Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa: How to Write One & Examples [2024 Update]

Personal Immigration
· 22 Mar 2024
· 11 mins read
Author: Jay Moghal
A letter of invitation, also known as a sponsorship letter, is a key document in many UK visa applications that helps to clarify the purpose of the visitor's trip and to demonstrate their accommodation and in some instances financial arrangements.
What is a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa?

Table of Contents

Personal Immigration
· 22 Mar 2024
· 11 mins read
Author: Jay Moghal

What is a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa?

A letter of invitation, also known as a sponsorship letter, is a key document in many UK visa applications that helps to clarify the purpose of the visitor’s trip and to demonstrate their accommodation and in some instances financial arrangements. This document is vital for providing assurance to border control officers about the genuineness of the visitor’s intent, addressing one of the more ambiguous criteria of UK visa applications.

How A Letter of Invitation Helps Your UK Visa Application

The primary function of the invitation letter is to detail the visitor’s planned activities in the UK, whether they are coming to stay with family, attend business meetings, or participate in other formal engagements. It should explicitly mention the relationship between the host and the visitor, the duration of the stay, and who will be responsible for the visitor’s expenses. If the visitor will be staying with the host, this should be clearly stated to potentially prevent the need for additional proofs like hotel bookings.

However, depending on what is specified in the invitation letter, the applicant may still be required to present further evidence, such as proof of hotel reservations and sufficient funds for the duration of their visit, to support their application.

The letter should be comprehensive and include details about both the host and the visitor, their relationship, and the specifics of the trip. Including supporting documents like the host’s proof of address or ID can also lend credibility to the claims made in the letter.

While the letter itself is not the sole determinant in the visa application process and is not mandatory, the absence of a well-prepared letter of invitation could cast doubt on the visit’s legitimacy and lead to visa denial, especially in family visits where the applicant is staying with family members or in business visits where the applicant is visiting work associates. It is, therefore, essential to ensure that the letter is detailed, accurate, and aligns with the overall purpose of the visit, as outlined in the visa application.

Tourist Trip to UK

Who Needs a Letter of Invitation and Who Should It Be Addressed to?

A letter of invitation can play a crucial role in the application process for a Standard Visitor Visa to the UK. While not mandatory, including such a letter can significantly strengthen an application by providing additional assurance to the UK Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) about the purpose and conditions of the visit. This is particularly advantageous for applicants who may not have extensive funds or pre-arranged accommodation, as it can help mitigate the risk of visa denial due to financial scrutiny or doubts about the visit’s intent.

For those planning to stay with family or friends, or if financial resources are limited, a letter of invitation can prove essential. It reassures the ECO that the visitor has a place to stay and means of support, reducing the likelihood of entry issues upon arrival. It is advisable for travellers to carry this letter when travelling, as border agents might request to see this document to verify the details of the stay before granting entry into the UK.

Regarding addressing the letter, it should be noted that the invitation letter is intended for the ECO rather than the visitor. The primary purpose of this letter is to outline supporting details such as the personal information of the host and visitor, and specifics about the visit, thereby facilitating the visa application review process by the Home Office. It should therefore be formally addressed to the ECO, typically starting with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ or ‘To whom it may concern’. This approach underscores the official nature of the correspondence and aligns with the formal requirements of visa application documentation.

While it might seem more personal to address the letter directly to the visitor, such as ‘Dear [Visitor’s Name]’, this is generally not necessary unless specifically desired by the host for personal reasons. The official and most effective format is to direct the letter to the authorities reviewing the visa application, ensuring that the tone and content are appropriately formal and informative. For example by addressing the letter to “Dear Sir/Madam” or “To whom it may concern”. 

Requirements and Eligibility for Writing a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa

When writing a letter of invitation for a UK visa, it is essential that the author meets specific criteria to be considered a valid sponsor. Firstly, the sponsor must be living in the UK lawfully. This requirement is crucial as it confirms the sponsor’s legal status to support a visa application.

Secondly, the sponsor must have a personal relationship with the visa applicant, such as being a friend, relative, partner, or spouse. This relationship must be verifiable, as the Home Office requires proof to ensure the authenticity of the relationship. It is important to document how the sponsor knows the visitor in the letter to avoid any ambiguity or issues during the visa application process.

Moreover, the sponsor must provide details about the accommodation they will offer to the visitor. This includes specifying whether the property is owned or rented and ensuring the space is adequate for the duration of the visitor’s stay. If the visitor plans to stay at different accommodations during their visit, such as a hotel during a weekend trip, this should also be clearly outlined in the invitation letter.

The person writing the letter must be fully informed about the contents and be prepared to verify any details if questioned by immigration authorities. Ensuring the information provided in the letter is accurate and truthful is imperative, as any discrepancies can undermine the visa application.

Eligibility to write an invitation letter also extends to those who have sufficient space in their residence to accommodate the visitor comfortably. The Home Office considers these practicalities when assessing the invitation letter as part of the visa application process. Therefore, the sponsor should be prepared to provide proof of accommodation and its suitability for the visitor’s stay.

Essential Information to Include in a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa

Sponsor and Visitor Details

The letter should start by clearly outlining the host’s full name, address, telephone number, occupation, and legal status in the UK, whether as a citizen or permanent resident. It should also confirm the host’s relationship to the visitor, which needs to be verifiable to satisfy Home Office requirements.

Similarly, the visitor’s full name and the nature of their relationship with the host should be detailed. This helps in establishing a personal connection and the credibility of the visit’s intent.

UK Visa Sponsor Requirments

Trip Details

Comprehensive information about the trip must be included:

Dates of Visit: While exact dates are ideal, approximate dates can also be provided if the travel plans are still being finalised. For example, stating that the visitor is invited for a two-week stay in a specific month suffices if exact travel dates are not yet available.

