often ask how they can help a family member, relative or friend get a visa to
visit them in the United States. Under U.S. law, however, applicants for
visitor visas must qualify on their own for visas to visit the United States.
is what applicants must do to qualify for visitor visas:
- Complete and sign the
required non-immigrant visa application forms;
- Bring evidence that
their visit is temporary and that they will return home after their
legally authorized stay (e.g., evidence of strong financial and familial
ties to the home country; return ticket home; only enough cash/travelers
checks to support temporary visit to the U.S.; evidence of employment upon
return home; etc.); and
- Undergo security clearance
A "Letter of invitation"
is supplementary information that explains a visa applicant's intended purpose
of travel. U.S. Embassies and Consulates do not have one specific format that
these letters must follow. Consular officers look at the totality of an
applicant's personal situation in determining visa eligibility. Supporting
documents, such as a "letter of invitation", are often useful, but
are not decisive in determining an applicant's visa eligibility. Mere possession
of a letter of invitation from a U.S. sponsor will not necessarily guarantee
that the holder will receive a visa.
A “letter of
- State the specific purpose of
the travel (conference, meeting, etc.) and the anticipated duration of the
- Provide detailed information
about the relationship between the inviter and invitee and the invitee's purpose
- Provide additional important
information in the letter, specifically, whether the U.S. inviter will provide
any funding for the traveler. Explain any sponsorship for the meeting (if
- Explain if translators are
being provided for the meeting or if the meeting will be conducted in a
foreign language, it is helpful to explain this.
- Contact information
referenced in the letter for both the inviter and invitee should be
As aforementioned, an invitation
letter or personal guarantee of the applicant’s departure from the U.S.
after the visit is over is not decisive in determining whether or not the visa
will be issued. The consular officer evaluates each visa application on its own
merits according to visa law and procedures. The best help that a U.S. Citizen
can give to a visitor visa applicant is to make sure that applicant has all the
information they need to submit a correct application and explain fully the
standards for visa issuance.
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