Writing an invitation letter can be nerve-wracking; you want to include all of the information you need, direct it to the right person, and, of course, write convincingly that it will help rather than hinder the applicant’s application. But not every visa needs an invitation letter.
Family Visas don’t require invitation letters as they require hard evidence that the sponsor (the person living in the UK) and the applicant (the person applying to live with them in the UK) are related or in a relationship. However, it can be useful in some cases. Here’s why.
What Is an Invitation Letter for a Visa?
An invitation letter is used for some visas in the UK to assist a person’s application. It shows a friendly or familial relationship between two people, the sponsor and the applicant. When the visa applicant will be staying with a friend or family member in the UK, the government requires an invitation visa to prove the legal status of the UK resident (the sponsor), the relationship between the two, and that the sponsor has enough space in their house, and potentially funds, to comfortably support the applicant during their stay in the UK.
The visa letter can be written to the applicant, or the UK consulate, as long as there is sufficient information included in the letter that proves the sponsor will host the visitor during their whole stay in the UK, or part if they have sufficient funds and evidence of hotel bookings.
For the invitation letter, also known as a sponsorship letter, to be valid, the sponsor must:
- Be a British citizen or have permanent residency
- Be a friend, partner or relative of the applicant
- Have accommodation registered in their name
- Have enough space in their accommodation for the visitor during their stay in the UK
If the sponsor meets all of these requirements, then the invitation letter will be considered by the consulate.
Do You Need a Visa Invitation Letter for a Family Visa?
You do not need an invitation letter for a UK Family Visa as this visa requires proof of the relationship between the sponsor and the applicant, such as marriage certificates, birth certificates or medical proof of health conditions. However, an invitation letter can still be helpful for the applicant in certain cases.
If the sponsor and applicant have been in a relationship for more than 2 years, an invitation letter could help provide evidence of the relationship if the necessary information is included. It could also be useful to prove the sponsor has sufficient space in their house or apartment to accommodate the family member full-time. However, it must be noted that an invitation letter does not replace other solid evidence in these cases. The sponsor would also have to provide details of their accommodation from their landlord or house deeds, joint bills or other legal documents to prove a couple has been living together for at least two years.
What UK Visa Requires an Invitation Letter?
A Standard Visitor Visa, on the other hand, requires an invitation letter if the visitor is planning to stay with a friend, partner or family member. The government needs to have evidence that the visitor will have a place to stay whilst in the UK as well as sufficient funds to cover the costs of their stay. So, if the applicant is not staying in hotels or visiting the UK for purely touristic purposes, an invitation letter from a sponsor is necessary evidence.
The applicant can travel once in the UK, but if they will be staying for long periods away from the sponsor, they will need to provide evidence of where they will be, how long and how they will afford this. Evidence can be shown in bank statements, hotel reservations and activity reservations.
EU and EEA citizens do not need Visitor Visas if they are staying in the UK for less than 6 months. Other nationalities will need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
What Information Needs to be Included in an Invitation Letter?
An invitation letter for a UK visa is not just a list of information; there is a great deal of information that needs to be included in the letter. So before writing your letter, make sure you have a list of all the details you must include, so you don’t forget anything.
- Your full name
- Your date of birth
- Your living address and telephone number in the UK
- Details of your occupation
- Your legal status in the UK (citizen, permanent resident, protected status etc.)
- The visitor’s full name
- The visitor’s date of birth
- The visitor’s address and telephone number
- The visitor’s relationship with the host
- The purpose of the visitor’s trip to the UK
- How long the visitor intends to stay in the UK (must be specific dates)
- Details of accommodation and living expenses (how many rooms, how much is the rent/ mortgage etc.)
- Your signature
It may also be useful for the application to include supporting documents with the invitation letter that provide evidence of the details you have included in your invitation letter. Such as:
- A copy of your passport
- A copy of your residence permit if applicable
- Financial evidence (bank statements, payslips etc.)
- A copy of the deeds or contract for the accommodation
- Any other useful documents for a reliable source
Who Can Travel to the UK on a Family Visa?
Family Visas are only for immediate relatives who will be living together in the UK. They are given for up to 2 years and 9 months when first issued and can be extended indefinitely, or the relative on the visa can apply for permanent residency, also known as indefinite leave to remain, after 5 years legally in the UK. Then, 12 months later, the applicant is eligible for British citizenship if they continue to meet the terms of their visas and show good character.
Not every relative can travel to the UK on a Family Visa, however. There are four types of Family Visa that determine who can apply.
Types of Family Visa
Family Visas are:
- Partner or Spouse Visa
- Parent Visa
- Child Dependant Visa
- Adult Dependant Relative Visa
Therefore, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins cannot apply for Family Visas unless they are an adult with a medical condition that requires them to have care from the family member who is a legal resident of the UK.
Applying for a Family Visa
When applying for a UK Family Visa, the applicant must meet several conditions and provide several documents as evidence. The sponsor must also be a legal resident of the UK, that means either:
- Have British citizenship
- Have permanent residency
- Have protected status in the UK
The applicant must then provide:
- A valid passport for the duration of the proposed stay in the UK
- Biometric photographs and fingerprints
- Proof of relationship between the applicant and UK resident (documents cannot be over 4 years old)
- Proof of suitable accommodation in the UK
- Proof of A1-standard English if between 19 and 64 years old (unless from a recognised English-speaking country or having completed studies in English)
- Proof of sufficient finances to cover your stay in the UK
- Tuberculosis vaccination record or test results if applicable
- Details of any criminal history
- Details of any previous immigration applications made
- Certified translation of any supporting documents that are not in English or Welsh. This should include confirmation of the eligibility of the translator
- Photo page and any visa or entry stamps in previous passports
- Any other supporting documents that UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has asked for
Once the application has been made, and the application fee has been paid, the Home Office will process your application in approximately 24 weeks if you have applied from outside the UK, or 8 weeks if you have applied from the UK. If approved, you can live, work and study in the UK as well as use NHS services for the duration of your visa.
Need Visa Help? Contact Synergy Immigration Solutions
If you’re applying for a UK visa, it can be hard to do the whole process alone. And there’s no need! With Synergy Immigration Solutions’ team of experts on hand to help with each individual’s application, you can have the visa help you deserve. Contact us now to learn how we can help you.