One of the most frequently asked questions among friends, either during graduation time, or after they start working in the US, or if they are expecting a baby is “What is the process to apply for a visitor or tourist visa(B2 visa) to parents to come to the USA? What documents do I need? How do I start ?”. The below article covers the step-by-step process to apply for a B2 visitor visa for parents or family members, including sample documents, templates.
Basic Requirements – Passports, Funds for US Trip
The two most important things you need to plan ahead before you even apply for a visa are passports for parents and the funds required for their travel.
- Parents Passports: The first step is to apply for passport for your parents, if they do not have one. Depending on the country, the time to get passport can vary, so factor in that time in your entire US visa application process for their B2 visa. For example, 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 15 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. You may read our article on applying for Passport Renewal in India, it can give some idea.
- Bank Savings for Sponsorship: You need enough funds for your parents trip. Make sure you save some good amount totalling 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 Parents US Visitor Visa (B2)
Below are the various steps that you can follow to apply for visitor visa for parents. Some of them can be done in parallel, but below is a general step-by-step guide.
Employment Letter from your Company or Graduation Letter
When you invite your parents or family, one of the things US Consular officer would look at are your current Visa status and supporting documentation for the same. You may need to get different set of documentation based on your status as an employee working in US or student studying in US. Below are the details
Working in US on a Visa (H1B, L1, OPT)
If you are working on a work visa, you need to get an employment letter from your current company, verifying that you are working in US on H1B, L1 or other visa, including OPT or STEM OPT. This is to make sure you are in good standing in US and are getting paid to support the travel of your parents.
Depending on the company, your company may ask you for details of your parents or their passport copies and directly address the employment verification letter to the consulate. There is no rule that you need to have certain format. Check Sample templates section at the end, if you want a sample. All they care is, if you are employed and in good standing.
The employment verification Letter should have information like when you joined them and what role are you in and how much salary you make. Some employers are quick and some are slow in doing this. Plan well and make sure you have it with you.
F1 Student – Graduation Invitation
If you are an F1 international Student inviting your parents for Graduation, you need to send your current status details like F1 Visa copy, I-94, I-20 and Graduation invitation letter to your parents.
Complete DS-160, Book US Visa Appointment
Before you book US Visa stamping appointment for your parents, you need to fill in DS-160 form. Make sure you have scan copies of their passport before you start the process to avoid issues. Also, your employer may need them.
Complete DS-160 Form Online for Parents
Unless your parents are well educated and have all facilities like computer with internet access, etc. they may not be able to do DS-160 on their own. It would be better, if you fill it out for them and then declare the same at the end. It saves a lot of pain for your parents to fill it out without any mistakes.
- Separate DS-160 Forms : You will need to create separate DS-160 applications profiles for every individual applying for visa. If you are inviting both your mother and father, then you need to create two DS-160 Profiles online for your parents.
- Creating Family Member DS-160 from Thank you page : When you are filling out the first DS-160 form for first family member, at the end when you select ‘Email Confirmation’ on the confirmation page, you will go to “Thank you” page and on that page you will have an option to create a family or group application, you can choose this option so that some of the information from your first application will be copied over and imported. Of course, you can change those details as needed.
- Required info to Fill DS-160 form : You will need a lot of information like education details, work history, identification info etc. We have complied the entire list of required items for DS-160 and tips to fill the same. Read How to fill out DS-160 Form, Documents Needed to get full idea.
- Filling up the DS-160, Declaration : If you are filling forms on behalf of your parents, at the end in DS-160 form, there is a section on ‘Sign and Submit page‘, there you should fill out your details as third party and then inform your parents regarding the endorsement of the application by them and help them click on sign and submit button. You may check more info and discussion on sign and submit option.
- Fill DS-160 online at Official State.gov website : You should go to Official US Govt State.gov website for DS-160 form Creation. Here is the link : US Govt ceac.state.gov Website
- If any questions, you can visit any of the below links to fill the DS-160 form.
- US Travel Docs India Official Website : Info on DS-160 form
- US State Govt Website : FAQs on DS-160 form
Once you complete the DS-160 form, next step is to pay the fee and book visa interview appointment.
Booking US Visa Interview Appointment, Native Language
You need to book visa appointment at US embassy/ consulate for getting B2 Visa stamping to travel to US. It involves, paying fees, selecting location and interview language. Let’s look in detail.
- US Consulate Location for Interview : Depending on your home country, there may be one or more locations in your country. You need to choose the US Consulate that is close to where your parents live. For instance, in India, each consulate has a list of states that they serve. Depending on your state, you need to select the respective Consulate.
