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What Is an Immigration Invitation Letter?

When attending a business meeting in another country, an immigration invitation letter is sometimes given to the traveler to help ensure their safe passage through customs.
An immigration invitation letter can help prevent delays or confusion when the visitor arrives in the country and speaks to an immigration official.
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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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An immigration invitation letter is a letter written by a citizen or permanent resident of a country on behalf of a foreign national who wishes to visit. The contents of the letter may vary by jurisdiction, but usually the letter includes information about the letter writer, the person on whose behalf the letter is written, and details of the foreign nationals proposed. Invitation letters are not always required as part of the immigration process, but can be very useful in helping visitors both establish their reasons for visiting and show that they will be able to feed and house themselves during their stay.

A common situation in which an immigration invitation letter may be required is when someone wishes to visit a friend or family member who lives in another country. Even if the visitor does not normally need to get a visa prior to making the trip, the letter can help prevent delays or confusion when the visitor arrives in the country and speaks to an immigration official. Another circumstance in which such a letter may be necessary is when a business person visits another country to attend a conference, business meeting, or other event. Owing to concerns that a business person may be engaging in work or trade that is restricted by immigration laws, an immigration invitation letter that explains the short-term nature of the visit can help prevent a situation in which the business traveler is declined entry into the country.

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In many places, including the United States, there is no one set format for writing an immigration invitation letter. A good approach may be for letter writers to clearly state their name, address, and citizenship status at the beginning of the letter. Once they have established their identity, they should also state the name of their visitor as it appears on the visitor's passport. They should then explain the nature and the duration of the trip as well as their relationship to the visitor. If the letter writer plans to provide accommodation, meals, or other forms of support, he should state this as well and may want to attach information about his home or a copy of his lease.

It is important to remember that just because someone is issued an immigration invitation letter does not mean that immigration officials will grant the request for a visa or permit the person to enter the country. The immigration invitation letter is just another part of standard immigration paperwork,and is subject to scrutiny. If the information in the letter is not consistent with other statements made by the traveler or information contained in other immigration forms, the application to enter the country may be denied.

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