Purpose of the Visit: Clearly state whether the visit is for tourism, family time, attending a specific event, or another purpose. If the visitor is coming for a specific event or activity, this should be mentioned explicitly.

Accommodation Details: Outline where the visitor will stay during their visit. If the visitor will stay with the host, details of the host’s home should be provided, including the address and the type of property (owned or rented). If an alternative accommodation is planned for part of the stay, such as a hotel, details should also be included.

sample of invitation letter for uk visa

Financial Arrangements

The letter should detail how the visitor’s living and travel expenses will be handled. Options include the host covering all expenses, sharing costs, or the visitor managing their own expenses. If the financial arrangements vary during the visit, each phase should be clearly outlined.

For instance, if the host will cover accommodation and daily expenses but the visitor pays for their own travel, this division should be clearly stated. 

Additional Considerations

Honesty is crucial in the invitation letter. If there are any unique arrangements, such as the visitor staying elsewhere for part of their visit, these should be openly stated. 

Supporting Documents to Include with a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa

When submitting a letter of invitation as part of a UK visa application, accompanying it with the right supporting documents is essential. These documents validate the information presented in the invitation letter and enhance the credibility of the visa application, ultimately assisting the Entry Clearance Officer (ECO) in making an informed decision. Here are the key documents that are generally recommended to be included:

  • A copy of the host’s UK passport or biometric residence permit. 
  • Documents such as a mortgage statement or tenancy agreement.
  • Recent bank statements or other financial documents that show the host has sufficient means to support the visitor throughout their stay. 
  • Copies of itineraries, flight tickets, or bookings for events or activities if already arranged.

Additional Considerations

Scanned Copies vs. Originals: It is generally acceptable to provide scanned copies of these documents rather than originals, which ensures that all necessary information is provided without risking important personal documents.

Comprehensive Documentation: While there is no fixed list of documents that must be included with every invitation letter, the more evidence provided, the stronger the visa application will be. 

Writing a Letter of Invitation for a UK Visa: Sample Templates

When drafting a letter of invitation for a UK visa, it’s crucial to ensure that it contains all the necessary details to support the visa application effectively. Below are three sample templates that illustrate how to structure such a letter, each tailored to slightly different circumstances. These examples should serve as a guide to creating a personalised invitation letter that includes specific, essential information about both the host and the visitor.

Sample 1: Comprehensive Invitation Letter

Your Name
Your Address
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

Application for Visitor Visa for [Visitor’s Name]

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to invite [Visitor’s Name, with Date of Birth] to stay with me in the UK from [Start Date] to [End Date] at my residence in [Location]. [Visitor’s Name] is my [Relationship], and we plan to engage in sightseeing and visiting local areas of interest during their stay.

In addition to staying at my home, we have arranged to spend three days at [Name of Accommodation or Place] from [Start Date] to [End Date], located at [Address].

I am a UK citizen by birth, employed as an [Occupation], and fully intend to support [Visitor’s Name] financially throughout their visit, including accommodation, meals, and internal travel expenses. I have ample space in my home to accommodate them comfortably.

Attached are copies of my British passport, tenancy agreement, work ID, booking details for additional lodging, and a recent bank statement (from [Date]), verifying my financial capability.

If you need any additional information, please feel free to contact me.

Yours faithfully,
[Your Signature]
[Your Name]

Sample 2: Standard Visitor Visa Invitation

Your Name
Your Address
Your Phone Number
Your Email Address

Invitation letter for [Applicant’s Name]

Dear Sir or Madam,

I hereby extend an invitation to [Applicant’s Name and Date of Birth] to stay with me at [Host Address] from [Start Date] until [End Date]. [Applicant’s Name] is my [Relationship], known to me for [X] years, and their visit aims to include sightseeing and visiting family across the UK.

During their stay, we will also spend a few days in Brighton at [Hotel Name], from [Start Date] to [End Date]. Please find attached the ticket reservations and accommodation booking confirmation copies for your reference.

I am a UK-born citizen, residing in my three-bedroom home which I rent, and am employed full-time as an [Profession]. Enclosed are my recent pay slips, bank statements, and a holiday request confirmation from my employer, which substantiate my financial readiness and accommodation arrangements.

If you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yours faithfully,
[Your Name and Signature]

Sample 3: Simple and Direct Invitation Letter

Sponsor’s Name
Sponsor’s Address
Sponsor’s Phone Number
Sponsor’s Email Address
Date of Writing the Letter

Application for Visitor Visa for [Applicant’s Name]

Dear Sir/Madam,

Please accept this letter as my formal invitation for [Applicant’s name and Date of Birth] to visit and stay with me in the UK between [Start Date] and [End Date] at [Host’s Address]. The purpose of [Applicant’s Name]’s visit is [Description of the Visit’s Intention].

As a UK citizen working as a [Profession] at [Company], I will cover all costs related to [Applicant’s Name]’s stay, including food, accommodation, and travel within the UK. My [Type of Property] is fully prepared to accommodate them comfortably for the entire duration of their visit.

Please find attached [List of Supporting Documents].

Should you need more details, please contact me at your convenience.

Yours faithfully,

[Author’s Signature]

[Author’s Name]

These templates provide a framework for creating a personalised letter of invitation that aligns with the requirements of the UK visa application process, ensuring that all necessary information is clearly communicated and supported by appropriate documentation.

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About the Expert
Jay Moghal
Founder and Managing Director
With over 15 years of immigration law experience at top London firms, Jay Moghal established Rove Legal in 2020 to offer prompt, personalised services without the bureaucratic hurdles associated with larger firms.
+44 (0) 203 146 0900

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