- Parents US Visa Interview Language – Mother tongue vs English: If your parents are not comfortable with English, you should choose their preferred mother tongue or native language. Most of the 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.
- Scheduling US Visa Interview : The US Visa interview appointment booking is handled by www.ustraveldocs.com website in most of the countries. Depending on your country, click on the country and choose the relevant website. For instance, for India, it would be www.ustraveldocs.com/in.
- You need to create an account and follow the process in there. You will be asked to pay the fee online for booking appointment.
- If you cannot pay online, you can go to bank, pay it there and get code to use the same for booking appointment.
- You do not need two accounts, you can add your parents together as family in the same account and book visa interview appointment.
You can read Complete guide apply for US Visa Appointment for step by step process.
Prepare for US Visitor Visa(B2) Interview, Documents
You will need to prepare and carry all relevant documents for the US Visitor visa interview for your parents. You will need to send them invite letters, sponsorship letters and other info. Let’s look at each of them.
Funds Proof – Bank Account Balance Letter, Sample
If you are sponsoring your parents or in-laws trip, you need to send the relevant proof to show that there are enough funds in your bank. While you can print out the Bank statements online, it is recommend that you go to your Bank and get a Bank verification or Bank Balance Statement Letter signed and stamped by the Bank officer.
Go to the 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. Depending on the bank, the process can vary. 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
Invitation Letter, Visa Officer Cover Letter, Other Documents
Below are other set of documents that you will need to have ready for the visa interview, so that your parents or in-laws can show the same.
- 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 inviting them to visit. Download sample template copies below.
- 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. See templates section below.
- Copies of W2 Form, Pay stubs, 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.
- F1 Student – Status Documents If you are a student on F1 visa and not working, you may not have pay stubs, so do not worry about it. Send whatever you have regarding your current status like I20, etc.
- ( 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. 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
- Sending Documents to Home Country : Ideally, you want to print out everything and sign all the documents where you filled forms I-134 (optional), 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. It may cost you up to $60 USD.
Below is checklist of B2 visitor visa stamping for parents
Parents US Visitor Visa(B2) Documents Checklist
- Copy of work visa approval notice ( H1B, L1 – Form I-797).
- Copy of Passport, US Visa stamped on passport.
- Copy of I-94. ( Check How to get I-94 Online )
- Current Employment verification letter
- Copy of Bank statements from last 6 months.
- Bank Account verification/ balance letter.
- Copies of last three salary statements/ pay slips.
- Copies of previous years Tax Returns –W2 forms ( if applicable).
- DS forms (if you have filled it and signed the same)
- Copy of Green Card ( if you are not working on visa )
- Form I-134 ( Optional )
US Visitor Visa(B2) Documents Checklist for in-laws
If you are sponsoring for your in-laws like mother-in-law or father-in-law, in addition to above checklist of documents, you need to include spouse’s details and documents as well along with the package.
- Your Spouse’s Passport
- Spouse’s approval notice I797
- Spouse’s US Visa Copy
- Any other supporting documents like marriage certificate to prove the relationship.
- Spouse Birth Certificate
Thanks to Rajesh for suggesting the above after his bad experience of missing the documents of in-laws.
You may join our Telegram B2 Visa Community Group to ask questions or share your experiences.
Sample Document Templates for Parents US Visitor Visa
Below are some of the templates that you can use. Make sure you change the content to fit it for your situation.
- Parents US Visitor Visa Invite Letter Template : You need to send an invitation letter to your parents saying that you are inviting them and also specify, if you plan to pay for their expenses when in US. We have given a sample letter, but I recommend you edit it with your own flavour and make it unique : Invitation Letter Templates for Visitor (B-2) / Parents Visa
- Employment letter Sample Letter Template for US Parents Visa : You should also send an employment letter that tells that you are employed in your company with your designation and salary. It can be any standard employment letter. You may use : Employment letter Template for Parents Visa USA
- Cover Letter for Visa Officer at US Consulate: It is a good idea to put in a cover letter to the visa officer listing all the documents you are sending. You may use : Cover Letter for Visa officer – Parents visa USA
These are just standard templates that you can use, no hard fast rule that it has to be in this format. We highly encourage you to use them as guideline only and create your own letters with your own flavour, so that it looks unique.
Additional Supporting documents by Parents for Visa Interview
Fundamentally, your parents have to prove that they have enough ties in their home country, so that they would return after their trip. Some of the ways that can be done is by good supporting documentation. The below list of documents are intended to prove that they will return to home country:
- Notarized documents of land/ sites, buildings ( any kind of property).
