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Some people who want to visit the UK are unable to do so unless a 3rd party steps in and offers to provide sponsorship. We see a lot of this type of thing on this site; nearly all the refusals have to do with either funds parking or sponsorship inadequacies. But indeed, a person can use a sponsor...

This is specifically provided for in V 4.3 of the rules, which says...

V 4.3 A visitor’s travel, maintenance and accommodation may be provided by a third party where the decision maker is satisfied that they:

(a) have a genuine professional or personal relationship with the visitor; and

(b) are not, or will not be, in breach of UK immigration laws at the time of decision or the visitor’s entry to the UK; and

(c) can and will provide support to the visitor for the intended duration of their stay.

While the rules are clearly expressed and seem easy to meet, experience tells us that Entry Clearance Officers are sometimes reluctant to extend full credibility to the sponsor. Applications can be refused when this happens, even though the applicant is not at fault.

This puts an onus on the sponsor to be diligent and it follows that the sponsor would include a well-drafted, articulate, and comprehensive letter to the decision-maker that explains the nature and scope of their commitment.

While this occurs to many would-be sponsors, their letters can be incomplete or ineffective (or sadly pathetic) because they do not understand what the Entry Clearance Officer wants to see in such a letter. Without knowing what should be in the letter, it's a waste of time.

Question: What is a good template to use in preparing a sponsor's letter so that all the various points are covered? In fact, what are the critical points that must be covered to maximize the chances of success?

Secondary question: what, if any, points should be avoided in a sponsor's letter? In other words are there any pitfalls that might undermine the sponsor's credibility?

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+100

I am no expert on this matter, but my application was successful, so I will share what I asked my sponsor to include in his invitation letter in the hopes that others will find similar success. I will update as/when I find out more info via research too.

Here are the things that were included in my invitation letter:

  • My name, DoB, Passport number
  • Explicitly worded 'I confirm that I am inviting ____'
  • Date of arrival
  • Explicit purpose of visit (to be a groomsman at his wedding, in my case)
  • Explicitly state that he is a British Citizen (or in your case if they are not, then mention that they have leave to remain in the UK)
  • Where he is employed, and as what
  • In my case he was also accommodating me for the duration, so I asked him to mention that too
  • A simple itinerary of the activities I plan for with him
  • Last but not least his contact details (phone, email and residential address)

This is all I included and my application was successful. However I may have been lucky and/or had a strong application apart from the letter, which may have helped, and therefore I will be doing some research online and updating my answer with any additional information that others have used in their Sponsorship letters.

Here are a few other things that might be good to include:

  • Proof of earnings of sponsor (I feel this is more important if your sponsor is not a citizen)
  • Proof of home ownership (I feel this is more important if your sponsor is not a citizen and is accommodating you) note: if your sponsor is renting, and they intend to accommodate you, it would be advisable to get a letter from the landlord, or highlight part of your contract that says you are allowed to have a guest stay with you for an extended period. (credit to phoog)
  • Do not have your sponsor make promises in the letter that they obviously can not guarantee (for example guaranteeing that you will leave the country on time, which obviously they can not do, and would look suspicious) (credit to mkennedy)
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    One point: if the home is rented, it is apparently necessary to demonstrate that the landlord has given permission for the tenant to accommodate the applicant. – phoog May 30 '16 at 14:44
  • Yes absolutely, forgot that, however if your sponsor is renting I would probably get a hotel, just to be on the safe side... – Joel Damien May 30 '16 at 14:58
  • This is a nice answer, but I got a little confused by the pronouns when reading it: the pronouns "I" and "he" and "they" seem to sometimes refer to the sponsor and sometimes to the person being invited. Can you reread and clarify these? – Nate Eldredge May 30 '16 at 15:52
  • @NateEldredge As far as I know, there was only 1 such error and I've already edited it out. I've gone through the bullet points again, and they seem fine to me, however do point out any glaring errors I may have missed. All 'I's refer to me, unless in quotes, all 'he's and 'they's refer to my sponsor. – Joel Damien May 30 '16 at 16:01
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    Based on comments/answers to earlier questions by several people, do NOT include statements about guaranteeing that you (the sponsor) will make the applicant follow immigration rules AKA leave on time. – mkennedy May 30 '16 at 19:27

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