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How To Write a Letter of Invitation for a U.S. Visa

What Is a Letter of Invitation for a U.S. Visa?

Sending an Invitation Letter

Letters of Invitation are an old-fashioned way of providing supporting evidence when someone requests a visa to visit the United States for tourism or a brief business trip. Although they’ve mostly fallen out of favor, there are still a few circumstances where a visa invitation letter may be helpful.

What Is a Letter of Invitation for a U.S. Visa?

A letter of invitation for a U.S. Visa is a highly detailed letter provided by a U.S. citizen (born or through naturalization) or permanent resident inviting a citizen of another country to visit them in the United States for a specific purpose. 

In modern times, we don’t usually send written invitations to events. The detailed letter is mostly symbolic and used as a written record of the purpose of someone’s visit to the United States.

Is a Letter of Invitation Necessary for a U.S. Visa?

Letters of invitation were an important part of the process of obtaining a visa before the internet. All visa visitors need to have a suitable purpose for their visit, even if the visit is for something as simple as a beach vacation or a sightseeing trip to New York City. A letter of invitation could be used to verify more individualized reasons for a visit to the United States, like a family wedding or funeral. 

Now that everyone is connected nearly all the time, it’s easy for the Department of State to verify the information in your visa application and make sure that the timing of your visa corresponds with a specific event. They no longer need a letter of invitation when they’re able to independently and accurately vet the information provided by applicants. 

Does the Department of State Still Accept Letters of Invitation?

Even though they’re no longer required, the Department of State will still accept letters of invitation for U.S. visas. They aren’t an integral part of the process of obtaining a visa, but they can still help as a supporting document. 

The visa process has changed significantly, and visitors from many countries are able to skip the application for a visitor’s visa through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). A letter of invitation wouldn’t be of any use to someone using ESTA to obtain travel permission because they aren’t required to provide a lot of documents. They’re able to bypass most of the visa application process.

A letter of invitation may be most useful for travelers visiting the United States from a country that doesn’t participate in ESTA. The process for obtaining a non-ESTA visa is lengthy and requires the submission of more information. A letter of invitation would be a valuable supporting document in this case.

What Types of Visas Use Invitation Letters?

“B” type visas can use invitation letters. The B1 visa is used for certain types of business trips if the person visiting the United States doesn’t intend to earn any money during their trip to the United States. It’s best for events such as negotiations, training, or attending conferences. 

The B2 U.S. visitor visa is the most popular type of visa. B2 visas are for casual visits, tourism, and family trips. If you were coming to the United States for a special celebration or a vacation, you would use a B2 visa. 

Other business visas, like “E” visas, are highly specialized. They usually require very formal proof and supporting documents as they pertain to business. You wouldn’t use a letter of invitation for these types of visas because the required documents are already very thorough. A letter of invitation wouldn’t add any value to the supporting documents.

What Information Should a Letter of Invitation Include?

A letter of invitation should include a wealth of information, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. You can easily condense the information to fit onto a single page.

Information About the Person Being Invited

A letter of invitation should include key information about the person being invited, including the following:

  • Full name.
  • Mailing address.
  • Relationship to the person sending the invitation.
  • Passport number (optional, but potentially helpful).

Information About the Person Sending the Invitation

The person sending the invitation is referred to as the host, even if they won’t technically be hosting the person they’re inviting to visit. This person should be responsible for the event taking place, or the event should be directly tied to this person. Some key information to include is as follows:

  • Full name.
  • Mailing address.
  • Relationship to the person being invited (Hosts are typically family members).
  • Immigration status (U.S. citizen or permanent resident).
  • Contact information (phone number, email address).
  • Passport number (optional but helpful).
  • Written signature.

Information About the Purpose of the Visit

A letter of invitation should also include basic information about the purpose of the visit, such as:

  • A clear description of the event (i.e., a wedding, the birth of a child, a college graduation).
  • The exact time, date, or duration of the event.
  • Where the visitor will be staying.
  • Who will be responsible for financially supporting the visitor (if necessary).

