Expat Forum For People Moving Overseas And Living Abroad banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I apologise if these questions have been asked a thousand times before -- but the only information I ever really find is regarding full 90 day visits, which I don't intend to do.

My boyfriend lives in California, and I visited him for two weeks in early May, and for three weeks mid September, both this year (a wait of three months and three weeks in between). I had no problems at all with immigration, but I've read horror stories in the past when it comes to visiting too often on the VWP.

1. I understand that this kind of thing is up to immigration, but if I were to travel to California for three weeks in December this year, what are the odds that I could end up being interrogated about my visit considering I've already been there twice since May?

2. Do you perhaps have an estimate of how often I could travel in a one year period, providing I only stay for 2-3 weeks at a time? Does anyone have experience with this?

3. Around how much time should I leave between visits? I've read about the "more time in your home country than abroad" thing, but would going to California for three weeks after only seven weeks in the UK be considered suspicious?

4. What sort of documents should I bring, just in case I do get interrogated? Are things such as university documents, bank statements, repeat medical prescriptions and such considered okay?

5. If they ask how I'm able to support myself, would telling them that my boyfriend pays for a lot of our activities during my holiday be okay? What about mentioning that I'm staying with him? I've read before that they could see a person as an immigration risk because of this, despite the fact that the person might have a return ticket.

I just want to be as appropriate as possible, and not cause any problems. Thank you for the help!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,247 Posts
One of the most important ties to a home country is a job. Do you have one? If so a letter from your employer will help.

Do you have a rental/lease agreement in your name?

Are you a university student on a full time course? Proof of this would help.

Return ticket is a must.

Bank statements, repeat medications are not much use - they can always be changed.

Saying your boyfriend pays for most of the activities is a bit of a red flag - cause for immigration intent.

Although you have only spent short times in the US, this will be your third trip this year - expect some questioning.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Unfortunately not; I'm not working as of current, and I live with my mother. The university course is part time.

Would the chances of questioning be reduced if I were to go in January instead?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,388 Posts
No one can tell for sure, it's all up to Immigrations.
I've known Europeans who told Immigrations from the start that they were visiting their boyfriend/girlfriend, and where that was fine. One had a steady job in Europe, the other one was a fulltime university student. Both of them had the intention to get married in a couple of years (after saving some more money / after the graduation). Immigrations recognized that they could reside in the US in a perfectly legal way through marriage. But I have also heard from other Europeans in similar situations where one was put on the first plane back, and the other one got in but every time she visited her boyfriend in the US they took her for extra questioning which could take up to 2 or 3 hours extra!
Too bad you don't know up front what it's going to be. :-(

Do you intend to get married? When?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Marriage is a possibility in the distant future, but we'd most definitely be doing that in the proper way, and legally.

I told immigration last time that I was visiting my boyfriend and didn't encounter a problem, but I'm a naturally very worried person and I don't want them to misunderstand and think that I plan to break any laws and such. Would I be better off stating that I'm visiting friends? I actually do plan to visit friends at the same time, as I did last time too, so I wouldn't be lying to them -- it's just that the primary reason is to visit my boyfriend.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,247 Posts
Unfortunately not; I'm not working as of current, and I live with my mother. The university course is part time.

Would the chances of questioning be reduced if I were to go in January instead?
One always has to wonder how anyone without a job, attending university part time can afford to travel to the US three times a year. Tickets these days are not cheap.
If boyfriend is paying that's a bit of a red flag too.

You can only answer truthfully whatever the Immigration folks ask of you and hope for the best.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My mother is the one who pays for my plane tickets (I'm very lucky), and it was only very recently that I became unemployed, but I do see your point. I was also lucky enough to receive a full course grant for my university course, so I do not have to pay for that either.

