Guide To Writing An Invitation Letter For Your Schengen Visa
What Is A Schengen Visa Invitation Letter?
An “Invitation Letter” for the Schengen Visa application is an invitation letter written by a person or an institution located in the Schengen Region and addressed to the Embassy/Consulate where you are submitting your documents.
There are various types of Visa invitation letters that depend on the purpose of your trip.
For example, the invitation letter can be written by a friend or relative (e.g., parents, siblings, etc.) who are residing or living in the Schengen Region if you are applying for a tourist Visa, it can be from a company if you travel for business purposes, a hospital if you have health troubles and you need to receive treatment in one of the Schengen Countries, or a university/college if you travel for studies.
Invitation Letter Vs. Sponsor Letter – Is There Any Difference?
You may be finding that various websites state that “the person who is writing the letter is inviting you to stay with them”, “the invitation letter must include your host’s name and address“, etc.
However, please note that the person writing this letter (that can be a friend, relative, the representative of a company or university, or your doctor) is NOT inviting you to stay with them. The inviting person is not the same as a sponsor.
As the name suggests, the invitation letter is a written request for you to travel to Europe and join them.
If you stay at the inviting person’s address, it means that they are offering you free accommodation and, in this case, you must provide an accommodation sponsorship letter instead (this letter states that someone from the Schengen Region is providing you with free accommodation).
Also, the other type of sponsorship can be when they are covering all of the expenses for your trip – meaning that you must submit a sponsorship letter.
Therefore, the invitation letter does not have to be confused with the accommodation sponsorship letter, as it does not provide enough proof of guaranteed accommodation within the Schengen Region.
The invitation letter just shows to the Embassy/Consulate officers that you know someone living in the Schengen Region and you plan to meet and spend time with them during your trip.
In other words, this document is a letter where it states that someone you know invited you to visit the Schengen Region and they are validating, as a character reference, that you do not intend to overstay your Visa and you will return to your country of residence.
The invitation letter from a friend or family member is not a mandatory document but we highly recommend you submit it, especially if you know someone living in the Schengen Region and have plans to spend time with them. This is because the invitation letter can speed up your Visa application process and increase your chances of approval.
Also, consider the following scenario: you have a friend or a relative living in Germany and you choose not to submit an invitation letter from them when you apply for Visa to Germany.
During the interview with the consular officers (after you book your appointment to submit your documents, it is mandatory to hold an interview with them) it is highly likely that they will ask you if you know someone living in the Schengen Region and if you plan on visiting them.
We recommend you answer honestly all the questions they will ask you. So, if you say that you know someone in the Schengen Region and you are visiting them, they will ask themselves why you didn’t submit an invitation letter and they may believe that you have something to hide.
Thus, the invitation letter will make you appear more honest and transparent as far as the purpose of your trip is concerned.
Different Types Of Schengen Visa Invitation Letters
To sum up, there are four types of invitation letter for Schengen Visa you can submit to the Embassy/Consulate according to the purpose of your trip:
● Invitation from a person (friend or relative) who is a citizen/resident of a Schengen Country
If you are planning to visit Europe for tourism purposes and you intend to meet a relative or friend who is a citizen/permanent resident of a Schengen country, the letter is not mandatory.
However, we highly recommend you submit it as it can support your visitor Visa application.
● Invitation from a company or business partner
If you are an employee or self-employed and you travel for business purposes, submitting a business letter of invitation is mandatory.
Make sure the letter includes details about your business relationship with the company located in the Schengen Area.
● Invitation from a hospital
Submitting a letter of invitation is mandatory if you travel for medical purposes, as it will highlight the reason as to why you are applying for a Visa.
Also, the letter must state the length of your treatment and specific details about your health conditions.
● Invitation from a college/university
The letter of invitation must be submitted if you travel for studies (for example, you will be attending a short course in the Schengen Area).
The letter must include specific details concerning the course you will be attending.
For more information about getting a Student Schengen Visa, please check out this blog post.
The Importance Of The Schengen Visa Letter Of Invitation
You may ask yourself why it is so important that visa applications include an invitation letter. Below you will find the answers:
- It brings additional proof that you will not overstay in the Schengen Region
The letter of invitation can bring additional proof that you will not stay in the country illegally because someone who is living in Europe guarantees that you will be heading back to your home country or country of residence (especially if you receive an invitation letter from a reputable company, hospital, or university).
