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Process and Documents needed for Parents Visa to visit USA? B2 Visa/ Tourist visa Sample Documents

In Immigration| Visas by Kumar1057 Comments

One of the most frequently asked questions among friends after they start working in US and typically whenever they are expecting a baby is “What is the process for applying visa to parents to come to USA ? What documents do I need ? How do I start ?” . I was in the same boat and found information I needed from friends and other sources. This article will focus on the whole process with documents needed and what to do step by step.

Getting Started  with B2 Visitor Visa for Parents to Travel to US:
When you have an idea that you plan to get parents to US, couple of things you have to plan are

  • Parents Passports: Apply for Passport to your parents if you have not done so.  Depending on the country plan for the passport based on how much time it takes. If you are from India, in the past it used to take 3 to 6 months, now with outsourcing to TCS, you can get passport in little under 30 days.  Also, there are new schemes of Tatkaal, if it is emergency and you can get you passport as soon as 7 days, but you have to pay extra fee. Check out the passport application website for details. We have an article on applying for Passport Renewal in India, it should give some idea.
  • Bank Savings for Sponsorship: Make sure you save some good amount totaling up to $10,000 dollars or more to cover their expenses. It is advised to start saving 3 months before and accumulate steadily rather than just borrowing money and putting in bank. There is no hard fast rule. Just an advice.

Step by Step process for Applying for B2 Visitor Visa for Parents or Anyone :

1. Employment letter from your H1B sponsor/ Current employer :  You need to get an employment letter verifying your current H1B visa employment, indicating your salary and other stuff. Typically employer knows this stuff and they will give you the letter. They may ask for your parents passports and sometimes the appointment letter of interview. Depending upon the employer rules and regulations. Some employers are quick and some are slow in doing this. Plan well and make sure you have it with you.
2. Get Scan copy of Parents passports:  You will need copy of your parents’ passports with all the information that is on the passport when you book the appointment online. You may ask them and get it item by item, but you may end up with mistakes. Best way to it is ask for scan copy for Parents passports. Ask your parents or anyone to send this to you. Your employer may ask for copy of Passports for giving the employment verification letter. So, it is easy if you get scan copies of parents’ passports.

3. Booking Visa stamping appointment for your parents: You need to book visa appointment at US embassy/ consulate for getting B2 Visa stamping to travel to US. In India, depending on the state you belong to, you will have to choose the consular office. Unless, your parents have access to internet and  are familiar with the process, you might want to book the appointment and fill up the application and other forms, etc.  If you are booking, make sure you have 15 days before from the day you are booking appointment. Because, you will need to get your documents straightened and send them on time.   To book visa appointment, the first step is to fill out DS-160 form.

  •  Fill out DS-160 Form:   You need to fill out the DS-160 form carefully. Check out the article on How to fill out DS-160 form  to get some idea.  Below are the links for relevant links for DS-160 form. 
  • Parents Visa booking Native Language vs English: If your parents are not comfortable with English, I suggest you choose preferred local language that your parents are familiar with.  Most US embassies give you that option to choose the local language. For instance, in India, you can choose interview language  such as your mother tongue like  Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, etc. If you feel your parents are not fluent in English, it is better to choose native language rather than English, so that they are comfortable and communicate clearly when asked by Visa Officer.
  • Filling up the forms and What you should fill : Unless your parents are familiar with internet and online process of filling up forms,  you may want to fill up all the forms. It is good if we do it because, we know what we are doing and we are sponsoring them.  When you are filling forms, there is a section “Application prepared by”, you should put your name and sign it. There is nothing wrong in it. You are fine, just put in your name.

4. Bank Account Verification letter : You will need to go to your primary bank where you have your longest standing account and the bank which has your savings and ask them to give you a Bank Verification letter for Visa. Typically  Chase does it instantly. For Bank of America or others they make take couple weeks or more. Do this in advance.  All they do is, give a letter saying when the bank account was opened and average running balance since opening.  It is just a simple letter. If possible, get the visiting card of the bank manager( not necessary, more documentation the better) Check out  Sample Bank Verification Letter for Parents Visa

5. Copies of W2 Form, Paystubs, etc : You will need copies of W2 Forms for all the years, last three pay stubs or salary statements, Last three bank statements, Copy of your passport, I-94, H1B visa approval ( I797 ). This is extra piece of documentation to be given to your parents to avoid any issues. This is like an optional, I strongly suggest that you carry these documents.

