Invitation Letters for International Visitors
Effective July 1, 2023, Visa and Immigration Services will no longer issue invitation letters for international visitors to visit the United States, including in order to attend the Commencement ceremony.
According to the U.S. Department of State’s Visitor Visa, “Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa. If you do choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support (I-134) to your interview, please remember that it is not one of the factors that we use in determining whether to issue or deny a nonimmigrant tourist visa.”
This page will guide you in writing an invitation letter if you choose to write one yourself.
Your Letter Should Include
- Your full name and immigration status at SBU (ie F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc)
- Visitor’s full name, date of birth, and relationship to you
- Purpose of the visit
- Where visitors will be staying during their visit
- Itinerary details and the length of time they will be visiting if known
- In the letter, you may want to include a copy of your most recent I-20, passport ID page, F-1 student visa or EAD card (if available).
- If there are multiple visitors, you can write a separate letter for each visitor or include multiple visitors in one letter.
- Letters do not need to be original. You can scan & email it or fax it to your family.
- You may consider including your Enrollment Verification.
- For additional information about U.S. consulate/embassy locations and application procedures, review the U.S. Department of State Visa information.
If your visitors are attending your graduation, they should show proof of this. For example: A copy of your I-20, your full-time enrollment verification and/or a letter from your academic advisor confirming that you are completing your degree this spring/fall, copies of commencement ceremony tickets or invitations, etc.
In addition, the SBU Conferences & Special Events' webpage provides information on upcoming convocation ceremonies. Your family/friends may present a print-out from this website to prove that there are graduation ceremonies being held during the time that they will be visiting SBU. If they are coming for a conference or special event, they should bring proof of this instead (or as well).