Is there anything else that could possibly help prove that I do not intend to stay longer than the three weeks stated on my tickets and such? If immigration were to stop me, any idea what sort of questions I should expect, and the likelihood of being deported there and then?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,388 Posts
In your advantage:
* the fact that you came to the US a couple of times, and always left the country on time
* the fact that you don't 'abuse' the VWP by staying 89 days
In your disadvantage:
* no (steady) job, no full-time study, no house that you own

Don't change the story now by acting as if there isn't a boyfriend in the picture, because it might be possible that that one officer made a note about the boyfriend. If you change the story now, they might distrust you. Keep to your story, keep to the truth. (and as they say: "Keep calm and carry on" ;-) -and hope for the best)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you very much. I figured that there's a possibility that they made a note about my boyfriend, but thought I should ask anyway.

Actually, regarding the job thing, I guess I could consider myself a freelance graphics artist. Because the work isn't steady and I have no actual boss or anything, I didn't think something like that would help when it came to proving my ties to my home country -- should I mention it anyway if they ask about ties?

Also, the part-time studying is temporary -- in October 2014, I will be going into full-time studying (easing me back into the process kind of thing). Does that help?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,388 Posts
@usernameistaken: freelance = you can settle wherever you want.

Please, stop worrying. We can write many more pages on this issue, but the core will stay the same: it all depends on immigrations.
I think there's only one thing you can do: don't lie.
(and don't go to the US for 89 days)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,006 Posts
The actual rule is no more than 90 days total in any 180 day period. One other factor in your favor is that you are away from the US for longer than you stay, so no one can accuse you of spending half your time in the US.

At some point, they may start questioning you a bit closer due to the frequency of your visits. But as long as you can show that you're not spending half your time in the US, and you have a return ticket and don't look like you're transporting all your wardrobe over to the US, just answer their questions and you'll be on your way.

Heck, even as a US citizen, I occasionally get a bunch of questions about what I'm doing living overseas, what I do for a living and what kind of company I work for. None of their damn business, IMO, but just answer the question you're asked, add no extra information and it shouldn't take more than a few minutes of your time.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you so much, Bevdeforges. I've spent a total of 37 days in the US in a 165 day period, so that should be okay, right?

Any ideas on what sort of questions they might ask, if they decide to question me a bit more? What's the likelihood of ending up deported on the spot if I visit 3-4 times a year, but still sticking to the 90/180 rule? Sorry for the questions, I'm just so anxious about this stuff!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,370 Posts
Thank you so much, Bevdeforges. I've spent a total of 37 days in the US in a 165 day period, so that should be okay, right?

Any ideas on what sort of questions they might ask, if they decide to question me a bit more? What's the likelihood of ending up deported on the spot if I visit 3-4 times a year, but still sticking to the 90/180 rule? Sorry for the questions, I'm just so anxious about this stuff!
90/180 is a rule of thumb. There is no written rule. Nobody can answer your question. Yes, it looks a bit strange - no bills, no income, no real ties but going on vacation. The decision lies with the immigration officer at point of entry. Answer the questions truthfully. Do not reinvent the wheel!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
50,006 Posts
I wouldn't "push" the 90 day rule at any point. but two to four weeks (total) in a six month period should fly with little or no difficulty.

The kinds of questions they could ask are hard to predict, but will include stuff like "how are you able to visit so often?" (remember, Americans only get 2 measly weeks a year of vacation time), "what do you do back in the UK?" "what are your plans during this visit?" (a variation of the old "business or pleasure" question).

You're probably better off keeping your visits shorter and more frequent rather than longer - and just be sure to leave adequate time outside the US.
Cheers,
Bev
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,388 Posts
And if they ask about your boyfriend, tell them that you intend to get married in the future, but not now. And that you will go for the fiance visa at that time. That way they know you are aware of the rules and regulations, and that might help them to trust you going back to the UK, as you did the past visits.
It's a good idea to start reading about the K-1 process, so you know what you're up to.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh, I wasn't planning to spend anywhere near 90 days in any 180 day period -- I'm way too paranoid for that :p

When you say to keep my visits shorter, what would you recommend?

Twostep, I do actually have a few small bills in my name that are paid for with whatever graphics related work comes along -- should I take copies of those?

Thank you, EVHB. I'll definitely look into that.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top