6. Invitation Letter : You need to send an invitation letter to your parents saying that you are inviting them to visit you and sign it. It legally supports your parents intent to come to US and  you are sponsoring the visit. Download sample copies below.

7. Visa officer Cover letter: It is recommended to send a cover letter with all the documentation addressing the visa officer. It just lets you keep in track of what you are sending and if visa officer needs to check, it is easier for him and more clear for our parents.

8. ( Optional ) Affidavit of Support I-134 Form: This is an optional form, which is typically filed with family based green card applications by sponsors. This is to establish that the applicant will not become public charges while in the United States. If you submit this form, you are legally signing that you take all the liability and they will not become a public charge. I have used this form, when I was sponsoring visa for my parents in 2008. You may fill, sign and send the affidavit of support to your parents.  It has some basic info. Nothing fancy and tricky out there. All you are telling in this document is that you are going to support their entire trip.  You can Download the I-134 Form, Affidavit of Support from USCIS website

9. How to send and What all to send: Ideally, you want to print out everything and sign all the documents where you filled forms I-134, DS-160(if filled), invitation letter and cover letter. Make copies of all the documents as listed above. Send originals of Employment letter and Bank letter. You can use DHL or FedEx. I used DHL as it was cheaper and it reached in 3 working days. It is around $60.


Parents US Visa Documents Checklist :

  • Copy of my H1B approval (Form I-797).
  • Copy of my Passport, Visa along with I-94.
  • Employment letter
  • Copy of my last three Bank statements.
  • Bank Account verification letter.
  • Copies of last three salary statements
  • Copies of last year Tax Returns –W2forms.
  • DS forms (if you have filled it)
  • Form I-134 ( Optional )

Sample Documents Templates Needed for Applying for Parents visa from Sponsor:  It can be hard to get all documents, here are the templates that were used by me. They are quite generic.

These are just templates that you can use. No hard fast rule that it has to be in this format.

Additional Supporting documents by Parents for Visa Interview. 

Fundamentally your parents have to prove that they have enough ties in the home country back at home.  Some of the ways that can be done is by good supporting documentation.  Sample list of documents may include.

  • Notarized documents of all your property.
  • Bank Statements
  • Pension / employment benefits letters
  • Fixed deposits, any financial related documents.
  • If there are Tax returns, then take them
  • Any other documents that shows your financially strong and you will come back.

If you do not have enough documents or property back home, it is OK. No big deal. Because, you are the one in US, who is sponsoring the visitor visa for your parents. So, do not worry. Also, if your parents are older, then they are fine.

That’s it folks…not so much complex, all  you need to do is get all the list of documents and have things rolling as per plan and schedule. You can check out  some experiences like Parents US Visa Stamping Experience -Telugu  and  English Stamping Experience US Parents Visa 

Do you have any other ideas or documents that are important  ?  Do share your experience and thoughts.

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Comments ( 1,057 )

  1. Sameer

    Hi Saurabh,

    My visa is expired and i am planning to bring my mom n dad here.. if i povide my passport it will show old visa which is expired.. my petition is in progress for extension. Do i need to wait till it gets approved and send newly approved i797 to parents along with my passport n old visa? My wife also has L1 visa which is valid.. can we show her documents for my parents visa instead of my documents? Response is appreciated..

  2. Anusha

    Hi saurabh,
    I have a H1B visa which is active from October 1st. What happens to my visa if I could not find a good job by that time? Will I have some grace period?

  3. MK

    I have to get my parents visitor visa done but since they are sick, I am planning to go to India and take them to the consulate with me. May be I can get my re-stamping also done if necessary. All-in-all, my quesiton is, is me being in the US (valid I-94) really required for parent’s visa? Can I not go to India for a two week short trip and get their visa done? Also, can I take them along with me and come here? Will there be any immigration issues? Please answer as much detail as possible as I am worried about all this a lot.

