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Inviting Friends & Relatives to the United States
Many students would like to invite friends or family for a short visit to the United States. The B-2 tourist visa is a good choice for visits of less than six months duration, or for family members who do not qualify for F-2 or J-2 dependent status.
This is not a comprehensive list of all documents required for the B-2 visa. Please contact the Embassy or Consulate where your family or friends will be applying for their B-2 visa to find the comprehensive list of documentation that is required to apply.
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.Domestic Students
If you are graduating and have international family members who would like to attend your commencement, Visa and Immigration Services can provide you with a support letter which can be used to obtain a B-2 visa.
Please complete this form as many times as needed (one for each person you would like to invite). You will receive an email from our office containing the invitation letter(s) when verification is received that you have applied for graduation.
- The Application Process
Required DocumentsProvide a letter of invitation
You must write a letter of invitation to support your family/friend's B-2 visa application.
The letter should be written in English and contain the following information:
Proof of enrollment
- Names of the visitor(s) and their relationship to you
- Estimated length of stay in the United States (usually six months or less)
- The housing arrangements made
- The reason for the visit and your willingness to host them during their visit
- Acknowledgement of the requirement for your visitor(s) to return home at the end of the visit
- Note that you are a student at Stony Brook University
The proof of enrollment and/or good standing letter verifies your student status at SBU.
- Graduate Students must include a letter of good standing from their academic department
- Undergraduates should include an Enrollment Verification Form which can be obtained/printed from SOLAR. Click here for instructions.
- Graduating 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.
The Application ProcessStep 1: Send your documents to your visitor(s)
Send your letter(s) of invitation and supplemental documents to your visitor(s) to bring with them to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy to apply for a B-2 Visa. Include photocopies of your Form I-20 containing at least one recent travel signature.Step 2: Prepare your visitor(s) for any potential questions
If the consular officer questions financial ability or intent to return, your visitor(s) should be prepared to show documentation as proof of their own financial status and ties to their home country.
- B-2 Denials
What if My Visitor's B-2 Visa is Denied?
If the visa is denied, your visitor 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 visitor(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 visitor.
- Additional Information
- Visitors in B-2 tourist status generally cannot change nonimmigrant status in the United States.
- B-2 tourists cannot enroll in classes at Stony Brook University. Those who wish to pursue an activity other than tourism should secure the appropriate visa to enter the U.S before they arrive.
- In some instances, an extension of stay may be granted by United States Citizenship
and Immigration Services. Applications for extension of stay are made using Form I-539.
Click here for Forms I-539 and I-134.
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.