If a friend or family member wants to visit you in the U.S. to attend your graduation ceremony, sightsee, or just spend time with you, you will need to write your friend/family member an invitation letter and gather accompanying documents to send to that person so that she or he can apply for a visa.
Here is a step-by-step guide:
- Write a letter of invitation. Include the purpose of the visit, your relationship to the individuals, a statement of your status here, itinerary details and the length of time they will be visiting (usually less than three months). It is best to emphasize the temporary nature of the invitation and to demonstrate their intention to return to their home country following the visit. If you will provide their financial support while they are here, include that information as well. (See SAMPLE LETTER BELOW)
- Wherever you see information in bold like this, you must remove the words in bold and input your own information.
- Once you have completed the letter, print it out on plain white paper; Stevens letterhead is not needed and will not be provided by ISSS for this purpose.
- Sign the letter in blue ink where you see “[Your Signature].”
- Send the letter to your friend/family member as a scan or original (preferred) by mail.
- Along with the letter, you should provide the following to your friend/family member:
- Everyone: Send copies of your I-20 (first and third pages) and passport ID page (with your picture).
- If you are a current student (even if you are graduating this semester), send a copy of your official transcript. You can request this from the Registrar’s Office.
- If you are graduating, send proof of your graduation– a Letter of Expected Completion. You can request this from the Registrar (graduate students) or the Student Service Center (undergraduate students).
- If you are on OPT, send a copy of your EAD (front and back) and offer letter for your current job.
- TO BE GRANTED A VISITOR VISA, YOUR FAMILY MEMBER MUST SHOW: • That s/he wants to visit the USA for no more than 6 months and • S/he intends to leave the USA at the end of his/her visit and • S/he has enough money to support him/herself and live in the USA without working or needing any help from public funds.
- HOW TO OBTAIN THE APPLICATION FORM: The visitor visa application form is called DS-156-Nonimmigrant Visa. It can be obtained from your nearest U.S. Embassy. Alternatively, it is available to download as a PDF from www.state.gov, click “Travel”, then “Visa”, then select “Forms” DS-156.
- DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR THE APPLICATION: You do not need a letter from any part of the UNVA specifically inviting your parents to come to the USA. As stated below, you do need a confirmation letter from UNVA and an invitation letter from you. To make their application they need to take a completed application form and the following documents to their nearest U.S. Embassy: 1. An application, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-156, completed and signed. The DS-156 must be the March 2006 date, electronic “e-form application.” Select Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-156 to access the electronic version of the DS-156. Important Notice : At certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates abroad, nonimmigrant visa applicants are now required to apply visa using the new DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, instead of the nonimmigrant application forms DS-156, 157, 158, and other related forms. Learn more and find out which Embassies have converted to the DS-160 Online process. 2. A Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-157 provides additional information about your travel plans. Submission of this completed form is required for all male applicants between 16-45 years of age. It is also required for all applicants from state sponsors of terrorism age 16 and over, irrespective of gender, without exception. Four countries are now designated as state sponsors of terrorism, including Cuba, Syria, Sudan, and Iran. Select Special Processing Procedures to learn more. You should know that a consular officer may require any nonimmigrant visa applicant to complete Form, DS-157 .
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application;
- One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in Nonimmigrant Photograph Requirements .
- A short invitation letter from you, confirming your relationship with them and inviting them to come to the USA to attend your graduation. If you intend to support them during their trip, or pay for the cost of the trip, then you should state this in your letter. (A sample letter is provided)
Sample Visa Letter to invite parents to college graduation or commencement – Customizable Templates available here
Sample letter visitor visa graduation
SAMPLE LETTER for Inviting Foreign Guests to Commencement in 2023
Your U.S. Address
City, State, Zip
United States (Consulate or Embassy)
(Find embassy/consulate address, go to http://www.usembassy.gov )
Dear Consular Officer,
(DO NOT MAIL this letter to the embassy/consulate. Ask your guest to bring it with the graduation verification letter to the visa interview.)
My name is (your name) and I am a student in ( F-1, J- 1, etc.) visa status at Rutgers University Newark, pursuing a (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate) degree in (field of study). I am graduating in (May or summer) 20_ _ (or graduated in January 20_ _). Attached please see the letter from my University verifying my graduation.
I would like to invite my family (and/or friends) listed below to attend my Commencement Ceremony and other celebration activities that will be held in May, 20_ _ .
First Name LAST NAME (as in passport), Relationship to you, his/her address
(List same info as above for more guests here).
My guest(s) will stay at (U.S. address) during their visit, (and may visit a few other U.S. cities before returning home.) It would be greatly appreciated if you could grant him (her or them) a visitor visa so that he (she or they) may join me to celebrate my graduation.
If you have any questions, I can be reached by email at (email address) or by phone at (phone number).
Thank you for your time and kind consideration of the visa application.
Your full name
Invite Family Members to Visit the U.S.
During your studies at UW you may want to invite your parents or other family members to visit. Here are some suggestions to help them apply for a visitor’s visa (B-2) at a US consulate or embassy in their home country.
To facilitate their visa interview process you should do the following:
- Write a letter of invitation. Include the purpose of the visit, your relationship to the individuals, a statement of your status here, itinerary details and the length of time they will be visiting (usually less than three months). It is best to emphasize the temporary nature of the invitation and to demonstrate their intention to return to their home country following the visit. If you will provide their financial support while they are here, include that information as well.
- Include an Enrollment Verification to confirm your student status. Graduate students who hold an RA/TA appointment may want to also attach a departmental funding letter.
- If you are graduating and they are traveling to attend your commencement ceremony, provide details of the Commencement Ceremony.
- For additional information about U.S. consulate/embassy locations and application procedures, review the U.S. Department of State visa information.
Providing your family members with this documentation may improve their chances of obtaining a visa; however, there is no guarantee a visa will be issued. The success of their request for a visa lies in their ability to prove that they have no intention of staying permanently in the U.S.
Please note that ISS advisers are unable to write letter of invitation for your family members for graduation ceremony invitation