Visiting USA first time is a exciting experience and one thing is frequently asked among those living in USA is how to call parents to visit USA.
Visiting USA can be a pleasure trip for parents, just you have to take care of few things before calling your parents. I was in the same boat and want to call my parents for first time but was not sure of rules and various things I need to do, so I researched a lot to find perfect information from all sources.
While you are living in USA you can invite your parents or friends, they have to first receive B2 visitor visa (Tourist visa) for the purpose of visiting USA.
Here I am putting all things together and will explain the step by step process what need to be done for your parents travel.
Getting started with getting B2 visa
1. Apply for parents passport in advance as it takes time to get a new passport in India. Now there is new schemes going on in India like Tatkaal scheme in passport seva kendra where you can get passport within a week. You just have to pay extra fees to get passport fast.
2. Sponsorship: If your parents are earning in India and have suitable income tax papers than they can sponsor themselves there trip. Its best for them to show that they can sponsor their trip them self else you have to show that you are sponsoring their trip and for that you need lot of documents to assemble.
3. In that case if you are sponsoring their trip than you need above $10,000 in you account to cover their expenses. So you need to settle your account before for that.
4. You can send a invite letter to them saying that you will take care of them while in USA and will handle there trip expenses and insurance.
Here is the format of sample Invitation Letter for visa.
5. You also need employment verification letter from your H1B sponsor verifying your current H1B visa employment and indicating your salary. If you are a F1 student here and calling your parents for Graduation, than also you need to show your F1 visa copy and Graduation invitation letter.
6. Get scanned copy of your parent passport you will need it when you book appointment for visa stamping online, and you will also need them with your employer.
This seems to be a lengthy stuff and in my case my parents can sponsor their own trip so i didn’t gave any invitation letter or employment letter to get their visa.
7. Now you need to book appointment with US embassy/consulate in India. For booking appointment either you have to do it, else your parents can have it done from India. There are many Cyber Cafe in India who charges some fees to fill DS-160 forms and submit it online for you.
8. The cyber cafe person might charge some good amount but they are experienced and will fill all the details perfectly so that their is no mistake. If you plan to fill your parents DS-160 than you have to do it very carefully, there will be separate form for both parents. you can take help from various online information on how to fill DS-160 form.
One such site is https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ giving all the details. You need to apply at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/index.html?firstTime=No , and will get all the details in this website, on how to fill DS-160 and how to submit it prior to making an appointment at the Embassy or consulate.
If you parents are not fluent in English than choose their preferred language, as most of US embassies give you that option of choosing their local language.
9. Now that you have booked their appointment with the Embassy you need to gather many more papers from you side and send them so that they can show in their interview.
a. First is statement from you bank which will tell about your current running balance. it is a simple Bank Verification letter for getting visa for you parents and you need it in case you have shown that you are their sponsor and paying there travel expenses.
b. Than you need copy of your W2 forms and last three pay stubs, copy of your passport, I-94, H1 visa details (I797). You need to send all these documents to your parents to avoid any issue in getting visa.
c. Affidavit of support I-134 form (Optional) submitting this form you are legally taking responsibility for all liabilities that is under your parents.
Checklist of document needed for B2 visitor visa
- Copy of you passport, H1B visa or L1, Form I 797.
- Copy of I-94
- Copy of Green card (if applicable)
- I-134 form (Optional)
More documents need if you are sponsoring their trip
- Employer verification letter
- Bank Statement and Bank Account verification
- Copy of last three salary stubs
- Copy of last year Tax returns
Now you have all the documents ready get them printed and signed accordingly. Send original copies of Employment verification letter, bank letter better make a cover letter detailing the order of all your documents in the folder. You can use FedEx, DHL, UPs for mailing the documents to India.
After you get the visa stamped on the passport, you can purchase any Visitor health insurance plan for your parents and book flights. They can come to stay with you for six months.
This seems to be a long tiring list of steps to be completed, but if you organize all the documents properly and carefully than everything becomes too simple. Plus this hard work will be repayed with your parents visiting you in USA.
Things to take care while booking flight of parents
A common issue among people living in USA is asking for flight partner for their parents. They need travel companion for changing flights in way as mostly parents are not fluent in English. But as per my experience there is some solution even if your parents don’t know English and even if they are traveling first time without a travel companion.
While booking flights always ask for wheelchair assistance for your parents as they are senior and old so they will get it easily. This will help them in changing flights easily even if they don’t know English. Wheel chair assistance will take them from one flight gate to the other flight gate easily.
You can provide your parents a phone or tablet which can catch airport WiFi. Almost all international airports have free WiFi and your parents can easily connect phone or tab to the WiFi and even if they can’t do it them self they can ask any fellow passenger to connect WiFi for them. After connecting the WiFi they can talk to you via whats app or Skype thus making you sure that they are fine and also they will feel more secure in way.