    1. administrator


      It is not mandatory that you are physically present inside US on the date of their interview. As long as they can demonstrate that you are in US and working, it shouldn’t matter whether you are inside US on that date, or not.

  4. Sara

    Dear Saurav,

    My parents attended the visa interview 5 days back and their visa is approved. My father’s passport status is updated as “Ready for Pickup” the next day itself while my mother’s passport status says “There is no status update available for the passport number submitted” even after 5 days. Can you please let me know if there is any chance for visa denial even after the interview is over? Also, incase the passport status is delayed more than expected, whom to contact and how to approach ?

    1. administrator


      You can contact US travel docs support team to know about the status. However, if you contact them now they may provide same information as online.

      What’s the status when you look-up the status on CEAC site?

  5. SaiMee

    Hi Saurabh,

    This blog is really helpful. I am looking for your inputs here. After I filled out DS 160 and sent all the required documents to my parents in August, I recently moved to the new address in the same city. So my recent pay stubs and bank statements will have a different address than that of DS 160. What am I supposed to do in this situation?

    1. administrator


      What did you enter in the address where they will stay in US? Your old address? That’s the only location in DS form that needs to be updated. It can be updated when the parents appear for biometrics.

      1. SaiMee

        Thank you Saurabh. I didn’t get the address changed on DS 160. My parents got the visa approved. The interview was very simple. Only three questions were asked.
        1. Where does your daughter live?
        2. How many children do you have in India
        3. Are you working or retired??

  6. Rhea

    Thanks for this very useful article. But I’m in quite the pickle right now. 10 years ago when my parents received their visitor visa, they were self sponsored. They are retired now but take care of their own expenses through investments etc. We want to apply for their renewal (baby on the way lol!) And they are now eligible for the interview waiver program. My question is, given that they are no longer salaried, would it make sense to say we are sponsoring them? Or does that have no effect. Trying to understand if ee should change the funding response on DS 160. They said “Self” back then since I was just a student here. What would be better in your opinion? Thanks a bunch!

    1. administrator

      Well, honestly, it should not matter. All they care is there are enough funds for expenses. There is nothing right or wrong…If you have the choice and funds, maybe you sponsoring would be better as they are retired….use your discretion…

  7. Arjya

    Can I scan all the document and send it? Or I need to send the hard copies. The invitation letter, Sponsor letter, I-134 are the ones where I need to sign. Rest all are electronic copies. Please suggest. ASAP. Thanks

    1. administrator

      I have send the original copies in the past to avoid issues. It takes three days and costs about 50 USD to send it in DHL. In my view, I guess it is worth spending and sending the originals.

      1. Arjya

        Thanks Kumar. I checked with all of my colleagues. They said they never sent original copies. A scan copy is fine as it is only a tourist visa. And my parents are senior citizens. I consulted Atleast 5 people to cross check and verify. Now it’s too late to send originals. Anyways I will post my experience after the interview.

          1. Arjya

            Hi – My parents appeared for interview. They provided all photocopies and scanned copies. No originals was asked. Infact no documents was asked except a copy of my passport/visa. Only 3-4 simple questions were asked. My parents are above 60 years and retired. Good luck!

  8. Prerna


    Really appreciate all ur hard work and for neatly and briefly mentioned documents… Just ine question though is it same for parent in – laws too??

  9. Endashaw

    I’m a citizen of the US I want to submit an I 130 application I to bring my wife to the US and my mom too as the same time . So as our marriage is conducted abroad what sort of documents should I submit along with my application , i. e for my wife and my mother? Thanks!

    1. administrator


      For wife she can carry marriage certificate (in English), wedding card and wedding album. If the passport has mother’s name and wife’s name, then that would be helpful as well.

  10. Vik

    Thanks for the article . It was very helpful.
    Just a quick question –
    I’ve a Green Card and my old passport which had the initial US visa is expired and unfortunately I misplaced it.
    So is my new passport and Green Card good enough for sponsoring parents or do I need anything else to support my initial visa ?

    Appreciate your help.


    1. administrator


      As you have green card, it is not important to provide a copy of the old visa. If the officer needs it, he would have it in their system.

