Inviting friends and family to the U.S. is a two-step process which we've outlined for you:
Family, relatives, and friends that plan to visit you in the U.S. will most likely need to apply for a tourist visa (B1/B2 visa).
There are no specific visa documents, e.g. Form I-20 or DS-2019, with which to apply for a B1/B2 visa. However, there are some guidelines on what a consular official expects of applicants.
Applicants should be prepared to explain the following points and provide related documents:
1. Applying for a visa
For many individuals a B1/B2 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate outside the United States is needed to enter the United States. Guidance on the non-immigrant visa application process is available on the web site of the U.S. Department of State. Please note that Canadian citizens and citizens of Visa Waiver countries do not need to obtain visas for this purpose. Visa Waiver applicants, do however, need pre-clearance authorization called ESTA prior to traveling. They must present evidence of ESTA approval at the port of entry to the United States. Please be sure to print out the approval when applying for ESTA as you may need to present it at the Port of Entry.
2. Entering the United States
When entering the United States, a U.S. government official at the port of entry will annotate the visitor's I-94 card (an electronic record completed prior to entry to the United States which can be accessed at cbp.gov/I94) indicating how long the visitor may remain in the United States. The length of stay that the U.S. government official grants to the visitor is discretionary, normally no longer than 6 months. Extensions may be requested at a later date from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) through a formal process. Requests for extensions must be received at USCIS prior to the expiration date listed on the visitor’s I-94 card. There a serious consequences to anyone overstaying their legal stay in the U.S.
Additional Documents that are NOT REQUIRED, but you may include:
Additional Documents that are NOT REQUIRED but you may include, if you are Graduating:
Since the purpose of a tourist visa does not directly involve UMass Lowell’s visa sponsorship, the invitation letter you need should not come from the ISSO. All you should need to provide your family and friends with are the above mentioned Letter of Invitation written by you, and if you choose, any of the additional documents that are listed above. Please be sure to be registered for a full course load for the current semester and the next semester as early as it is possible to do so.
If you have any further questions, please contact us.
ISSO no longer provides status letters for the purpose of inviting friends and family to the U.S. Students should receive an official transcript through The Solution Center.