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
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, including those listed below. 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.
- 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. You may request the verification of enrollment or graduation from Enrollment Services in person or email the request to email@example.com (Metro campus) or firstname.lastname@example.org (Florham campus). All email requests must come from an FDU email account.
- 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 verification letter from the Office of Enrollment Services.
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