  11. Mac

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have been here in US for last 6 years and here on H1B after completing my masters.
    I want to invite my girlfriend but she resides in Switzerland as her company has project over there till next year.
    She relocated to Switzerland couple of months back. May I know answers for the following:
    • What is the procedure to invite her in US if she does not need sponsorship?
    • What documentation is required from her side?
    • What documentation is required from my end?
    • She just begun her paycheck couple of months back and neither my savings are significant, so what is the ideal amount that she can show up?
    • To meet finance part, can I show bank statement of her’s along with mine?
    • Is it mandatory for her to book the flight tickets before her visa interview OR it’s not required at all?


    1. administrator

      1. Send her a letter stating that you want your friend needs to see US and spend time with you, and will be staying with you etc.
      2. She would need financial statements to show that she can take care of the expenses, passport, employment letter etc
      3. The letter I mentioned in (1), id proof like passport copy and visa copy, maybe employment letter as well
      4. She can show both Swiss and home country accounts. She can also include recent payslips to show how much she earns. There is no correct number that needs to be present in the bank statement
      5. In the letter, you can mention that you will be taking care of boarding and daily expense charges, and include information mentioned in (2)
      6. Not mandatory. She should have an itinerary prepared though.

  12. Richiearora

    Excellent Post!! Thanks for all the Hard Work in Keeping this alive.

    I have some Questions, I am planning to apply visa for my Parents , I have some questions relating to Financial Ties of my Parents.

    My Parents Live in rented House, we Dont own any Property and my Fathers Pension is Pretty Low and dont have big Bank Balance.

    In this case, what would you advise to show Strong ties to Home Country? Will there be any issues here?

    I am anyway sponsoring them for visit for 3 Months. Me and My Wife both work in US , However in separate Locations.

    I have my Sister Living in Same City as my Parents, In reality she is primary reason for Family ties.

    Thanks in Advance.

  13. Chetan

    Very useful, currently I am planning to bring my parents to the US, however they have travelled in the past around 2004. It’s 2016 and their visa is not valid, they are 70+yrs of age. What documents should be submitted and they are based in Bangalore. Kindly let me know

  14. yamyni


    I am filling out DS-160 for my parents. But, I am still not clear on whose passport number to fill in on the “Sign & Submit Application” Page, after filling in my details for name & address as a preparer of application. Should I put in my passport# (just before the verification field”? and also put in my name in the signature field before submitting the application?

    Thank you.

  15. Umesh

    Hi Saurabh,

    Thank you for this post providing nice detailed information for helping the Visa applicants!

    I and my wife are planning to visit US for tourism purpose in month of Sepetember, 2016. We both have B1/B2 visa stamped and I usually travel USA for official trip 2-3 times in a year. This time I want my mother to join us for the upcoming trip and I have applied her B2 visa and interview is scheduled after two weeks. I have following query and would request you to please provide your suggestions –

    1. As I will be taking care of all of expenses for my mother’s trip so what kind of sponsorship document/declaration should I present? Would a declaration document for sponsorship from my side be sufficient along with my financial status documents?

    2. My mother’s financial documents to show her ties with home country

    3. Other then usual documents what extra document or declaration letter would you suggest be helpful in this situation to carry for VISA interview?

    Thanks in Advance!

    1. administrator


      1. You can include a letter from your side addressed to visa officer mentioning that you will take care of the expenses and that she will be traveling w/ you guys only. Then include an id proof and proof of relationship. Also include your recent bank statements to show that you have enough funds to take care of the expenses.
      2. Yes, these should also be included
      3. See (1)

        1. administrator


          Yes, photographs are required for each visa. In India, they take the pictures at the consulate for 100/- (at least that’s what the process was some years ago).

          1. Arjya

            They don’t charge money for photographs extra as suggested by Saurabh. It’s a part of the visa process. All fee included in the visa fee.

          2. administrator

            Arjya is correct.

            They used to charge 100/- when the applicant was supposed to bring in his/her own photograph and was found to be ineligible. Now that the applicant is not expected to bring in photos, no extra fees is charged.

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