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Does my visiting family member need an Invitation letter?

By January 3, 2022January 6th, 2022Immigration
Visiting family members

If your family members want to come visit you to the U.S., they will either need a B-2 visa or an ESTA. Many people think that visitors must have an invitation letter – while not mandatory, in some situations it may be helpful if your family member has a letter explaining what he/she plans to do in the U.S.

Example

You are originally from India and you are now a green card holder living in the U.S. Your family is planning to visit you in the U.S. and you are wondering whether you need to write an “Invitation letter” for your family so they can show it to the border officials when entering the U.S.

The truth is that this is not officially required. If your family member(s) have a B-2 visa or an ESTA, they can come to the U.S. The CBP officer at the border will make the final ultimate decision on whether to admit person to the U.S. or no, depending on the activities the visitor wants to engage. Writing a letter that will explain the purpose of your family members’ visit may be a good idea if your family members don’t speak good English. In such case, they could show the letter explaining what they plan to do in the U.S. to the officer at the border in case the officer starts asking them questions.

The letter should explain in detail for how long your family members are coming, what exactly they plan to do, where will they stay, and when is their flight back home. You can also include your contact information and the letter can also briefly summarize your family members’ ties to your home country (e.g. property/business they own, explain if they have a job in your home country). Ultimately, if the CBP officer has concerns about your family members’ purpose of visit, they would be taken for a secondary inspection questioning, and if they don’t speak English, should be offered an interpreter so they can explain the purpose of the visit.

To sum up, while having the invitation letter is not required, in some situations it may be helpful if your family members carry a letter that explains what they will be doing in the U.S.

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