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Family Travel

Visa Application

Family members (except your spouse and/or children) wishing to visit the US must apply for a “tourist” (B1/B2) visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate in their home countries, unless they qualify for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or travel with ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization).

What documents should I provide my family to support their visa application process?

  • Evidence of funding

    If you are providing room and board or any other specific form of financial assistance, such as airfare, you should supply evidence of your source(s) of funding in the form of bank statements or letters from employers. Even though there is no set minimum amount required, it is recommended that you indicate a reasonable amount reflecting the level of support you are providing.

    If your family members are funding the trip themselves, it is also recommended that they carry with them Bank statements, Employee verifications and/or other relevant documents to prove that they have sufficient funding for this trip.

  • Evidence of your (student) status in the US

    You should provide your family members with a copy of your I-20 (or DS-2019 for J visas) and other relevant documents verifying your status in the U.S.

  • Evidence of family’s intent to return home

    Your family members must prove that they will return home after visiting you in the U.S. It is recommended that they carry with them for their visa interview, documents showing employment, property ownership, enrolment in any educational institute.

    For more information please visit U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs

  • (optional) Invitation letter from yourself (student)

    The U.S. Department of State (which issues visitor visa) has this note about support letters:

    Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant’s residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. (based) family and friends (or Macalester College). A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa. If you do choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember that it is not one of the factors that we use in determining whether to issue or deny a nonimmigrant tourist visa.

    If you would still like a letter, you can write one yourself. Create a copy of this template and follow the instructions on the document, making sure that the information below is included.

    Your name and the reason for your living in the U.S.
    The name of your family member who wishes to visit and the purpose of their visit. You should prepare a separate letter for each visitor.
    The duration of their visit.
    If you are providing room and board or any other form of financial assistance, be sure to state that as well.

    Please email ISP ([email protected]) if you have any questions.



For places to stay near campus, in Minneapolis or near the airport, see Macalester Admissions’ Places to Stay page

Commencement also has a page with Information for Families and Visitors.

Airbnb is an online platform that matches visitors with anything from private rooms to entire houses for short-term stay. Airbnb options are often more affordable and interesting.