Do not forget that the more proof of your intentions to return back to your country of residence that you provide, the more you add value to your Visa application and therefore, increase your chances of being approved.
- It can determine the type of Schengen Visa you should receive
Sometimes, the letter of invitation can determine the most appropriate type of Schengen Visa you should receive.
For example, if you have a close relative living in the Schengen Region (even if you plan to stay at a hotel and not at your relative’s house) you can receive a free of charge Visa as the family members of a EU or EEA national have the right to get a free of charge Visa.
Or, if you travel to attend a congress, meeting, or other relevant business event and you submit a letter of invitation from a company, you can receive a Business Schengen Visa.
You may think that it actually doesn’t matter if you receive a Business or a Tourist Schengen Visa but this is not true.
Firstly, if you travel for business purposes, you must tell the Embassy/Consulate officers the purpose of your trip (even if you intend to attend a one-day business meeting and then spend a few weeks visiting tourist attractions).
Secondly, a Visa applicant who requests a Business Schengen Visa offers additional proof of their intentions to return from the Schengen Region (because it shows a clear and valid purpose of the trip) – do not forget that the main purpose of the Embassy/Consulate officers is to ensure that you will return to your country of residence.
- It provides the contact details of someone who could help the Schengen authorities track you down
A consular officer must not only ensure that you will not overstay in the Schengen Area but also that you will not commit any criminal offence during your stay. It is their duty to avoid any negative consequences for the governments of the Schengen States.
If you provide the contact details (e.g. home address, email address, and telephone number) of someone who knows you and lives in the Schengen Area, they will believe that it might be easier for the Schengen authorities to track you down in the unfortunate event that you will remain involved in any criminal offence, you are in an emergency, or overstay in the Schengen Region.
How To Get An Invitation Letter For Your Schengen Visa Application?
Once you decide the time frame of your trip, you can contact the person you know living in the Schengen Region and ask for a letter of invitation.
If the person you know who is living in the Schengen Area is a friend or relative, you can simply contact them and ask them to write a letter of invitation.
If you are travelling for business (for example, you have a meeting with a potential investor or with your foreign partners), to study, or for medical purposes, you may need to write an official email and request the invitation letter – if they did not send an invitation letter to you originally.
Here is a sample of how an email request for an invitation letter should look like – no matter if you address it to a company, a hospital, or a college/university:
Sample – Invitation Letter Email request
Dear [Name of The Company/Hospital/University or College]/Dear Dear Sir/Madam, Dear [Name of a specific representative of the Company/Hospital/University or College],
As we agreed previously, I, [Applicant’s Name], would like to travel to [Name of Schengen Country] from [Beginning Date of the Trip] until [End Date of the Trip], for [Purpose of the Trip].
I would highly appreciate it if you could write an “Invitation Letter” addressed to [Embassy Name] located at [Embassy Address], in order for me to use it for my Schengen Visa Application.
Important: In cases where your friend/relative or the company/hospital/college or university is not familiar with the Invitation Letter procedure, you can download one of our templates that is applicable to your situation (as well as the sample) and provide them to the representatives who will complete it.
For further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing A Schengen Visa Invitation Letter
The most common mistakes travellers make when writing an invitation letter for Schengen Visa are the following:
- Incorrect use of tone – The letter should be written in the third person narrative, from the person inviting you, as a third party writing about you. The person writing the letter should also use formal language.
- Using the invitation letter as proof of accommodation – You should submit one of the following documents to show your accommodation details: hotel reservations, accommodation sponsorship letter, or sponsorship letter where it states that you will stay at a specific address.
- Non mentioning the inviting person/institution contact details (e.g. email address and phone number) and the relationship you have with them (e.g. degree of kinship, how long you have not seen each other, etc.)
- If the letter is written by a friend or relative – Not attaching supporting documents (copy of their passport/ID card and a document proving that they live at a specific address in Europe). Potentially, you can include a birth certificate copy to your application to prove the degree of kinship with the relative you plan to visit.
- Your travel dates on the invitation letter do not match the travel dates on your other documents (for example, the travel dates on your employment letters or your flight reservations).
- If a friend or relative invites you – Not mentioning their profession, if they are employed. Someone living in a Schengen Country with a respectable profession who invites you will add more value to your Visa application.
- Your full name, date of birth, place of birth, and passport number in the invitation letter are not written exactly as they appear on your passport.