How to Sponsor Someone for a US Tourist Visa

Thinking about sponsoring your relative or friend to visit the US? Great. And, you don’t even need to be a Green Card holder to do so. Even workers on a temporary H1-B, L or E visa can sponsor and invite loved ones to visit the US

So, if you are sponsoring such a US trip, there are some documents that you need to provide the visitor. This will help them apply for their tourist visa and increase the chances of visa approval. Here are the most important documents required.

Formal Invitation Letter

You need to write a letter to the applicant that clearly expresses your wish to sponsor them. Also, explicitly mention the expenses that you are going to cover, such as travel, food and accommodation. In case you plan on visiting some tourist spots together, mention complete details about them as well. But before you start writing the letter, refer to a sample tourist visa invitation letter to get a better idea of the format.

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Letter to the US Consulate

In addition to the invitation letter, you need to write another letter addressed to the US consulate. It should request the concerned authorities to grant the tourist visa to the sponsored applicant. 

Accurately Filled Form I-534

Also known as the Affidavit of Support form, you can download the I-534 form from the USCIS website.

Proof of Financial Stability

Since you will the sole provider for the applicant during their stay in the US, the USCIS will want to know if you are capable of such financial support. The reason is that they don’t want the applicant to become a liability for the US government.

The documents you need to provide the applicant as proof of your sponsorship eligibility include:

  • Bank verification letter, which confirms that you have an account with them
  • Bank statements for the last six months
  • Copies of your salary slips of the last two months
  • Recent W2 forms
  • In case you own a business, you will need to provide a copy of the personal tax returns.

Residency Information

The USCIS does a thorough background check of the sponsor before approving a tourist visa. And, apart from the financial details, they also need proof of your residency status. To satisfy this need, you will have to provide the following documents:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Employment verification letter, if you are working in a US-based company
  • Copies of I-94, I-797, L1 and H1 visa (if applicable)
  • Permanent residents need to give a copy of the front and back of their Green Card, along with their certificate of citizenship.

Some Useful Tips

Send all the documents to the applicant well before they are required. This will help them to attach it with their visa application and also carry them to the interview.

Also, reassure your friend or relative that they don’t need to stress over any specific amount that needs to be present in your bank account. Any amount of money is sufficient, as long as it can easily cover the total expenses of the trip, along with emergency costs.

Ask the applicant to clearly explain the relationship you hold with them during the visa interview. Although sponsorship won’t necessarily guarantee that the person will get the visa, but it will increase their chances of approval.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.