Letters of Invitation

The OIS receives many requests for letters requesting that their family members and loved ones abroad visit the United States for their special life event, such as graduation. However, our office does not write these letters. We have repeatedly heard from U.S. consular officials that they neither require nor request invitation letters when an individual is attending a graduation of a family member. In addition, the University is not inviting your family member to attend, but rather you are. At each consular interview, the official is making a determination as to whether or not the activity falls within the visa category and also examines whether the individual can overcome the assumption of immigrant intent. Therefore, we have provided the following tips for you below:

Tips for Family Members and Friends Who Visit You in the United States

What the student/scholar should prepare for the family member(s) or friend(s):

  • Create an invitation letter from you highlighting the reason for the visit. If you do create your own invitation letter, you might want to state what expenses you would be covering for, such as room and board, purchase of airline tickets, etc.).
  • Be sure to make copies of your immigration documents and provide these copies along with your invitation to your family and friends that will be attending your event.
    • I-20/DS-2019
    • Visa
    • Most recent I-94
    • Passport

What family member(s) or friend(s) should prepare for the B-2 visa appointment:

  • Take time to review in detail the U.S. Consulate website in the country where the family member or friend will be applying for the B-2 visa. They will need to be sure that they are preparing the required forms and documents, including paying the fees associated with the visa. In addition, they will need to bring two photos with to their appointment.  Details about the photos can be found on the U.S. Consulate’s website.
  • Each member invited should ensure that their passport has a validity date of at least six months beyond their intended period of stay in the United States prior to their visa appointment.
  • The information and documentation that the student/scholar provided to the family member and/or friend should be taken to the visa appointment, as they may need to present this material during the interview.
  • During the interview, they should be prepared to explain the reason and purpose of their trip.
    • Duration of trip
    • Where they plan to visit while in the United States
    • How they plan to support themselves (be prepared to provide financial support documents)
  • They should be prepared to explain their non-immigrant intent.
    • Family ties to their home country
    • Proof of employment in their home country
    • Proof of residence in their home country

Additional recommendations:

  • Accidents do happen and the OIS does recommend that the family member(s) and/or friend(s) of our students/scholars purchase travel insurance while they are in the United States.
  • Family member(s) and/or friends(s) should check the entry stamp in their passport and their I-94 to ensure the accuracy of their non-immigrant status.