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Inviting Relatives to the United States

Non-immigrant students in the United States may invite close relatives (other than their spouse or children) to the U.S. on a B-2 visitor's visa by doing the following:

Step 1: Write your relative(s) a letter in your native language, and include a copy in English, stating the following:

  • The period of time for the visit (usually six months or less)
  • The housing arrangements made
  • The reason for the visit and your willingness to host them during their visit
  • Acknowledge the requirement for your relatives to return home at the end of the visit

Step 2: Attach the following supplemental documentation to your letter(s):

  • Graduate students must include a letter of good standing from their academic department, while Undergraduates will include an Enrollment Verification Form which can be obtained/printed from SOLAR - click here for instructions..
  • If employed, include Official Verification of Employment from the Payroll section in the Human Resources office.
  • Photocopies of your SEVIS Form I-20 / DS-2019 containing at least one recent travel signature.
  • If you are currently an F-1 Student on Optional Practical Training (OPT), provide a photocopy of your Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Step 3: The Application Process:

  • Send your letter(s) of invitation and supplemental documents to your relative(s) to bring with them to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for a B-2 Visa.
  • If the consular officer questions financial ability or intent to return, your relative(s) should be prepared to show documentation as proof of their own financial status and ties to their home country.
  • If the visa is denied, your relative should ask politely to be given the reason for the denial in writing.  A second application may be accepted by the consulate if new documentation is produced addressing the reason for the denial.  The most common reason for a visa denial is intent to immigrate (failure to return to your home country). It is very important for your relative(s) to be able to show evidence of close ties to their home country.
  • If the consulate requires that the tourist application be accompanied by an Affidavit of Support, you will need to fill out a Form I-134 on behalf of your relative.

Graduating International Students Only:

  • Graduating students may request a Commencement Letter from Visa and Immigration Services inviting their relative(s) to the United States to attend the graduation ceremony. Once you have applied for graduation, F-1 and J-1 students can submit the Commencement Letter Request in accessVIS.

NOTE:  The commencement letter is not required to request a B-2 visitor visa.  Students may submit requests for Spring/Summer Graduation beginning February 20.  Requests for December/January Graduation should be submitted beginning October 1.

IMPORTANT: The information listed above information in only a general guide for Stony Brook University students. We strongly encourage you to refer to the Department of State's website for official information on obtaining a visitor's visa and other consular services.

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