How to Invite Someone from Africa to USA

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Invite Someone from Africa to USA

Showing an invitation letter from a friend living in the United States of America (USA) to a US visa officer in your home country would not guarantee a visa issuance, says the U.S Embassy website. An invitation letter has no involvement in influencing a US visa.

However, it could be very thoughtful to carry with you an invitation letter to your visa interview in case you’re being asked.

Short visits to the U.S.A fall under tourist or business visas. A resident of the U.S who wishes to invite a relative for a visit should ask the relative to apply for a B-2 Tourist Visa or a B-1 Business Visa.

How to Invite Someone from Africa to USA

To apply for a tourist or business visa, the applicant or guest must establish their quality for a said visa under U.S immigration law. There are four basic requirements an applicant must fulfill;

Basic Requirements that works

1. They have a place of residence in their home to which they will return after their temporary visit to the U.S.A.

Your proof of residence is usually considered by assessing your ties to your country. For example, if you’re Ghanaian, ties to your country are employment, property ownership, university studies and having a resident family. Note that each applicant’s ties are distinctive and considered by a consular’s discretion.

2. Intend to visit the U.S for a short stay

Secondly, you must demonstrate to the contentment of the consular officer that your plans for travel fall within the constraints of visa applied, that is, a short stay for business or pleasure or for tourism, and that you’ll leave the U.S on the specified date of departure to your residence- as shown in Form 1-94. This short stay cannot be for employment.

3. Your visit to the U.S is to engage in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure.

The third basic requirement expects the applicant to satisfy the consular officer that he/she is visiting the U.S to engage in legitimate activities in relation to the visa class applied. This might not necessarily be dependent on the applicant’s financial status or ties with U.S residents.

4. You have enough money for your stay duration

The consulate will also require that you prove you have enough funds to sponsor your temporary trip to the U.S. This fund is expected to cover your travel expenses, accommodation and food. This is required because the immigration officers do not want a situation where you’ll run out of money and be forced to look for work. Looking for work or planning to work is a B-2 Tourist Visa violation.

Nevertheless, if your host plans to provide financial support to you, the guest, while in your stay in the U.S, your host should fill out USCIS Form I-134, called an Affidavit of Support. Alternatively, you can provide both a letter and a Form I-134.

Host requirements to write an invitation letter

As stated earlier, invitation letters are not a requirement for a U.S visa but are highly recommended. To write one, your host must fulfill the following requirements for your invitation letter to be legal;

  1. Be a US citizen or lawful permanent resident
  2. Be your friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, or relative
  3. Have a registered place (home, flat)
  4. Have enough room for the applicant

The letter must also specify the date of departure and arrival of guests to the U.S.

How to write an invitation letter for U.S Visa?

How to Invite Someone from Africa to USA 1

Writing a letter of invitation to a relative in Africa may seem difficult, but the process is very simple. The letter should either be addressed to the guest or consular but it’s best to address it to the guest so that the letter would have a personal tone and not sound too official.

The following information must be provided in the letter;

  1. Host’s full name.
  2. Host’s date of birth.
  3. Host’s address and telephone number in the United States.
  4. Host’s occupation.
  5. Host’s status in the United States.
  6. A photocopy of a document proving the host’s status in the United States.
  7. Guest’s full name.
  8. Guest’s date of birth.
  9. Guest’s address and telephone number.
  10. Proof of the guest’s relationship to the host.
  11. The purpose of the trip.
  12. Information on how long the guest intends to stay in the United States of America (specific dates).
  13. Details on accommodation and living expenses.
  14. Signature of the host.

Additional Documents

Since the Letter of Invitation is not a requirement, the host is not obliged to send other documents alongside it. However, it would be very thoughtful if the applicant submitted any of the following documents alongside the Letter of Invitation, especially if the host is financially sponsoring your stay

  • A scanned copy of the host’s ID/passport
  • Evidence of means of subsistence
  • Proof of home / flat ownership or rental contract
  • Flight itinerary for US visa application – including a return ticket.
  • Affidavit of Support – which is a USCIS Form I-134, available on the USCIS website. This should be submitted only in case the host plans to financially support the guest.

Reasons a U.S B-2 Tourist Visa could be denied

How to Invite Someone from Africa to USA 2

Most people could be denied a B-2 Tourist Visa due to one reason or the other. The U.S.A immigration has its own reservations on Africans who wish to travel to the states. As such, you need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt to be considered.

Conversely, there are reasons why you may not pass the interview and eventually be denied a visa. You may be denied a visa;

1. Based on Nonimmigrant intent

As noted at the beginning of this article, the guest must prove that you have a place of residence in your home to which you will return to after your temporary visit to the U.S.A., Intend to visit the U.S for a short stay, your visit to the U.S is to engage in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure and you have enough money for your stay duration.

Not fulfilling the above four basic requirements will deny you a B-2 Tourist Visa. Also, not answering interview questions correctly or appearing to be overly nervous could cost you a visa. And worst off, if you plan to overstay or say you plan to find work.

