How to write an invitation letter for the UK visa?

Gert Svaiko

If you have family or friends overseas who want to visit the UK, and you’ll be acting as their sponsor, you may need to write them an invitation letter.

Depending on the type of visa and the reason for the visit, an invitation letter can be an essential document needed to support a UK visa application.

But how do you write an invitation letter for the UK visa? Read on to find out, as we’ve put together a full guide covering everything you need to know. This includes which visas require a letter, what format you should use and what details you should include as a sponsor.

We’ll also show you a useful solution for managing money in other countries from the money services provider Wise - the Wise card. If someone you know is soon to arrive in the UK, this is the ideal solution for spending in GBP from the moment they arrive.


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What is a letter of invitation and which UK visas require it?

A letter of invitation is required as evidence to support a few different types of UK visa application. It’s written by the sponsor of the visa applicant.

It is usually needed for people who:

  • Are coming to the UK to visit or stay with family, friends or partners
  • Need to carry out activities relating to their job or profession. For example, attending a conference or business meeting, taking part in an academic exchange or performing as a musician.
  • Are carrying out a permitted paid engagement for an organisation based in the UK.

The purpose of the letter of invitation is to establish that the applicant is a visitor, and explain what they will be doing during their stay in the UK.

It demonstrates that the sponsor and the applicant know each other (or have ties). If you’re the sponsor, it also confirms that you’ll be able to support or accommodate the visitor for their entire stay in the UK.

Who can write a letter of invitation?

For your letter of invitation to be considered as valid evidence, you need to meet certain requirements. These are as follows:¹

  1. You must be a UK citizen or legal resident
  2. You must know the person you’re sponsoring - they must be a partner or spouse, relative or friend
  3. You must have enough space in a house or flat that you rent or own to accommodate the visitor for the whole of their stay.

It’s critical that any information you provide is accurate, honest and truthful.

What information should be included in a letter of invitation?

As it will be used as evidence in a visa application, it’s important to ensure your letter of invitation includes all the required information. Miss something out, and your letter may not be accepted - and the person’s visa application could be delayed.

Here’s what a letter of invitation needs to include

  • Your full name, address, occupation and telephone number
  • Details of your legal status in the UK
  • An explanation of your relationship to the visitor
  • The visitor’s full name and relationship to the host
  • The length of their stay, including start and end dates, and a travel itinerary.
  • Details of the accommodation where they’ll be staying
  • The purpose of the visit - for example, spending time with friends or relatives, sightseeing or attending a specific event (if applicable)
  • How living and travel expenses will be covered during their stay.

On this last point, you can provide more details on the arrangements you and your visitor have agreed upon on how expenses will be covered. You may be sharing living costs, or the visitor agreeing to pay a certain amount of the costs. Or you may be providing full financial support to your visitor as their host.

Supporting documents

Along with your letter, you’ll need to include a number of supporting documents. These are essential to ensure your letter will be accepted as valid evidence in the visa application.

You don’t have to send original documents though, as scanned copies will be acceptable. Here’s what you’ll need:¹

  • Your valid UK passport
  • Evidence of your status in the UK, such as a biometric residence permit
  • Proof that you own or rent your home - such as a mortgage statement or tenancy agreement.
  • Evidence of your financial means, such as a recent bank statement
  • Copies of any travel plans such as flight tickets if already arranged.

The more documents you’re able to provide, the stronger your letter will be as evidence for the visa application.

Where can I find a sample of a letter of invitation?

Now that you know what kind of information to include, along with what supporting documents you’ll need, it’s time to write your letter.

To give you an idea of the format to use, you could take a look at sample letters available online. There’s a good one on the University of Salford website, as well as on the Immigration Advice Service (IAS) website.

But as long as you include all the relevant information, it doesn’t hugely matter if your letter deviates from the format in these sample letters.

Use Wise for a fast, secure and low-cost way to send money internationally

If you and your visitor need to send money between countries ahead or after their visit to the UK, check out Wise, a money services provider.

With the Wise account, you can send money worldwide for low fees* and mid-market exchange rate. It takes just a few clicks to send an international payment online, or you can do it on the handy Wise app.

You can manage your money in40+ currencies too, making it ideal if you regularly spend time between countries.

Your visitor may also want to check out the Wise card. It works in 150+ countries, including the UK, letting them spend in the local currency as soon as they arrive.

Sign up with Wise today 💰

And that’s it - everything you need to know about how to write a letter of invitation for the UK visa. Hopefully, after reading this, you’ll be able to write your letter in confidence - and support your visitor’s visa application.

Sources used:

  1. Immigration Advice Service - How to write a letter of invitation for a UK visa

Sources last checked on date: 19-Oct-2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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