It's a busy conference season, and you've been asked to present at one of the upcoming events. After some quick research, you find out that the event requires a visa letter from you. But what exactly is this letter? And how do you go about requesting one?
If you're traveling to a foreign country for your conference, there's a good chance you'll need a visa. But where do you start if it's not included in the registration, or if the conference organizer doesn't provide this service?
In this guide, we'll walk through how to get started on requesting your own letter of support from your destination country and the steps you need to take before applying for your visa. We'll cover everything you need to know about requesting a visa letter for a conference: what they are and why they're important; whether it will affect your travel plans if your visa application is delayed; and how to ask for one in an email or phone call without sounding like an idiot!
What is a visa letter?
A visa letter, or travel letter, is a document written by an individual or organization that explains why you need to travel to the destination country. The preparation for this document can take time and research, but it will make your experience at the conference much smoother.
The letter should include information about:
- Your name and contact information (phone number and email address)
- The purpose of your trip (conference)
- A detailed itinerary of where you are staying during the conference (hotel name/address)
It's also helpful to include copies of any documents related to your trip – such as flight itineraries or hotel reservations.
If you need a visa letter, your conference may be able to help
Some conferences will provide free or discounted visa letters if you register for the event. Other conferences charge a fee which can range from $50-$200 depending on their policies and country requirements. If your conference offers this service, make sure you're aware of any fees before registering.
Most conferences offer an option to request a visa letter when you register
If you have questions about the visa letter or need help to complete it, most conferences will have an option for you to request a visa letter when you register for the event. If you are not sure if your country's embassy requires this, ask the conference organizer; they should be able to provide information on whether or not they offer this service. Also make sure to ask if there is any additional information that may be needed before applying for your visa.
If you are unsure if you will require a visa at all (e.g., because of an upcoming trip), check with your local consulate in order to verify whether or not they accept electronic submissions of these letters and what format they require them in (some countries only accept PDFs). You can also contact the conference organizer directly through email and ask if they provide this service before registering for their event.
Some conferences will charge for this service, but others won't
Requesting a visa letter can be a bit of a headache, but it doesn't have to be. Some conferences will charge for the service, while others won't. Suppose your conference does charge for this service. In that case, it's likely because they have a dedicated person on staff to help with this—which means that attendees are guaranteed quick responses and personalized letters from someone who knows what they're doing. In contrast, if the conference does not charge for this service (or offers free assistance), it's likely because they don't have anyone on staff who specializes in visa letters—and so attendees may end up waiting days or weeks before receiving their letters.
Alternatively, contact the conference organizer and ask if they provide this service
If you've done a lot of research on the conference and you want to be sure that it's legitimate, contact the conference organizer directly through email. You can ask if they provide this service and how much it costs (if any). If they do provide the service and charge for it, make sure you're clear about what you're paying for and why. If they don't have time or resources to help with letters, then ask them if there are any other organizations nearby that may be able to assist with this process.
If the conference doesn't offer visa letter, see if a local organization can get you one instead
A visa letter is a document that states that you are allowed to travel to the country in which a conference is taking place. Many conferences will require one, but if yours doesn't, or if it does and you aren't able to get one from them directly—or find another way for someone else in your group to obtain one—you may have trouble getting into other countries on time.
If there's no local organization that can help you get a visa letter, try contacting people who work at other nonprofit organizations within your community. They may know of organizations in other countries that would be willing to issue them (though they will likely charge money).
State how long you plan on staying in the destination country
The next step is to figure out how long you will be staying in the destination country. The number of days that you're allowed to stay varies from country to country and depends on what type of visa you have. For example, if you apply for a tourist visa, then your trip should be less than 30 days. If you apply for a business visa or an extended stay, then it may be longer than 30 days but less than 90 days.
Suppose your request is approved and sent back to us by our immigration consultant. In that case, we will send it on to the embassy and they will decide whether the information provided by us is correct and sufficient enough for them not only issue but also approve your visa letter!
You should also double-check that the event date(s) to reduce delays in processing your visa
We recommend double-checking that the event date(s) listed on the title page and throughout the letter match with your actual anticipated travel to reduce confusion and delays in processing your visa application.
The following information should be included when creating your letter:
- The name of a person who will be attending (i.e., not you)
- Their title or position at their organization, if applicable (i'm an editor at OZY Media, so I used that as my "title"). If they don't have one, just leave it blank!
- Your contact information—phone number and email address—so that they can reach out with any questions about their visa application later on.
- What is the purpose of your visit? (i.e., to speak at an event)
- How many people will be attending?
- When is the event taking place?
- Where is it being held and what is your role in it?
Visa letters do not guarantee you'll be approved for a visa, but they help!
A visa letter is not a guarantee that you'll be approved for a visa. However, it can help your application, so it's important to have one before you apply. The purpose of the letter is to demonstrate that the conference organizer is inviting you to attend their event and that they support your travel plans. It also provides details about why you should be allowed into the destination country for this conference, as well as describe how long you plan on staying in the country and when your stay will end.
The letter needs to be from either: The event organizer who will host your talk at their conference (if applicable), or A member of their staff who has signing authority over expenses incurred by attendees at their event.
The first thing to remember is that you're not asking for a visa, you're asking for a letter of invitation. This document is a key requirement of the visa application process and can be used to confirm your eligibility for entry into another country. As such, it needs to be written in a way that clearly conveys what type of event or meeting you will be attending and why the organizers invited you.