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?
1. Letter from ISP
The U.S. Department of State (who 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 like a letter, ISP will print and sign a letter verifying your student status at Macalester and that your family members are coming to visit you. This is not a letter of invitation or support and you are responsible for sending it to your family. The form below allows you to request a letter for up to two relatives. If you want to write letters for more relatives or request separate ones for each, feel free to fill out the form multiple times. Note that during busy times of the year, e.g., end of term or tax season, it may take us several weeks to produce the letter so plan accordingly.
2. Invitation letter from yourself (student), including
- Your name and the reason for your living in the U.S.
- The names of your family members who wish to visit and the purpose of their visit.
- The duration of their visit.
- If you are providing room and board or any other form of financial assistance, please be sure to state that as well.
3. 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.
4. Evidence of your (student) status in the US
You should provide your family members with a copy of your I-20 (or DS-2019 or J visas) and other relevant documents verifying your status in the U.S.
5. 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. So, it is recommended that they carry with them for their visa interview, documents showing employment, property ownership, enrollment in any educational institute.
For more information please visit U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs
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.