- Bank Statements with enough balance
- Pension / employment benefits letters, if applicable.
- Fixed deposits, any financial related documents.
- If there are Tax returns, then carry them as well
- Any other documents that shows your financially strong and you will come back.
If you do not have all documents or big 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.
Attend US Visitor Visa Interview, Sample Questions
Having all documents is important, but the most important thing is to give your parents the confidence and all the details related to you and what you do in US so that they can answer the questions. You need to coach your parents to do well in the interview. You can expect to see questions like below for your parents in the visa interview
- Who lives in US ? Son or Daughter ?
- What does your Son or Daughter do in US ?
- Did they study in US ?
- Where did they study ?
- What does your son or daughter do for work ?
- Which city do they live in ?
- Do you plan to settle down there or come back ?
- What is the purpose of your visit ?
- When do yo plan to go ?
- When do you plan to return to India ?
- What is your son or daughter salary ?
- How long have your son or daughter lived in US ?
- Do you work or retired?
- Do you get pension ? Have you paid taxes ?
You can check out some experiences like Parents US Visa Stamping Experience -Telugu and English Stamping Experience US Parents Visa .
Hopefully, your parents get their US Visa in the interview. One last thing is health insurance.
Health Insurance for Parents : After you get US Visa and plan to arrive in US, having visitors health insurance is important for parents to avoid any unforeseen health conditions, when in USA. It is always a good idea to get Health Insurance from a US vendor, who can support you. We recommend Buying Parents Insurance at Visitors Coverage – Parents Insurance as they have US support and you can compare all insurance plans.
Yes, US Consulates in India have started interviewing for B1/B2 vistor visas starting from September 2022. The number of slots that they open is few, but they are doing in-person interviews for first time B1/B2 applicants.
All the appointments that are available on USTravelDocs for 2023 and beyond are all real appointment. They are not placeholder appointments like in the past.
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.
Do you have any other ideas or documents that are important ? Do share your experience and thoughts.
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Sample Document Templates for Parents US Visitor Visa link is not working , Says permission Denied , Please help
Yeah, says Permission denied. Have downloaded
Thanks for the detailed writeup
Can you please confirm if –
1. Photo will be taken at the VAC or parents need to take photos themselves to the appointment
2. Also we suddenly got the appointment rescheduled for next week( it was originally end of 2023) . There is not enough time to get
letter from bank and send originals via post.
Are copies of my US Bank statements enough , or will it cause any problem from any previous experience. Should I postpone the appointment.
Hi, I scheduled appointment for my parents B1/B2 in AUG 2021, the interview is on APRIL 2023. I saw a rule that DS 160 is only valid for 1 year which means it’s almost 1.5years since I booked the appointment.my only doubt is do my parents need to file new DS 160 and take it to the interview or does the old one is fine?
Please help !
Hi, in my fathers application DA-160 I have selected visa category as B1/B2 instead of B2. He has already taken appointment too. Will there be any issue because of visa category? Should I fill out a new DS-160 with visa type as B2 before the interview or is it okay to select visa type as B1/B2.
Hello, in my fathers visa application DS-160 I have selected visa category as B1/B2 instead of only B2. Will there be any issue in the interview because of this? Should I fill out a new DS-160 with B2 as category. He has already take the appointment date with B1/B2 category selected.
My current H1B visa validity is up to September 1st, 2023. My company will be soon filing for extension. I am sponsoring my parents B2 visa. They have got the interviewed scheduled later in this month (March 2023). I have got all the documents ready. My question is will my current visa validity be an issue during their interview?
I am on similar boat. My i-94 is valid till July 2nd 2023. I am still looking for appointment. Should I wait till I get my i797 approved and new i-94 or can I book an appointment if I get one soon. Can you let us know what the experience of your parents was. TIA
Hi, I am on H1b. My mother already has a valid B1/B2 visa and she is visiting to USA this month. Because of my i94 expiring sooner(due to passport expiry), I plan my aunt (mother’s sister) who is US citizen to send her invitation letter for immigration purpose at point of entry. Can you please provide some guidance on what documents of Aunt will be required to be carried in this case?
Currently I got my H1B stamping done in January 2023 and I’m still in India.
