa application. Because each letter is unique to the applicant’s situation, it may be beneficial to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer to determine how best to format your letter of invitation.
[Invitee full name]
[Invitee date of birth]
[Invitee foreign address]
Dear [full name of invitee],
I hope this letter finds you well. I am writing to formally extend an invitation for you to visit me in the United States from [proposed arrival date] to [proposed departure date].
As my [relationship], we’ve known each other for [length of time], and I am eager to host you in my home, where I plan to provide you with [details of accommodations and financial support] for the duration of your stay. I understand and acknowledge the requirements of your U.S. visa and assure you that I’ll assist you in complying with them, including, but not limited to, ensuring your timely departure from the United States at the conclusion of your trip.
Until then, I am looking forward to our plans to [travel plans during invitee’s visit].
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need any additional information or assistance during the visa application process.
[Host full legal name]
[Citizenship or immigration status]
[Host U.S. street address]
[Host city, state, zip code]
[Host phone number]
[Host email address]
Some also find it beneficial to accompany the letter with copies of items, such as:
- Evidence of roundtrip airfare reservations
- Photocopies of the host’s driver’s license, identification card or passport
- Event invitation or correspondence
- Detailed travel itinerary
- Proof of accommodations
When to speak with a lawyer
Going through the process of applying for a B-1 or B-2 visa for temporary entry into the U.S. can be difficult due to the many requirements in the application process. However, writing a detailed invitation letter with the above information may help make the application process easier for a visa applicant.
If you have questions about how to write a thorough letter of invitation and what information to include, consider speaking with legal counsel. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and help you understand how you may help your invitee gain lawful entry into the U.S.