Visas for Friends and Relatives
If your friends and relatives abroad would like to visit you at VCU for a short period of time (up to 90 days), the most likely appropriate visa is B-2 (tourist). (NOTE: Your spouse or minor child may be eligible for a dependent visa such as F-2, J-2, or H-4. Please contact us for further information.)
To apply for a B-2 visa, your friends or relatives should contact a US consulate in their home country, and follow the online instructions as they appear online.
How to Apply for a B-2 Visa
A list of US consulates with links to their websites is available online at https://www.usembassy.gov/
Example: To apply for a B-2 visa at a US consulate in India do the following:
- Click “I” and select India
- Select a consulate (for example, Mumbai)
- Click Visas
- Click Nonimmigrant Visas
- Follow the instructions
Invitation letters are not required for B-2 visa applications but VCU cannot provide invitation letters to friends or relatives in any case. If your friend or relative would like an invitation letter, the letter should come from you (the person they want to visit). GEO cannot provide sample invitation letters. Just write a simple letter in your own words, addressed to your friend or relative, inviting them to visit you, and send the letter to your friend or relative (even an email they could print out is OK).
The US consulate does not need to know if you are in valid status. Providing “additional” documents to the consulate tends to confuse and delay the B-2 visa process. If your friends or relatives would like proof that you are enrolled as a VCU student, or if they would like confirmation of VCU graduation dates, please contact Records and Registration at http://rar.vcu.edu/. GEO cannot provide proof of your enrollment as a VCU student or graduation date, etc.
Visa Waiver (also called ESTA)
Citizens of some countries are eligible to enter the US in B-2 status without first obtaining a B-2 visa in their passports. Information about the Visa Waiver (sometimes called ESTA) program is available online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/