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Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:17 am
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Unhappy Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

went to the UK on March 12, 2008 with the intention of meeting my boyfriend in person for the first time. he and I have been speaking to each other for just under one year. We met via Xbox and have since spoken on the phone as well as VOIP and Xbox, everyday since we'd met. I was going to the UK to find out if he and I were just as compatible in person, and if so I had hopes of staying and one day if still had the same feelings for each other over time, get married.
When I arrived to the UK, I was instructed that I must go through immigration. With passport in hand I preceded to the counter. The agent asked a variety of questions including, "How long do you intend on visiting the UK?" I wasn't very sure because what if my boyfriend and I didn't get along and I would need to go back right away. But I went ahead and said, "How long can I stay?" The agent then told me I would have to have a certain time. I then told her, "Two months". At the time I was asked how much cash I had and I told her that I had $600USD on hand, as well as $1500 in 401K (retirement), and $400 cash in the bank. Then, I was asked if I had a return ticket, and when I told the agent no, she asked why. I then told her, "Since I wasn't sure if we'd (my boyfriend and I) would get along then I am not sure." I was then instructed to sit down, instead of being let go through immigration.
About 25 minutes later I was taken into a room where I was videotaped, given a retinal scan, photographed, and fingerprinted. Before I go further let me say, I haven't been out of Alabama or even flown before. I had never done anything wrong other than getting a speeding ticket and a seat belt ticket about 7 years ago when I was 21. I've worked since I was 16 and have paid my taxes since I was that age. I worked in Human Resources/Accounts receivable for the past 3 years. I was late 1 time in my entire history there. I worked about 12 hours a week and made $430 salary each week. I felt like a criminal when I was trying to see my boyfriend. I was absolutely petrified.
After all of this was done I was taken to baggage claim. I was then instructed to take my luggage to a set of metal tables and it was gone through by another agent. My journal was then taken from me with various papers in it. I was taken back to a detention room and my luggage was put into a different room. I have high blood pressure and need to take my medicine twice daily and hadn't taken my second dose as of that time. My journal wasn't given back to me at that time. I was in this room for about an hour then I was taken by a supervisor and given 36 questions. I was asked about the time I wanted to stay, how much money I had, how I met my boyfriend, what he did for a living, what I did for a living, etc. At this time I still had no idea why I was being held. My boyfriend was outside in arrivals waiting on me.
Another hour or so later the agent who asked me the questions came back into the room and told me that I had been refused entry. I cried and begged to see my boyfriend for just a moment and she told me no. I was in detention for a total of about 22.5 hours and i was sent back to Alabama.
I realize now they may have thought I was trying to come there to work. I was under the belief that once you went to a country, found a job, then you'd apply for a visa. I thought it was like getting a work permit in the states. How can you apply for a work visa if you don't have a job yet is what I thought. I also thought that was the only reason that you would need to apply for a visa, was to get a job. My boyfriend receives incapacity benefits right now, so I can see why they thought like they did. But every time I tried to explain this to them, why I didn't hold a work permit visa, it's like no one would listen to me. Again, I was a first time traveller, I'd never flown, I was by myself, I was in a foreign country. I didn't know what to do or say. I didn't even know what to expect. I realize that I was foolish for not researching what I was doing. But it's too late for that now.
When my boyfriend called the agent she told him that I was refused entry into the UK, he said "The truth is I was going to marry her." He said that she said, "Oh really, well she needs a visa for that too." He told her that he said it out of desperation, but she wrote it in her report anyway. He and I had went through so much to be together already. He just wanted me to be able to stay.
Every time I think of what happened and what I went through I can't help but cry. My boyfriend and I love each other very much. I am incredibly upset because neither of us are sure as to what we're supposed to do. I am so scared that we won't be able to be together. I don't know what kind of visa I am supposed to apply for. I don't know if I can apply for one, if I should apply for one. I have no idea what to do. I am begging if you can help me, please help me. Thank you so much for any help that you can give me. I sincerely appreciate it.
I have no idea what to do. I am scared to death I won't be able to be with him. I'm trying to stay optimistic, but it's hard. My heart is broken. I am desperate for help. I've sent letters to everyone I can think of. I don't know what to do. I can't stop crying, if anyone can help me, please I'm begging you for advice.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:28 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Well sweetie.... you had the best of intentions, but the immigration officer did the right thing.

