Information for Inviting Dependents, Relatives or Friends to the U.S. for Short-term Visits
If you are inviting others to visit you on a temporary basis, they should plan to enter the US using a visitor visa (B-2) or the visa waiver program if they are a citizen or a national from a country for which it is an option.
The applicants for the visitor visa will need the following:
- Their passport, valid for more than six months beyond the intended stay in the United States.
- The visa application and associated fees and/or the payment receipt (visitor visa B-2 webpage).
- Photo – uploaded during the application process or a printed photo.
- Evidence of sufficient financial resources to cover the cost of the trip.
- Evidence of employment in, family ties to, or intent to return to the home country after the visit.
- Supporting Documentation from the Shepherd student or exchange visitor
Below is a list of supporting documentation which may be provided by the Shepherd University student, scholar or employee to assist friend(s) or relative(s) with obtaining visitor visa:
- A letter in English written by the Shepherd student, visiting scholar to the friend(s) and/or relative(s) being invited into the U.S. This letter should state:
- The purpose of the visit (i.e. graduation, vacation, birth of baby, etc.);
- The intended duration of the visit;
- Your intention to provide your visitor with lodging, food, etc., if appropriate; and
- Proof of financial support for the visit, if you will support them during their stay.
- A copy of the student’s or visiting scholar’s immigration documents:
- Current passport
- Most recent visa stamp
- I-94 record (download from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website)
- Form I-20, Form DS-2019, I-797 Approval Notice, etc.
- A copy of the student’s official transcripts from the Registrar’s Office documenting full-time studies and progression to the degree
Letter of Invitation from the International Student Affairs Office
A letter of invitation from the International Student Affairs Office is not required for your friend(s) and/or relative(s) to seek the visitor visa or entry on the visa waiver program. The government has indicated that they want the invitation letters to be written by the individual inviting the visitor to the US and not by an office on campus. Therefore, Shepherd University does not provide such letters.
Visitor Status and Extension of Stay
The initial entry I-94 record (download from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website) governs how long a visitor may stay in the United States. People entering the U.S. on a B-2 visa are routinely granted B-2 status at the port-of-entry with a six-month period of stay. However, this time can vary from 30 days to six months. Check the I-94 record for confirmation.
An extension of B-2 visitor visa status may be requested on Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Applications may be submitted by mail to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or online using the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS). The extension request must be submitted & received by USCIS prior to the expiration date on the I-94 record. The International Student Affairs Office suggests applying at least 2-3 months prior to the expiration date on the I-94 card. It may take 3-6 months to receive the extension approval or denial back from USCIS.
More information about travel to the United States may be found at travel.state.gov.