Who Do You Write the Letter of Invitation To?

There are two ways to send a letter of invitation. You can clearly write and address a letter of invitation to the person being invited and create a signed copy to send to the U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy. You can also write the letter to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, include all of the same information, and write the letter as a direct request for a visa for the person you’re inviting. 

Most people choose to write a letter directly to the person they’re inviting and allow that person to give a copy to a consular officer along with their visa application. People who are inviting someone to the United States for professional purposes (like to attend a trade show or professional conference) sometimes prefer the direct formality of writing the letter as a direct request to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. 

How Do You Write a Personal Letter of Invitation?

It’s fairly easy to write a visa invitation letter for a tourist visa. The most important aspects of a personal letter of invitation are the information of both people involved and a brief summary of the purpose of the visit. 

The body of the letter doesn’t need to be longer than a paragraph if the most important details can be easily condensed into a few sentences. This sample invitation letter can be used as a template for a B-2 visitor visa application letter.

To: Visitor’s Name

Visitor’s Street Address

Visitor’s City, Postal Code

Visitor’s Country

Dear (Visitor’s Full Name),

I would like to invite you to stay at the Grand Hotel with me in the United States from October 3, 2025, until October 8, 2024, for my wedding and wedding celebration. I would like you to participate in my wedding as a bridesmaid and enjoy a group spa weekend with me at the hotel. I will be able to provide any additional financial support you require during your trip, including return airfare to your home country at the end of your visit if necessary.

Your (relationship to the visitor), 

(Host’s Name)

(Host’s Signature)

Host’s Street,

Host’s City, Host’s State

Host’s Postal Code


Phone Number

Passport Number

How Do You Write a Professional Letter of Invitation?

Professional Letters of Invitation should be addressed to the U.S. consular officer who will make a visa decision for the visitor’s visa application. These types of letters are formal because they’re being written as a request to a professional. It’s important to be clear that the B-1 visa will be used in accordance with its rules and not to conduct official profitable business. 


United States Consulate General

(Full Address of Consulate Office)

Dear Consulate Officer,

(Visitor’s Full Name) – (Visitor’s Passport Number) – Born (Visitor’s Date of Birth)

My name is (Host’s Full Name), I live at (Host’s Full Address), and I am (immigration status, i.e. a United States Citizen).

I am writing in support of the issuance of a (type of Visa, usually a B-1 visa) to (Visitor’s Full Name) at (Visitor’s Full Address) so that he/she may attend a professional conference for (industry/business/profession) to (speak, network, learn, educate, etc.).

The event will be held from (start date) to (end date), and I am requesting (Visitor’s Name)’s presence for the engagement on (date or dates). The (conference, organization, institution, or professional) will be able to assist the visitor with accommodations during their stay.

Your kind consideration of this request will be highly appreciated.

Thank you for your consideration,

(Host’s Name)

(Host’s Signature)

Host’s Street,

Host’s City, Host’s State

Host’s Postal Code


Phone Number

Passport Number

When Do You Send a Letter of Invitation for a U.S. Visa?

A visa invitation letter should be submitted at the same time a visa application is considered; this can be at a formal interview or through dropbox submission. It will be used as supporting evidence when a consular officer reviews the case and makes a determination. 

If a consular officer needs more information or finds an application to be insufficient, it may take longer for the consulate to reach a decision, or the visa may be denied. It’s important for all necessary documents to be submitted simultaneously. If it’s easy for the consulate to review and verify the information in a visa request, the case is less likely to encounter any delays. 

Do You Need Legal Assistance Obtaining a U.S. Visa?

A letter of invitation might be a helpful tool, but if a U.S. immigration institution requires more supporting documents, an invitation may not be enough. The experienced immigration law team at Cohen, Tucker + Ades may be able to assist you in obtaining a U.S. visa. Contact us for a consultation on your visa case.


B1 and B2 visas (U.S. business/tourism visas) | ESTA Online Center

ESTA | US Department of Customs and Border Protection

Business | US Department of State

B-1 Temporary Business Visitor | USCIS


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