Dear Mentor:

How should we prepare a sponsorship letter?

I am a resident and citizen of India. I want to go America to pursue my further studies. Actually I am a B.E (electronics and telecommunication). I want to join a US university to do MS in electrical engineering. I have taken the entrance exams such as GRE and TOEFL, and I have already applied to US universities for admission. My cousin sister is in the US wants to finance my studies in the US for the whole period of my education. She also wants to send me sponsorship letter for sponsoring my studies in the US, but she doesn't know which type of sponsorship letter or which particular document is needed to sponsor me for the F1 visa. Her husband is doctor and they are regular payers of taxes. They both are ready to finance me for my further study. So I kindly request you to please send me details regarding which document is required for sponsoring me for the F1 visa, and also any other specific documents required. Send me the information as soon as possible. It will help me a lot. Thanking you.

Anxiously Awaiting, India

Dear Anxiously Awaiting:

You letter brings back some fond memories for one of our founders, Dr. Lokesh Datta, whose uncle sponsored him for studies in Electrical Engineering in Canada. He can certainly relate to your anxiety, excitement, and anticipation. His first and foremost advice to you is to stay calm - you are moving along well in the process and there is plenty of time to take care of any unanticipated challenges you may encounter.

We are glad that you are thinking ahead, but your first challenge is to get admitted to a college. Once you are offered admission, then the college officials will help you along the visa process. In any case, since your cousin and her husband will be financing your studies, you need a sponsorship letter from them to demonstrate your financial ability to sustain yourself.

The sponsorship letter is fairly straightforward. It can be addressed to "To whom it may concern:" at the US Embassy in India. It should contain the following information:

  • your cousin's relationship with you
  • your cousin's and her husband's legal status (permanent resident or citizen) in the US
  • the purpose and duration of sponsorship and the extent to which they will finance your stay (ideally for the duration)
  • their Social Security Numbers
  • their approximate annual income
  • a statement that they are taxpayers in the US in good standing
  • their contact information such as postal address and phone number

It is advisable that the sponsorship letter be notarized. US Embassy officials in India may demand more information or a new sponsorship letter with additional or different information. These demands can vary from official to official, and their assessment of your situation and demeanor at the interview with them. You will have the time to respond to their demands.

By the way, Dr. Datta sends his best wishes to you.

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