Inviting Visiting Family and Friends on a B-2 Tourist Visa
Many students wish to invite friends and family for a short visit to the United States. The B-2 visitor visa is a good choice for visits of 6 months or fewer in duration or for family members who do not qualify for an F-2 or J-2 dependent visa (such as parents, siblings, cousins, etc.).
The most important part of the B-2 application at the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is the applicant’s:
demonstration of ties to the home country, such as:
- copies of deeds to property (land, house, apartment) they own in their home country
- bank statements of accounts they maintain at home
- letter from an employer stating they will return to their job after the U.S. visit
- planned return to the home country (i.e. a trip of short duration)
- ability to cover expenses
We have been told by various government agencies that invitation letters provided by international student offices are not considered as part of the application process. As a result, International Student Services will not be providing invitation letters. As a student, you can provide supporting documents for the B-2 visa application, such as*:
- A letter of invitation written by you in English, stating that you would like to invite the person for a visit. The letter should include:
- name and relationship to you of the visitor(s)
- the length of the visit
- who will provide financial support for the visit (if you, provide evidence of support – see below)
- the purpose of the visit, e.g., to attend graduation
- Evidence of your student status such as a copy of your I-20/DS-2019 and/or a verification of enrollment from Enrollment Services from your respective campus.
If the visit is to attend your graduation ceremony, you can also provide your guests with a commencement guide from your Grad Salute packet, which you may obtain from the Bookstore during Grad Salute in April. In addition, you may also request a graduation ceremony letter from the Office of Enrollment Services.
You may request the verification of enrollment or graduation letter from Enrollment Services in person or email the request to firstname.lastname@example.org (Metro campus) email@example.com (Florham campus). (All email requests must come from an FDU email account).
- If you will support the person's visit financially, you should provide evidence of financial support (a bank statement, your sponsor's letter, etc.).
*This is not a comprehensive list of all documents required for the B-2 visa. Comprehensive information can be found on the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the visa application will be made.
Additional information about the B-2 Visa
- Visitors in B-2 status may have a difficult time changing status in the U.S. to a different visa category.
- B-2 visitors are advised NOT to enroll in classes at a U.S. university or college.
- B-2 visitors may apply for an extension of stay with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services by filing an I-539 and demonstrating finances and purpose of the extension. The Form I-539 form, instructions and fees can be found at www.uscis.gov.
- Note: The length of the visa does not equate to the length of stay. When visitors enter the U.S., their documents will be inspected by a U.S. border official. The officer will determine the amount of time the visitor will be permitted to remain in the U.S. and write that date on the I-94 Arrival/Departure record. The maximum period of admission for a regular B-2 visitor is 6 months.
For detailed information about the B-2 nonimmigrant visa, go to: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1262.html
If your friend is a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), check the State Department’s website (Note: a visa waiver visitor may NOT change status from within the U.S. under any circumstances): http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/without/without_1990.html