How To Get B2 Visa for Parents
Visiting USA first time is an exciting experience and one thing that is frequently asked among those living in the USA is how to call parents to visit the USA.
Visiting the USA can be a pleasure trip for parents, just you have to take care of a few things before calling your parents. I was in the same boat and want to call my parents for the first time but was not sure of the 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 the USA you can invite your parents or friends, they have to first receive a B2 visitor visa (Tourist visa) for the purpose of visiting the USA.
Here I am putting all things together and will explain the step-by-step process of what needs to be done for your parent’s travel.
Getting started with getting a B2 visa
1. Apply for a parents passport in advance as it takes time to get a new passport in India. Now there are new schemes going on in India like the Tatkaal scheme in passport Seva Kendra where you can get a passport within a week. You just have to pay extra fees to get a passport fast.
2. Sponsorship: If your parents are earning in India and have suitable income tax papers then they can sponsor themselves their trip. It’s 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 a lot of documents to assemble.
3. In that case if you are sponsoring their trip then you need above $10,000 in your account to cover their expenses. So you need to settle your account before that.
4. You can send an invitation letter to them saying that you will take care of them while in the USA and will handle their trip expenses and insurance.
Here is the format of the Sample Invitation Letter for a visa.
5. You also need an employment verification letter from your H1B sponsor verifying your current H1B visa employment and indicating your salary. If you are an F1 student here and calling your parents for Graduation then also you need to show your F1 visa copy and Graduation invitation letter.
6. Get a scanned copy of your parent’s passport you will need it when you book an appointment for visa stamping online, and you will also need them with your employer.
This seems to be lengthy stuff and in my case, my parents can sponsor their own trip so I didn’t give any invitation letter or employment letter to get their visa.
7. Now you need to book an appointment with the US embassy/consulate in India. For booking an appointment either you have to do it, else your parents can have it done from India. There are many Cyber Cafes in India who charges some fees to fill DS-160 forms and submit them online for you.
8. The cyber cafe person might charge a good amount but they are experienced and will fill in all the details perfectly so that there is no mistake. If you plan to fill your parent’s DS-160 then you have to do it very carefully, there will be a 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 on this website, on how to fill DS-160 and how to submit it prior to making an appointment at the Embassy or consulate.
If your parents are not fluent in English then choose their preferred language, as most 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 your side and send them so that they can show them in their interview.
a. First is a statement from your bank which will tell about your current running balance. it is a simple Bank Verification letter for getting a visa for your parents and you need it in case you have shown that you are their sponsor and paying their travel expenses.
b. Then you need a copy of your W2 forms and last three pay stubs, a copy of your passport, I-94, H1 visa details (I797). You need to send all these documents to your parents to avoid any issues in getting a visa.
c. Affidavit of Support I-134 form (Optional) submitting this form you are legally taking responsibility for all liabilities that are under your parents.
Checklist of documents needed for B2 visitor visa
- Copy of your 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 the Employment verification letter, bank letter better makes 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 then everything becomes too simple. Plus this hard work will be repaid with your parents visiting you in the USA.
Things to take care of while booking flight of parents
A common issue among people living in the USA is asking for a flight partner for their parents. They need a travel companion for changing flights in the way as most 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. Wheelchair assistance will take them from one flight gate to the other flight gate easily.
You can provide your parents with 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 themself 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 the way.