Not too long ago what you did was perfectly legal, but these days you need a fiance(e) visa to enter the UK with intent to marry there (unless of course you are a UK citizen/permanent resident/EU citizen).

You'd need to contact a UK immigration attorney to see where your future immigration status to the UK stands; you will not be allowed in without sorting this out. However -- you did the right thing in telling the truth when asked, and so did your boyfriend/fiance.

A dual-national marriage takes more planning. Where do you intend to live? The UK? The US? Are you certain you will marry?

Were I you, I'd have HIM visit here (unless he is not eligible to visit under the Visa Waiver Program) and I would post in this forum's US Married-Based Immigration Forum to get up to speed on what it takes to marry in the US. Most of us have some experience with other countries' systems as well.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:50 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Thats exactly it, what if we don't get along. I don't think that will happen to be honest, but you never know. If we got married we'd want to live in the UK. But he says he wouldn't mind living in the US. I sent an email to an immigration lawyer just a minute ago, I don't know if they can help much. I'm so sad right now, I just don't know what to do. I am worried that there will be nothing I can do about it. I mean are there any alternatives?
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:53 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Only ever late for work once,eh..Paid taxes since you were 16,eh... no seatbelt,eh...never been out of Alabama,eh....righto top of the terrorist list
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:58 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Jeeze thanks. No, had a mom that would smack the **** out of me. And I had a job that I got to come and go at. The only time I was late was when my bosses boss was there (I'm talking about my last job). And my grandmother could always get me out of tickets, until she had a stroke, she was on the civil service board. And I havent ever been out of Alabama. I ask that you not make fun of me, I'm already upset enough. And since I've worked since I was 16, then I've been paying taxes since then.

Last edited by melissajean; Mar 19th 2008 at 4:00 am.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:03 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by melissajean View Post
Thats exactly it, what if we don't get along. I don't think that will happen to be honest, but you never know. If we got married we'd want to live in the UK. But he says he wouldn't mind living in the US. I sent an email to an immigration lawyer just a minute ago, I don't know if they can help much. I'm so sad right now, I just don't know what to do. I am worried that there will be nothing I can do about it. I mean are there any alternatives?
There aren't any alternatives that will let you spend a lot of time together before marriage, no, unless you can get creative and visit each other in countries that aren't either the UK or the US (eg Canada). What you need to understand is that for the most part, it is very, very, very difficult to emigrate ANYWHERE from ANYWHERE (legally) these days, and that due to terrorism and immigrant paranoia, more and more questions are being asked and the "easy" routes to immigration, like marriage, are being scrutinised harder.

Many of us, including myself, met our foreign spouses online. Why not post an introduction in the USA/The Trailer Park forum and mention that you've got a British boyfriend/fiance. We've been in your shoes.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:09 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by melissajean View Post
Jeeze thanks. No, had a mom that would smack the **** out of me. And I had a job that I got to come and go at. The only time I was late was when my bosses boss was there (I'm talking about my last job). And my grandmother could always get me out of tickets, until she had a stroke, she was on the civil service board. And I havent ever been out of Alabama. I ask that you not make fun of me, I'm already upset enough. And since I've worked since I was 16, then I've been paying taxes since then.
Calm down and have a deep breath....

I know that what you are saying is that you are a law abiding, tax-paying citizen.... of the US. You need to do more research on visas to visit and to marry in other countries, and to have someone do the same for travel to the US. The fact that your passport is new means that you haven't encountered as many grumpy / suspicious / half-asleep immigration officials as those of us who've travelled more frequently have.

What you need to understand is that no matter how awful it was for you (and I am SURE it was awful, I would feel the same), the immigration official did the correct thing, and now you've got to really research to see what your options are. You've found a community who will help so long as you see it as research and not venting at immigration. The Brits will quickly teach you that US immigration is FAR nastier to non-citizens than the UK immigration is to non-UK citizens, and I agree. So, breathe.....
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:15 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

