The US government wants international students to be aware that an invitation letter is not necessary for family or friends who would like to visit, since they will get an ordinary B-2 tourist visa.
That being said, it is more challenging for citizens of certain countries to get a tourist visa for the US. In those instances an invitation letter from the student, copy of your I-20 and student visa, and official transcript can strengthen and speed up the visa application. (The U.S. State Department will not look at letters written by schools – the letter must come from the student who is inviting their family.)
Below is additional information that might help you as you write your invitation letter. I am also happy to review your invitation letter if you would like feedback.
- Write a letter of invitation that includes the following: your name and your reason for living in the US, the names of your family members who wish to visit, the purpose and approximate length of the visit, and whether you will provide room and board or any other financial assistance for the visit.
- Your evidence of funding: If you will provide room and board or any other specific expenses of the trip (such as airfare), you should supply evidence of your funding such as a bank statement or employment letter. There is no minimum dollar amount that you must reflect; but you should indicate an amount that is reasonable for the level of support you are providing.
- Evidence of intent to return home: Your family members must prove that they will return home after visiting the United States. Documents showing employment, property ownership, close family relations in home country, or enrollment in school (in the home country) are considered good evidence of intent to return home.
- Family Members’ Evidence of Funding: If your family members intend to cover their own expenses, they should provide a bank statement, employment verification or other evidence of funding.
The US State Department/Bureau of Consular Affairs has a website with additional information about applying for a tourist visa. In addition, many individual consulates will have more specific information about inviting family members on their websites. You can find links to US Consulates around the world on the above site or here.