A letter of invitation may help facilitate the B-1 Business Visitor Visa application process. Here are tips for writing a good invitation letter.
Invitation Letter for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa
By Bronwen Elizabeth Madden
Many U.S. companies welcome legitimate international business partners to the United States for various
reasons, such as on-site training at their home facility. When applying for a B-1 Business Visitor Visa, a letter
of invitation may help facilitate the visa application process. The invitation letter is a tool designed to clearly
communicate the motives and planned activities of the business trip and declare the applicant?s intentions to
return to their country at the end of the visit. An invitation letter will not guarantee visa approval; however,
below are tips for writing a good invitation letter.
Invitations letters need to be written in English and on official company letterhead. They must clearly indicate
that their purpose is to request visa issuance and the type of visa sought (B-1 Business Visitor Visa).
The name of the individual requesting the visa must be stated in the invitation letter exactly how it appears on
their passport. On occasion, a name may be phonetically misspelled on a person?s passport. This is more
common when their native alphabet does not have English characters. It is important that there be consistency
across all documentation and the name in the invitation letter is identical to the spelling in their passport. Some
cultures put the surname first while others place it last, which can cause confusion. By writing the surname in
all capital letters, the Consular Officer will easily identify the individual?s surname.
The invitation letter should state the individual?s title, the name of the business or organization they represent,
and their relationship to the host (e.g., distributor, JV partner, etc.). State the purpose of the visit; in this case
the purpose of the visit would be for business. Necessary personal data, including the person?s date of birth,
city and country of birth, gender, marital status, and passport number is also required. Most countries, except
for the United States, put the day before the month when writing dates. The host may prefer to spell out the
month when writing dates to avoid confusion.
The letter should articulate the planned dates of travel, which are for a specific and limited time period. If the
host intends to cover all visitor travel-related expenses, he or she needs to say so in the invitation letter.
Evidence of funds to cover the visitor?s expenses while in the United States is very important. The host?s
complete contact details should be included in the letter. On occasion, the Consular Officer may want to
contact the host to verify or request additional information. Finally, the letter must be signed in blue ink.
Although the host may commit to covering all travel expenses while visiting the United States, the Consular
Officer will most likely also want to see evidence of the applicant?s financial stability and resources. Section
214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) states: ?Every alien shall be presumed to be an
immigrant until he establishes to the satisfaction of the consular officer, at the time of application for
admission, that he is entitled to a nonimmigrant status.? To qualify for a B1 Business Visitor Visa, all
applicants must demonstrate they possess a residence abroad they have no intention of abandoning. Applicants
prove the existence of such residence by demonstrating that they have financial and social ties abroad that
would compel them to leave the United States at the end of the temporary stay. The law places this burden of
proof on the applicant.
The host must mail the invitation letter directly to the visa applicant via courier to ensure timely delivery.
Invitation letters should not be mailed to the Consular Section; supporting documents are rarely accepted in
advance of the interview. When the visa applicant goes to their interview, he or she should bring the original
invitation letter (copies do not suffice) along with their required documentation. Applicants should always
check the Consular Section?s website for a complete list of required documentation and other helpful
information covering the application process.
It is important to remember that a letter of invitation is not sufficient alone, nor is it a guarantee for visa
qualification. An invitation letter is not a required document but it does offer documentary evidence supporting
the case for visa issuance and may ease the visa application process. Each individual must qualify on their own
merits. Below is a sample invitation letter.
Sample Letter: This is an example only. If used, please be sure to adapt the specific details for your company
August 23, 2009
Embassy of the United States of America
Attn: Non-immigrant Visa Services Section
Kilometer 5 ½ Carretera Sur
In front of the ?Parque las Piedrecitas?
Action Requested: Visa Issuance
To The Non-immigrant Visa Services Section:
Our company, ABC Corporation, designs and manufactures industrial systems out of our headquarters in Chicago, IL. We have been in business for 30
years and currently have 50 employees with annual sales of XXX. Historically, over 90 percent of our sales have been within the U.S., but in the last few
years we have recognized the opportunities, and necessity, of pursuing international sales. Our current focus is on Latin America.
We have recently signed an agreement with Nica Industries of Managua, Nicaragua. They will be the official representative for sales, technical support,
and product distribution for ABC Corporation in Central America. ABC Corporation and Nica Industries have a number of mutual customers and this
agreement is a natural fit for both our business interests.
ABC Corporation has recently added a sales manager (personal details below) to handle our product line and would like him to visit Chicago, Illinois for
intense technical and sales training on our products. We also plan to visit a number of our customers in the U.S. so that Nica Industries can see how our
products are used in the industry. The total time for the visit will be 15 days, beginning September 24, 2009 and ending October 9, 2009. He will be
staying in the XXX Hotel located at full address. ABC Corporation will be covering all travel, lodging, and meal expenses for the duration of their visit in
GARCIA CRUZ, Jorge Luis
Sales Manager, Nica Industries Passport Number: XXX
Address Gender: Male
Managua, Nicaragua Marital Status: Married
Phone Number:+ 505-5555-5555 Date of Birth: January 05, 19XX
Direct Line: +505-5555-5555 Place of Birth: Managua, Nicaragua
Fax: +505-5555-5555 Home Address: XXX
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Home Phone: XXX
The distributer partnership we have with Nica Industries will allow ABC Corporation to supply many companies, including U.S. operations, manufacturing
products in Central America. It is an opportunity for these firms to benefit from our products as well as a competitive necessity for our business here in
the United States.
Thank you for your assistance. I believe Mr. Garcia has an appointment schedule on DATE for his visa interview. If you have questions, please do not
hesitate to contact me. I can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or on my mobile at +1 (555) 555-5555.
Enclosures: Passports Copies
Cc: Name, USEAC Director, Chicago U.S. Export Assistance Center
Name, International Trade Specialist, Chicago U.S. Export Assistance Center
12345 Main Street, Chicago, IL ZIP USA
Phone: +1 (555) 555-5555 ? Fax: +1 (555) 555-5555 ? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ? Web: www.abccorp.com