Invite Parents, Friends, and Other Nondependent Relatives to the U.S.

What kind of visa should my relatives obtain?

Parents and siblings of persons in F-1 or J-1 status are not eligible for F-2 or J-2 status. Forms I-20 and DS-2019 are not issued to invite parents, parents-in-law, or siblings. If you wish, you may send your relatives a copy of your Form I-20 or Form DS-2019, but they should not submit it to the consular officer unless asked for it. Do not send your original I-20 or DS-2019 to your parents, other non-dependent relatives, or friends.

Visitor Visa (B-2)

Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). The length of a visitor’s initial permission to stay in B-2 status is determined by the officer at the U.S. port of entry. The maximum initial period is six months. For detailed information about visitor visas and how to apply, please visit Department of State.

You may write an invitation letter in English to your relative or friend, stating (1) whom you are inviting, (2) the purpose of the visit (for example, vacation, attend graduation, meet a new baby), (3) the dates (even approximate dates) of the visit, and (4) any financial support you are offering (for example, cost of travel, room and board).

Note that International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) does not issue invitation letters for parents, friends, or other non-dependent relatives to the US.

Visa Waiver Program (VWP) 

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa, when they meet all requirements explained below. Travelers must have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel. If you prefer to have a visa in your passport, you may still apply for a visitor (B) visa. For detailed information, please visit Visa Waiver Program.

Health Insurance Reminder

Be sure your visitors have health insurance that will cover them while in the United States. Most guests will require “major medical coverage,” which is health insurance that goes into effect if they are unexpectedly hospitalized as the result of an accident or an illness. Without coverage, your guests could experience financial devastation if hospitalization becomes necessary.