2. Based on fraud

You may also be denied a visiting visa if you lie about inquiries or try to present false documents. Lying is a visa fraud that will cost you a visa for a while.

3. Based on criminal record

If you have a criminal record, or history of espionage, or any links, especially, with terrorist groups, or crimes that make you inadmissible to the US, there is a strong chance your request for a U.S. visa of any sort, will be denied.

4. Visa denials based on past immigration violations

Similarly, you may be denied a visa if you have overstayed your past visa application or violated the conditions specified like working with a tourist. You will have difficulty convincing the consular officer not to violate this visa too.

In fact, if your unlawful presence in the U.S. added up to 180 days or more, you face an automatic bar to entry of three years. That number goes up to ten years if your period of unauthorized stay was one year or more.

5. Based on the sponsor letter

As established, you don’t need an invitation letter to get a U.S visa. Thus you shouldn’t go to the consul expecting to be given a visa by showing your sponsor letter to them.

6. Your intent to stay with relatives or friends

The intention of a tourist or business person visiting the US on a B-1 or B-2 visa will require proof of financial strength, including funding your own accommodation. If the consular officer estimates that you intend to stay with relatives or friends, your visa will be denied.

7. Get married and stay forever

It is fraudulent to get married in the USA while on a B-1 or B-2 visa. When this intention is known by the consular officer, you will be denied a visa.

Cases of inviting a fiancé(e) to the US to get married?

In cases where the intention behind an invitation letter is to invite a fiancé to the U.S for marriage purposes, it’s best to apply for the appropriate visa and not a B-2 Tourist Visa. Again, an invitation letter is not a requirement for visa approval from Africa to the USA.

Using a tourist visa to get married in the USA is fraudulent under US immigration law. The guest does not have the right to change his/her mind to remain in the US after arriving to illegally get married.

For marriage purposes, you need to apply legally for a K-1 Fiancé Visa, where USCIS will schedule an interview in the embassy of the guest’s country.

Firstly, you must have established an ongoing relationship. You can prove this by showing all your phone call bills, all your emails & chats. You must have met your fiancée in person too, which pictures of you two must be seen together or proof of spending valuable time together.

If he/she passes the interview, he would be granted a visa to travel to the states. Upon arrival, the couple must get married within 90 days, after which more documentation will follow to adjust his/her current status.

You’ll have to apply for a green card permanent residency form 1-485 and also file for an employment authorization document, form 1.765 to start working.

Once you file all documents with USCIS, they will call you for a joint interview. If you pass, your guest will get a conditional green card good for 2 years. You will have to file (form I-751) to remove those conditions and he will be given a new card good for 10 years.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do you need an invitation letter to visit the USA?

Yes, and No. An invitation letter serves as proof that your host is sponsoring your trip, however, it’s not required and cannot guarantee visa issuance. In fact, there are no required documents for tourist/business visa application

Can a green card holder invite an African to the USA?

Yes, they can. They have to file an immigration petition with the USCIS under the preference category 2A. This category is for spouses of green card holders. But you can also apply through the B-1 Business Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa form if you plan for a temporary stay.

What is an invitation letter for?

A letter of invitation, as its name implies, is a letter requesting an individual’s presence for business or tourism purposes. This letter is sent ahead of time so that the recipient can prepare, although it’s not a requirement when applying for a visa.
It has two purposes, the first is to request the presence of an individual as mentioned above; the second is to confirm that the individual will be attending a business or tour in the US.

Can my fiancée visit me in the USA on a tourist visa?

Yes, she can. The same rules for spouses of U.S. citizens also apply to engaged partners with a pending K-1 Visa. However, be sure not to overstay and it will affect your K-1 visa.

Can I extend my B-2 Tourist Visa?

If you want to extend your stay in the United States, you must file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by filing Form I-539 to extend or change your status. It’s recommended that you apply to extend your status at least 45 days before your authorized stay expires, and legitimately prove why your visa extension should be granted.

Conclusion

Inviting someone from Africa to the U.S.A requires the same process, although you can request more clarification from the U.S Embassy in your country.

An invitation letter is not a requirement and is not a guarantee for tourist or business visa approval.

The applicant must prove to the consular officer that you have a place of residence in your home to which you will return to after your temporary visit to the U.S.A., that you intend to visit the U.S for a short stay, that your visit to the U.S is to engage in legitimate activities relating to business or pleasure and that you have enough money for your stay duration.

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Ben Brown, a seasoned wordsmith and cultural aficionado, is your go-to for all things eye-opening. A black man on a mission, he's been serving up well-researched insights with a dash of wit, stirring curiosity and sparking dialogue. When he's not writing, Ben's exploring the world or creating culinary masterpieces. He may not claim to be an expert, but his pen begs to differ. Stay tuned for a refreshing take on the black experience, one article at a time.

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