What to Know If Your Family Is Visiting the U.S.

If you’ve left the country where you were born or where your family lives for the U.S., you likely have great opportunities. For example, you may be working in the U.S. so you can send money home, or you may be studying in a specialized higher education program.

Regardless of the reason, it’s likely that you might be interested in having your family visit you in your new home.

What should you know if you’d like your family from a foreign country to visit you in the U.S.?

Visitor Visa

It can be tougher for your family to be able to visit you in the U.S. than it would be if you were living some other places because there can be pretty rigorous processes they will have to go through. However, it is possible for family to visit you if you follow the necessary steps.

Most visitors from a foreign country will need a visa. There are different types of visas including nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas. Within those categories, there are many other specific visa types.

It’s important if you want your family to visit that you know the specific type of visa they’ll need.

Visa Waiver Program

Depending on where you’re from, and where your family will be traveling from, they may be eligible for the U.S.Visa Waiver Program. This program is available to eligible travelers who are coming for tourism or business. If they’re from a list of certain countries and they’re staying 90 days or less, they may be able to come through this program.

To be eligible to visit you through the Visa Waiver Program, your family members can’t have had any past issues such as overstaying previous travel visas while in the U.S.

Tourism B-2 Visa

The Tourism B-2 visa is likely the one your family members will apply for if they’re coming to visit. This visa covers a wide variety of reasons for travel. For example, general tourism or taking a vacation to the U.S. are covered, as is visiting friends or family.

If your family obtains a tourist visa, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll be admitted to the U.S. What it does is show the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that the person has gone through the necessary process to obtain their visa.

If your family gets a visitor visa and they overstay, it can result in problems with future visits. The family member who overstays may not be eligible to return on a future visitor visa.

The Process

Finally, if you’re inviting family or loved ones to visit you in the U.S., there is an application process to follow. The documents typically required to apply for the B-2 visa include a passport, photos, and the visa application forms and fees. Sometimes additional documentation may also be required.

Then, applicants are expected to schedule an interview in most cases. The interview is scheduled with the U.S. Embassy or the Consulate where your family members live.