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This board has been helpful already in alot of ways, but of course, we are finding ourselves in what I think is an uniquely lame situation...

I am a US citizen living in NYC and my fiance is a UK citizen, not too far from London. I received notification on Tuesday (June 15, 2010) that our I-129F has been approved (so there are no issues with proving the relationship, no criminal records, enough money to keep us off welfare, etc). This is wonderful news, but I know we likely still have about 3 months to go (at least, right?) before he can actually come here to marry.

Bear with me if you will; here are the unique bits...

  • When he traveled to the US to see me in January (POE being Raleigh, NC), after truthfully answering the questions posed to him by the Border Patrol Agent (visiting his fiance, how much he has traveled here, intentions to return to UK after 8 day visit), he was told by this agent that he would no longer be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program and would from that point forward be required to have a B-1 to enter the US [we are assuming he meant B-2, but its irrelevant really]. While no indications were made in his passport, there was plenty of typing going on. He has since NOT tried to travel to the US, and I have just been going to the UK to see him. He has received no formal notification of his exclusion from the VWP, just this verbal one from the CBP guard.

  • We had decided before this event to get married anyways, and that he would join me in the US after marriage. So we went ahead and got everything for our I-129f/K-1 in the mail in Mid March. Having learned through that process that it woudl likely take half a year or more for him to receive the K-1, we decided in the meantime to apply for the b-2 so he could come spend some QT with my family before deciding to JOIN it. He learned at the interview that this was an expensive mistake, since one cannot be in application for two visas at once (it was at this point I started doing what is feeling like WAY TOO MUCH internet research on all of this). Before things went sour at the interview, he was asked why he needed a B-2 if he was just planning on a few short visits over the coming months. He told the interviewer that a Border Agent at his last POE told him he woudl need a B-2 if he wanted to enter the US again. Without consulting a computer or anything at that point, the interviewer said "Ok than, You do need one." That was 2 months ago.

  • Since submitting our I-129F/K-1, perhaps due in some small part to the experiences we've had thus far with the US DHS and CBP, we have decided that I will instead JOIN HIM in the UK after we marry here in the US.

I think these are all the relevant DETAILS, so let me put forth our main questions:

1. Is he really excluded from the VWP based on the word of one CBP agent? Will he ever be REeligible (like after we marry)? Is there any appeal process for this action? Will he have to get a b-2 every damn time i bring him home for xmas? Should he just try and get in like normal for a visit (with TONS of supporting documents showing his intention to return)



2. Is it OK that we have changed our minds about him settling here in the US and that instead i will go settle in the UK? The K-1 is still the correct visa for this, even if we will not seek an AoS or want him to immigrate here right now, right?


When posing question #2 to an agent over the phone at the State Dept, he told me that "yes, the k-1 is for someone to travel to the US to get married, and what you chose to do after that is up to you and your husband (stay or go)" When posing the SAME QUESTION to an agent at the CPB helpline, she laughed at me and said the K-1 is only needed if he is coming here to marry AND STAY. In fact, I will put below the conversation I had with this gem of a lady so that you can grasp just how Kafkaesque this is all feeling to me.

Thank you, all of you, for any advice you can give us. This is such a THUMBS DOWN process to go through.

Here is my report on the conversation I had with the CBP officer:

i explained to her that my fiance traveled here in January, after 8 trips to the US over 1.5 years, none lasting longer than about a week, and was told by a border patrol guard that he would no longer be eligible for the visa waiver program. she said if you mentioned you were coming to see your fiance, it was alot more likely that that is what made him exclude you from the program and not the frequency of visits.

i told her we were in the K-1 visa process. i asked her if your exclusion from the VWP was able to be appealed or if there was an expiration on it.

She said 'i mean, if youre in the k-1 process we can see that. we see everything. as long as he can show that he will be returning to his country, letter form employer saying he will be back at work, utility bills, rental agreements, home mortgage papers, like that, than he can come in.'

I explained to her that we, by error, tried to get you a b2 in the meantime, but that it was denied becuase we are already doing the k-1. she very not helpfully snickered and said something like "b2 cancels out the k1'. which obviously she is a slightly miswording, but whatevah!

i went back to my sort of original question, asking that, once we are married, will he than be re-eligible maybe to travel to the US on the visa waiver program? she said "well when he comes over on the k1 and you get married he will already be here" at which point i explained you are just coming here to marry and meet family etc and than i will return to UK with you to live and we will deal with your immigration to the US permanently later.

She again, but louder this time, snickered at me and said the k1 is just for coming to the US to marry and immigrate. I told her that no, i was told by numerous sources that the k-1 is for coming to the US to marry, but than what we do after that is up to us (either you apply for change of status to perm resident or i go to uk with you and we worry about you immigrating {as k3 under form I-130 i think?} LATER in life).

She s******ed louder and said "no, people come here all the time, like on tourist visa, to Las Vegas to get married and then go home. you can just do that."

i said 'but isnt that the WRONG WAY to do it and not the correct LEGAL process."

she says "well people do it all the time"

i decided to move on from this point. and ask one concluding question.

"so if he has all those documents proving he will be going home, and he is in some advanced stage of the K1 process, can you guess at his chances of being allowed in?"

"50-50"

"50-50? really? why 50-50?"

"well if he gets a nice guard or not"

at this point, i felt the conversation had no reason to continue. i blankly said 'thank you very much' and hung up.​
 

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I have only signed up to this to explain my experience because it may help.

I have successfully completed the K1 process and marry my girlfriend in SF in July. Due to fly out this week. Some of what you have written rings a bell but not all.

We applied for a K1 visa back in January. During the process I visited my girlfriend on a couple of occasions using the VWP. I believe there is no problem with this. However to be on the safe side I took a letter from work and a couple other bits and pieces to prove I would be returning home after my visit. Had no problem with this at all. Was never asked for the information at all. Never asked for a B1 visa. Only time I had any questioning was previous trip where I was asked if I was intending to marry my girlfriend and that if I did I would need to complete the right paperwork-K1 visa.

I checked the marriage thing out when we were thinking of applying for the K1 visa to see the options. The K1 is if your boyfriend is marrying you in the US and wishes to stay only. You both can legitimately marry in the US but without the K1 visa he can't stay-legally. Hence what the lady said about Las Vegas-anyone can get married in the US (staying on is when it is a problem). If you marry and your boyfriend/husband returns to the UK then later wishes to return to you in the US then you need to apply for a different visa which I have heard takes a little longer to process. I am assuming that there is a bit of paperwork if you marry here etc but I am not sure of what happens from this end. I am not sure if the paperwork and red tape is any less in the UK than the USA. Hope this helps?

K1 took about 5 months to process. It may cost a bit more but a good attorney can take the pressure off the process and make sure all paperwork is in order (they may/could sort out the B1 query-sounds like someone was having a bad day). You can do it yourself but it needs both of you to be on the ball when completing forms etc. Patience is also a pre-requisite. As is not looking at too many forums which I found scary when we first embarked on the process and less than helpful hence why I am writing.

Hope it works out.
 
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