Parents and family will likely need a B-1/B-2 or ESTA WB/WT status to visit the United States. The University does not issue invitation letters for Graduation, because the Department of State has been very clear that they do not consider institutional invitation letters in determining whether to issue a visitor visa for families wanting to attend graduation. It is more important that family members can articulate a clear purpose of the trip, an intent to return to their home country, and strong ties to home that ensure their return after the ceremonies. If you want to provide documentation for your family members to carry with them to the consulate for a visitor visa application, it is recommended that you include the following information in your letter of invitation or explanation:
- the visitor’s name, date of birth, place of birth, nationality, and relationship to the student,
- an explanation of the purpose and length of their stay (example: to attend the graduation ceremony),
- a tentative schedule while they are visiting the U.S., including where they will stay/eat, if known,
- a description of what you will provide during the visit (for example: room and board for a specific period of time, round trip airfare),
- evidence of the student status in the US, provide your guests a copy of your I-20,
- evidence of enrollment at Notre Dame (an unofficial transcript or a copy of your course schedule), and
- proof of relationship to your guests (if they are family member/s).
Again, the visitors will need to provide evidence that they intend to return to their home country and not remain in the U.S. The decision to grant a visa is at the sole discretion of the consulate officer; the consulate officer may not look at or consider your letter or supporting documents, and they may not grant a visa for your family members or friends to join you in the U.S.
Information on obtaining a visitor visa B-1/B-2 or applying for ESTA WB/WT can be found here.
Please visit the ISSA web page for additional information.