This post contains a guide to writing your own Invitation Letter for Immigration and a sample Affidavit of Support and Guarantee for visiting relatives abroad. This is for Filipino travelers.

As of 2017, there are over 2.3 million overseas Filipino workers and over 10 million people of Filipino descent living and working abroad. That’s one of the biggest diaspora populations in the world. Ask any of the people in your circle and there’s a big chance that they have a relative or a friend abroad. In my case, I already lost count many years ago.

Hence, it’s no wonder that a great number of Filipinos intend to travel to another country for the sole purpose of visiting someone there. It’s also quite common for Filipinos to travel abroad to work or look for work, sometimes illegally. In order to protect Filipino travelers from human trafficking and other threats abroad, the Bureau of Immigration implement strict measures. Offloading may be an inconvenience to others, but these threats abroad are real. Many Pinoys, especially those with limited capacity to support their trip, fall victim to certain employment scams abroad because they try to skirt around the right process.

The downside, of course, is that some travelers who are really just trying to travel for leisure or visit a friend or relative mistakenly get offloaded too because they can’t prove the purpose of their trip. Thus, when you’re traveling to another country, it is important to have supporting documents including return ticket, proof of accommodations, and proof of employment or financial capacity. We already discussed them here: How to Avoid Offloading.

In this article, however, we’ll focus on just one: the Letter of Invitation.

Who needs a Letter of Invitation?

Strictly speaking, if you’re visiting someone abroad, you need a Letter of Invitation.

The truth is, the Immigration Officer doesn’t always ask for this. I have been in and out of the country dozens of times over the past nine years. Many of them, I declared that I was visiting my sister or a friend. Yet, I have been asked to present this document ONLY ONCE, and it wasn’t even my first trip abroad. It was so random. Haha.

So you see, you’ll never know when you would need this.

I also have friends who have been asked for this. Most of them were flying overseas for the first time in their lives to visit someone.

If you fall under any of the following, there is a higher chance that you will need to present an Invitation Letter:

  • You’re traveling for the first time.
  • You’re unemployed.
  • You can’t prove that you can financially afford the trip.
  • You’re visiting someone who isn’t an immediate family member.
  • You’re sponsored by someone else.
  • You’re inconsistent or too nervous when answering the Immigration Officer’s questions, giving them a reason to doubt your real intention.

Again, it doesn’t mean that if you belong to any of the above, you’ll automatically have to present an Invitation Letter. Sometimes, they still won’t ask for it. BUT, it’s a big BUT, it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.


What is an Invitation Letter?

What is a Letter of Invitation, really? Does the person to be visited just need to write a letter explaining why they’re inviting the visitor, sign it, send it, and that’s it?

Not quite.

Sometimes, that type of letter is accepted. The keyword there is SOMETIMES. Sometimes, a signed letter explaining the reason for the invitation and indicating the inviting party’s contact details is sufficient. But again, NOT ALWAYS.

According to a friend who is an Immigration Officer and the website of the Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore, the safest and most legally accepted “Invitation Letter” is in the form of an Affidavit of Support or Guarantee (AOSG), sometimes called Affidavit of Support with Undertaking. This looks very much like a regular Invitation Letter — all the details are there — but written in a more legal and formal manner. This must also be authenticated by the Embassy.


What is an Affidavit of Support with Undertaking?

The Affidavit of Support with Undertaking is a legal document that states that the inviter who is living abroad will shoulder the trip expenses of the visitor in part or in full, and that the visitor you will be under their responsibility during the stay in that country. It should contain the following information:

  • the visitor’s personal information
  • the inviter’s personal information
  • the inviter’s legal status abroad (citizen, resident, temporary resident, etc.)
  • the inviter’s financial capacity
  • the details of the trip
  • the reason for the invitation

The document must be authenticated at the Philippine Embassy in the inviter’s country. This is where they put a gold seal and red ribbon on the document.

If the affidavit is executed in the Philippines, it must be notarized. In one of my sister’s visits, she created one and had it notarized for a cousin whom she invited. She also made one for me before while she was here, and that’s what I presented that one time it was asked of me. The Officer looked at it, read it, and let me through.

You should also present documents proving that the inviting party can afford to sponsor you. This may be bank certificates or tax documents.

If the inviting party is a corporation or organization, you must also include the sponsor’s corporate registration details.