I want to apply B1/B2 for my mother and travel with her to US(my first time travel to US)
Can I book slot with her without myself going there atleast once ? Will they ask any additional questions? What are the chances of rejection
Hi, My parents have B2 visa interview slot mid march. I am sponsoring for there visit. The last name in there passport and my passport is different ( there is a spelling mistake). Would it be a reason for rejecting visa. And also are there any other documents that I can provide to support this situation. Please help me.
I am having the same issue. But my husband is sponsoring for my parents. Did your parents get the visa now?
We booked visa interview for both mom and dad, but my dad is not in a position to go for the interview. can my mom go for the interview and able to get visa for both ??
No, I highly doubt it for normal cases. If you are going to the US for medical treatment, you may try to explain the same to US embassy and ask for exception, I have not seen anyone get stamping without going to interview for normal cases. Do update how it goes.
Hi im married to a citizen in usa ( married for three years now) , my paper work is still in process.
is there going to be any problem if my husband sponsers my mother for tourist visa to usa from India ?
Will there be any issue since my papers are still in process?
It should not be as long as the person is able to support with relevant documentation on how he will pay for the trip.
My husband is a H1 visa holder and i got H4 recently and my mother will be giving her B2 visa interview in march. So i had a query regarding her B2 related documents. My husband is going to sponsor her trip completely also i am going to travel with her to US. But the thing is my mother is not together with my father like in 2020 due to conflicts my mother left the house along with me and now she is living in a rented apartment. So for showing proof of funds she has got her mutual funds and the money she invested after her retirement also she has some problem with the pension as the pension application is under process not sure when it will get resolved.But for property she dosnt have those papers as they are with my father and the house is under boths name but the papers are difficult to obtain as my father wont give them. So what documents can be shared in this case. Can someone help me out?
If your husband is going to sponsor, all the documents of your mother related to finances are irrelevant. Frankly, all of these documents are just supporting ones and not required. Tell her to be confident. Carry the bank statement from your husband, and whatever documents she has and be honest and say the reason for visit. Try to keep it simple and answer confidently.
What to reply in case if they ask her why im still here and not in us. What should be the reason in that case for visiting. Only son in law is present in US. So what can be better? That visiting son in law or both and tourism?
You should tell the truth. Do not make up anything and answer, they will identify false answers easily. Tell the truth!
I am on H1b Visa I have applied B1/B2 visa for my parents. Do I need to fill I-134 form as well. They have sufficient amount in their accounts and they are running business in India. Still do I need to fill I-134?
It is optional and not needed.
I am currently on H1B and I want my parents to come visit me on B2 visa. Is it fine for my parents to sponsor their trip on their own instead of me and what are the disadvantages of doing that?
Yes, they can. There are no disadvantages to that. As long as they have the financials to support them for the trip, they should be fine.
I am in the usa on a h1b, also i have my aunt living here and she is a citizen. My mother wishes to come to states to meet her on a b2 visa.
would it be okay if my aunt provides the invitation letter instead of me? will there be uncomfortable questions asked in the interview and can this cause complications.
As said, both works. yes, there could some tricky questions as well, why sister, when you have son, etc. So, best to go with your letter.
I am on a h1b visa and I have an aunt(moms sister) who is a US citizen.
Is it advisable to have my aunt send the invitation for the B2 visa for my mom and dad, instead of me sending it.
Will this create trouble during the interview.
It does not matter. Either works. It is best for you to send as you will be the main person sponsoring her and she would mainly stay with you. Again, it is a choice, both works.
I am an H1 B holder and having B2 visa interview for my mother next month.
Does cover letter/ Invitation letter or any documents needs my signature OR just send soft copy and print out would do.
Any info on this would be greatly appreciated!
There is no official rule that tells you need a wet signature. It is just suggested. Personally, I sent it.
As long as there is an invite, it should work as well. It is your discretion.
My father is 74 year old and is suffering from depression and now having some memory loss too. Can I accompany him for b2 visa interview
Sorry to hear. You can request consulate for the same. You need to write to them indicating the same. You can accompany as a translator as well. Need to plan ahead.
For a B2 visa if VISA officer requires further documents or details will they notify us what is required or they reject the visa, does anyone know or has any experience, please share.
They will tell immediately if they want more documents. If not, they can issued 214b and ask to reapply, which does not require any documents.
1. Should I choose B1/B2 category in DS-160 or only B2 when applying for visa for my parents?
2. I’m applying for tourist visa for my parents as well as 28 year old brother(unmarried) – can all 3 of them attend the same appointment slot?
1. It would be B2
2. Well, as he is 28 years old, not sure. You can check with customer service. If under 21, can add for sure under dependent.