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Invite Friends or Family (B-2)

While you are at Cornell, you may want your friends or family members (other than spouse and children) to visit you for a longer stay of up to six months. 

Inviting a Friend or Family Member to the U.S.

You need to send the person you are inviting the following information ...

Invitation Letter

Write a letter of invitation in English stating that you would like to invite the person for a visit. Your letter should include:

  • The purpose of the visit—for instance, to attend your graduation or celebrate the birth of your child
  • Who will provide financial support for your visiting friend or family member (B visitors are not allowed to receive compensation or work for pay during their stay.)

Evidence of Your Visa Status

This evidence is usually a copy of your I-20 (F-1), DS-2019 (J-1), or I-797 (H-1B/O-1).

Evidence of Financial Support 

If you will be supporting the person financially, include evidence of your ability to do so—for example, a bank statement, your Cornell paystubs, or your assistantship letter. 

Visa Waiver for Stays of Less Than Three Months

For visits of less than three months, your friend or family member may not need to apply for a B-2 visa! Citizens of certain countries are eligible to enter the United States as tourists (WT Waiver Tourist) without obtaining a visa. The eligibility criteria for admission are identical to those seeking admission based on a B-2 visa. 

Application is made through ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and must occur at least 72 hours in advance.

How to Apply for a B-2 Visitor Visa

Here are the steps your friend or family member will need to follow to apply for a B-2 visa for a stay of up to six months.

  1. Complete DS-160
  2. Schedule
  3. Gather Docs
  4. Go to Interview

1 Complete DS-160 form.

Complete the form and pay an application fee. Be sure to start the application process well in advance of the travel date.

2 Make a visa interview appointment. 

Find a nearby U.S. consulate or embassy, then follow the links on that embassy’s website to learn more about scheduling a visa appointment and relevant requirements. 

3 Gather documents.

Have these documents ready for the visa interview.

  • Valid passport

And the materials you sent:

  • Invitation letter
  • Evidence of your visa status
  • Evidence of your financial support, if any

Additional materials to show “proof of ties” to your visitor's home country:

  • Bank statements of any accounts they maintain in their home country
  • If they are employed, a letter from their employer stating that they will return to their job after their visit to the United States

4 Attend the visa interview. 

Be prepared to discuss the purpose of the visit, financial support, length of the stay, and plans to return home.

Next Up: Bring Spouse or Children (F-2/J-2)