Inviting Family and Friends to Visit
If your guests are not eligible for the ESTA program, they may apply for the B-2 visitor visa
They should review the information on visitor visas by the U.S. Department of State, and refer to the website of the U.S. Consulate where they will apply to learn about the current forms, fees, and processing times.
They will need the following documents to apply for a visitor visa:
- Your invitation letter explains your status in the US, what you are doing, and whom you are inviting. Use this sample invitation letter to edit with your personal information.
- Copy of your “most recent I-94” Arrival Record as evidence of your status
- Copy of your visa (Canadian students and Canadian visitors are exempt from the visa requirement)
- Copy of your most recently-issued I-20/DS-2019
- Academic Certification from the Registrar's office (currently-enrolled students only)
- Copy of your EAD and OPT employer’s letter (only if you are on post-completion or STEM OPT)
Copy of Columbia Academic Appointment letter or Visiting Scholar designation letter (J-1 scholar only)
- Financial resources for visit: 1) Copies of your bank statements from the last two to three months OR 2) your visitors will need to provide evidence of their ability to pay for their time in the US.
- Proof of your visitors' employment and/or proof of property ownership to show that they have strong ties in their home country