Process and Documents needed for Parents Visa to visit USA? B2 Visa/ Tourist visa Sample Documents
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.
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. It takes around 3 months or sometimes 6 months. There are new schemes of TATKAAL that can get you passport as soon as 7 days, but you have to pay extra fee. Check the Government of India, Passport TAATKAL website for details . You can also check: Govt of India Website : How to apply for Passport .
- Bank Savings for Sponsorship: Make sure you save some good amount totaling up to $10,000 dollars. 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 Parents/ B2/ Visitor Visa :
1. Employment letter from your H1B sponsor / current employer : 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: Depending on the state you belong to, you will have to choose the consular office. Unless, your parents are well educated, 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.
4. New DS 160 Form vs old DS-156, DS-157 Forms: There has been a new rule change about the forms and DS 160 is the current form that needs to be filled from January 19th 2010. Exactly quoted from Visa consulate website: “After January 19th, 2010, all consular posts in India will require the new DS-160 web-based application for all nonimmigrant (NIV) visas. The DS-160 incorporates all existing NIV application forms (DS-156, 157, and 158) into one interactive, online form”.
Here are the links to complee information about Digital Photo specifications and DS-160 form
- Chennai Consulate DS-160 Form info
- Hyderabad Consulate DS-160 Web Form Complete information.
- Depending on the consular office you should check the respective consulate website for New DS160 form information. Also check the below US Dept of state website US Department of State : Frequently Asked Questions for the Online DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
5. Parents Visa booking Native Language vs English: Unless your parents are very well educated and can handle English very well, it is a good idea to choose interview language as your mother tongue either Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati, etc. It is better if you choose native language rather than English because, parents if they are not well educated, they can answer questions well with correct Tone of voice.
6. Filling up the forms and What you should fill : Unless your parents are well educated, 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. Think logically, if your parents are educated and fill up forms, why would they need native language visa interview ? You are fine, just put in your name.
7. 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 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)
8. Fill out the Affidavit of Support I-134 Form: You will need to fill out the form I-134, which is the affidavit of support. It has some basic info. Nothing fancy and tricky out there. You can Download the I-134 Form, Affidavit of Support from USCIS website
9. 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 ).
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
Check List :
- Form I-134.
- 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)
Download Sample Documents Needed for Applying for Parents visa from Sponsor:
- Employment letter for Parents Visa
- Invitation Letter for Parents Visa
- Visa officer cover letter for Parents Visa
Supporting documents by Parents
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 have not 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.
Do you have any other ideas or documents that are important ?
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