Sample Affidavit of Support with Undertaking

Below is a sample Affidavit of Support with Undertaking. You’ll also find a link through which you can download a Word (.docx) file, which you can edit. You can replace the highlighted parts with your own details.

Sample Invitation Letter Visiting Abroad

DOWNLOAD THE WORD FILE HERE!

Once you have written an affidavit, you will need to have them authenticated, notarized, or both, depending on the case.

  • If the inviter is a Filipino based abroad, the inviter must appear at the Philippine Embassy personally to have the affidavit authenticated. They may have their own format of the affidavit and a list of other requirements (such as passport, resident card or permit, certificate of employment, bank documents, etc,). Hence, it’s best to give the embassy a call first.
  • If the inviter is not a Filipino citizen, the inviter must first have the document notarized outside of the Philippine embassy before having it authenticated at the embassy. For example, if the inviter is a Japanese citizen, they must have notarized it first at a Japanese notary public then have it authenticated or stamped locally. Only then can the document be submitted to the Philippine Embassy for its own authentication (red ribbon). Each country may have their own additional rules, requirements, processes, and fees.
  • If the affidavit is executed in the Philippines, it must be notarized. In one of my sister’s visits, she created one and had it notarized for a cousin whom she invited. She also made one for me before while she was here, and that’s what I presented that one time it was asked of me. The Officer looked at it, read it, and let me through.

Can anyone sponsor my trip?

According to the GUIDELINES ON DEPARTURE FORMALITIES FOR INTERNATIONAL-BOUND PASSENGERS IN ALL AIRPORTS AND SEAPORTS IN THE COUNTRY, issued by the Bureau of Immigration, the inviter/sponsor and the visitor should be within fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity (up to first cousins by blood or marriage). For the purpose of discussion, let’s call relatives within fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity as “CLOSE RELATIVES”.

Sometimes, the Immigration Officers allow those sponsored by someone who is not a close relative to go through but it’s more the exception than the rule.

Some embassies and consulates authenticate affidavits submitted by someone who is not a close relative, but others don’t. (The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong recently announced they won’t be authenticating letters for those inviting friends or distant relatives.)

And even if they do, it doesn’t mean that it will be accepted by the Immigration Officer. The Embassy’s job is simply to authenticate. The Immigration’s job is to be the gatekeepers. That said, even if the sponsor is not a close relative, it is still better to have this document than nothing.

Note that this article mainly focuses on travelers sponsored by someone based abroad. If you’re sponsored by a FILIPINO TRAVELING WITH YOU, you must still produce an Affidavit of Support with Undertaking containing the following details:

  • Sponsor’s financial capacity
  • Sponsor’s undertaking for your tourist travel with intent to return
  • Sponsor’s complete residential address and contact details
  • Sponsor’s corporate registration papers, if applicable

You should also present documents proving that the inviting party can afford to sponsor you. This may be bank certificates or tax documents.

More often, though, if the sponsor is a Filipino relative and is traveling with the sponsored, the officer does not ask for it. But if you want to make sure, better have it ready.


Does an Affidavit of Support guarantee that I will NOT get offloaded?

NO. It doesn’t guarantee anything. You can have it and still get offloaded.

It all depends on the assessment of the Immigration Officer. It is based on many factors including the details of that letter, your other documents, and your demeanor when answering their questions. However, having the affidavit will help you convince the Officer. It can help but not guarantee.

It’s also safe to have a copy of proof of relationship and proof that the inviter can afford to support you. These may be certificate of employment or bank documents.



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Yoshke Dimen
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Gray

I have a different situation werein a company is the one invited me to come over as a guess for 10 days in Dubai. May i know what will be the requirement or suporting documents needed for me to show to the immigrations officers?
Do you have a letter format from a company visit visa?

Gurpreet Singh

Did I need invitation from macau for find a job there . I am form india.

Yza

Hi! I would be going to Japan. Yung mother ko pa mag so-sponsor ng trip ko and she lives in the Philippines. Kailangan ko pa po ba ng Affidavit of Support? Thank you!

Beverly

Hi!I would like to going in malaysia and my friend was shoulder all the expencies in my trip but he was not the Malaysia resident. So kailangan ok ba ng affidavit of support?thanks

Rays

Hello po. Kailangan pa din na Ng affidavit kung ung friend Siya magbabayad Ng ticket and hotel mo. Malaysian friend po. First time ko po magtravel SA ibang bansa. Nagkita na kmi dito SA pilipanas. Siya Naman nag invite sakin sa Malaysia

Dile A

Hi. May I know your email address so that I can get a feedback immediately?

