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Inviting 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 documents (such as parents, siblings, cousins, etc.). As a student, you can provide supporting documents for the B-2 visa application. Those documents are listed below. 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 out the comprehensive list of documentation that is required to apply.


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:

  • Names and relationship to you of the visitor(s)
  • 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
  • Acknowledge the requirement for your relatives 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 verifying your student status at SBU

  • Graduate Students must include a letter of good standing from their academic department
  • Undergraduates will 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 .

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.



  • 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. Include photocopies of your SEVIS Form I-20 / DS-2019 containing at least one recent travel signature.
  • 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.



Visitors in B-2 tourist status generally cannot change nonimmigrant status in the United States.  B-2 tourists may not 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.