An invitation from the university / a letter of admission is an official document confirming the admission of an applicant to a higher educational institution. It is compiled in the form of a letter and contains basic information about the organization, the applicant, as well as the faculty to which the student is admitted and the estimated duration of study.

Examples of invitations from foreign universities

Why do I need an invitation from the university?

An invitation from the university not only informs the applicant about the positive decision of the university admissions committee, but is a necessary document when applying for a student visa. As a rule, consulates accept both originals and scanned or printed copies (the requirements for letters should be checked by contacting the representatives of the consulate). Letter of admission is submitted along with the general package of documents when applying for a student visa. It is noteworthy that the letter of admission is received not only by future university students, but even by those who plan to study under university exchange programs, in summer schools, at preparatory or language courses abroad.

Types of invitations

In order to save time, many universities prefer to send letters of admission to the candidate’s email address. A number of educational institutions remain faithful to traditions and exclusively send physical copies by mail. An applicant can pre-order delivery of a letter by express mail, so the "valuable cargo" will come much faster compared to the common postal service (sometimes it takes 4 weeks or more to deliver a letter).

In order to streamline the process, some universities send both physical and digital copies of the letter. Thus, the applicant can print the invitation and submit it to the consulate or visa center to apply for a student visa. As a rule, the document does not need to be notarized but it is worth confirming this with the consulate staff.

An invitation itself is not always a guarantee of automatic enrollment. Do not confuse a letter of admission with a conditional offer letter. Some universities send such letters to applicants if the applicant has submitted an incomplete package of documents where, for example, there are no international test results, but in general the candidate meets the academic requirements of the university. After fulfilling all the requirements of the university, the applicant receives an unconditional offer letter. This approach to admission is practiced by universities in the USA, Great Britain, Austria and several other European countries.

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How to get a letter of admission from the university?

To receive a letter of admission from the university (in other words to enter the university), the applicant must collect a complete package of documents and send it to the selected university for consideration by the admission committee. However, it does not guarantee that you get an admission letter — you will have to wait for the final decision by the admissions committee.

The time it takes to receive a letter of admission from the university depends on the speed with which the university’s admission committee processes the applications. Prestigious universities have higher competition for admission, and, accordingly, it takes longer to process all of the applications. Sometimes the answer comes only 12-15 weeks after the application is sent. If the invitation from the educational institution did not come after 2 months, the applicant should write an email to the selection committee to check the status of the application.

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Verification of the authenticity of the letter of admission

In order to avoid a visa denial, the applicant should submit an original of the letter of admission to the consulate or a visa center, which must be made on the university letterhead with the seal and signature of the responsible admission officer. In addition, the letter should contain basic information about the organization and the applicant, including contact information. The applicant should check the invitation for errors and typos, since the consulate may refuse to accept the document (for example, due to the lack of a seal), in which case the applicant will have to request a letter from the university again.

What does the letter of admission contain?

University information
  • name
  • physical address
  • phone/fax number
  • email address
Information about the applicant
  • surname and name
  • date of birth (optional)
Information about the specializationfaculty or institute
Time framestudy period
Official details
  • dates
  • emblem or university logo
  • university seal
  • signature of the admission officer

Cost of the letter of admission

An applicant will have to pay for the delivery of a printed copy of the letter from the university if the document is sent by a private international carrier. This service will cost about 80-100 USD, depending on the location of the delivery. Important note: an applicant pays only for the delivery service, but does not have to pay for the issuing of the letter itself — as a rule, this service is free, but it is still better to confirm this with the representatives of the selected university.

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