Danica reyea caranay

March 10 2019 narelease ang affidavit of support ko from dubai magagamit ko paba ult un kung bblik ako sa dubai ng december 2019?

Cyril Ogania

Do I really need to secure for an Affidavit of Support for an 8 days holiday vacation? Or just a simple letter of invitation. Here is my case, I have a boyfriend, a foreign national a permanent resident of NZ, inviting me to spend the X’mas holiday with his family in Fiji. I already bought my round trip ticket. Yes, I am aware that the IO always asked for it, and all of my overseas trip i always book my accommodation in advance. But not this upcoming trip since i will be staying with my boyfriends place. Should i really asked an affidavit of Support? Please enlighten me. Thank you

Maeeee

Hi, so in my case my Australian bf invited me for 1 week holiday in Sydney. My bf wanted to shoulder my accommodation but the rest of the expenses such as food, airfare etc. will be on me. So my question are:

1. Will the immigration officer asks for any pictures together as proof of relationship?
2. I met my bf online and have been together for more than a year but we haven’t meet yet. So we don’t have any pictures together will that become a problem?
3. Is letter of invitation and bank cert enough to prove my friend can accommodate me?

Maeeee

Hi, Is it allowed to use a dummy hotel reservation and then use that when I’m asked to show proof of accommodation but when I get there I can just cancel the reservation and stays in my bf’s place? or is that a bad idea?

sofia

Hi, Is it allowed to use a dummy hotel reservation and then use that when I’m asked to show proof of accommodation but when I get there I can just cancel the reservation and stays in my friend’s place? or is that a bad idea?

Ara

Hello po, magbakasyon po kami with my my foreign husband sa hk, dun kami magmeet, i travelled 3 times but my first time travelling as a housewife po. Do my husband need to get that affidavit support po? Or invitation letter is okay? Thanks. And Needed po ba cfo if tourist to hk? after 9 days were both coming together here in phil. Tnx

Erica

hello po, magbabakasyon po ako sa hk for 5 days bibisitahin ko mama ko doon and siya magsshoulder lahat ng expenses ko. kailangan ko po ba ng affidavit of support? kung oo po, okay lang po ba na isend niya sa akin yung autheticated na affidavit through picture? tia

Jen Takeuchi

Hello po! Please help I’m a bit confused if ako ang invite ng sister ko to visit me in japan but no work po ako .. my husband would be the one to be the guarantor ng affidavit of support.. do you it’s ok?? How do I connect my relationship to my sister??thank you po

Jen tak

Hello! It’s me again! Any updates sa affidavit of support for immigration purposes?? I’m confused on what to do because I’ve heard that the affidavit of support must have a red ribbon by the Philippine Embassy right? The thing is Osaka’s Philippine consulate doesn’t accept any red ribbon services anymore because they said that if the ministry of japan apostille the document then it’s not needed anymore but the Tokyo Philippines embassy still accepts authentication with red ribbon..im so confused which is which! Please help po

Hannah

Good day po. Do we still need to present an affidavit of support if yung sponsor is my father? He’s residing here in the Philippines. Kami dalawa ng brother ko will travel and we’re both unemployed. I’m so sorry for my question, it’s really my first time to travel abroad at ayaw naming ma offload. I hope you can reply. Thanks a lot!

Btw, your blog is really really helpful. Thank you so much.

abellamelissa

Hello po ask ko Lang po paano kung ako ng invite sa friend q ditto sa p ilipinas his indian nationality pwede bang invitation letters Lang or kaylangan din notary

Kathrina Mae Balcita

Hello po I am planning to travel Bangkok thailand first tapos pupuntang UAE. Possible din po ba na maquestion ako about cross country? Sponsored by my friend po yung pagpunta ko ng UAE.
Im employed po under my mother’s business.Ano po yung pwedeng dalhin ko na proof na may work ako.

Joyce Gomez

hi! thanks for sharing the infos!

Just want to ask where we can notarized the affidavit of support here in philippines? My husband is currently here in the philippines for tour and he is planning to invite me in their country. We are planning to process the invitation while he is still here in the country. Thanks!

Ann

Hi, after po manotarize at stamp ung Affidavit of support ng sponsor na nasa ibng bansa, pano po mkukuha ng Traveler ung document?