I just wonder since he wants to come here anyway if it'd be easier for him to come here. I just want to be with him, I don't care if we have to live in a hut in Antarctica for crying out loud. I don't even know what kind of visa to apply for, if they'll understand my side, etc. All I know is I got my passport back with the black cross through the stamp, sent on my merry way, and now I'm staying with my brother. The immigration officer told me all I had to do was apply for a visa, but I just don't believe it's as simple as that. I keep thinking back, if I would've just said two weeks. But, Paul, my b/f, told the immigration officer he'd buy me a ticket back, right then, but she said no it was too late. How can they be so insensitive. I screamed for him, I was begging her to let me see him. I cried and told her I loved him and I asked her to please just let me see him through the glass. I pleaded with her, I was on my hands and knees, and she said no. That just keeps replaying in my mind over and over. I know it wasn't her fault, she was doing her job. It's because I was so close to him, and he heard me yelling for him. I wasn't mean to anyone or anything like that, they were nice people, it just hurt. I'm sorry for venting. It's like no one understands and now I've found people that do and I want to say it aloud. Again I'm so sorry.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:23 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by melissajean View Post
The immigration officer told me all I had to do was apply for a visa, but I just don't believe it's as simple as that. I keep thinking back, if I would've just said two weeks. But, Paul, my b/f, told the immigration officer he'd buy me a ticket back, right then, but she said no it was too late. How can they be so insensitive. I screamed for him, I was begging her to let me see him. I cried and told her I loved him and I asked her to please just let me see him through the glass. I pleaded with her, I was on my hands and knees, and she said no.
They aren't insensitive; they are doing their jobs. Again, if you want to hear from other folks who've walked in your shoes, introduce yourself in the USA forum. You do have to deal with the emotional side though -- being so emotional is likely to work AGAINST you. There are families around the world who have been separated for years due to immigration issues. I'd better tell you that before you look for a ton of sympathy -- parent and child separated, man and wife, for years. You do need to meet your online boyfriend and sort things out, but you also need to get a grip on reality: this is not the end of the world and you do not need to live in Antarctica and you will need to be much more emotionally "hard" to get through any immigration process.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:32 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Thank you. I've always done things by the book you see. So, when things go wrong I'm just like sad instead of let me do something about it....okay...phew I'm so sorry. First, I have to meet him in person. Since I was refused entry to the UK, I'm assuming it's best to not go back there right away. So, he'll just have to come here or I can go somewhere else over there. France, Spain, etc. Unfortunately, I won't speak the language so lets hope I only encounter people I can understand lol. Since I was refused entry to the UK, I'm guessing they will be looking at my Passport closely and want to make sure that I have a return ticket, money, a place to stay. My problem is I try to do everything all at once. Now, he told me that his mother could sponsor me if I went back to the UK. But if I did that, and produced a return ticket and had a reasonable amount of money, probably about the same amount as I did last time. Do you think I would have a problem? See what I wanted to do, after all of this happened, was apply for a work holiday visa. Because, lets be honest, we have to make sure we love each other in person as much as we do now. That way I could stay with him, work, etc. But, since he told them the marriage thing, I don't know if that'd work. I mean, one day maybe we could get married, but we won't know until we're together. Basically, I have no idea what to apply for...
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 4:47 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Snowbunny is giving you good advice. Take some time to calm down and then introduce yourself in the USA forum where you can ask for more guidance.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 5:04 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by melissajean View Post
See what I wanted to do, after all of this happened, was apply for a work holiday visa. Because, lets be honest, we have to make sure we love each other in person as much as we do now. That way I could stay with him, work, etc.
There is no work holiday visa for Americans in the UK or vice versa. And that's largely an American policy decision (don't blame the Brits! these things have to work both ways and the US has no work holiday visa agreement with any country). It is very, very hard to get permission to work and/or to live in the US, which is part of the reason why there are so many *illegal* immigrants. Consequently, it's hard for Americans to go abroad and work or live for an extended period of time.

No government cares about love. It's all about power and money, and immigration policy is no different. You have to nurse your wounds and learn how to survive the system. I will say that the British immigration officer you encountered was *far* more restrained and reasonable than I'd ever expect. You live in the South; what happens when someone goes hysterical in front of a cop? Even if you've done no wrong, what is their reaction likely to be?

Introduce yourself -- though be warned -- Brits are very blunt and say exactly what they think. If your boyfriend is thinking of living here -- have him join. He speaks the language.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 6:50 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Hi Melissajean, I sympathise with you but don't lose heart. A similar thing happened to me in August 2000 going from the UK to Australia to be with my gifrlfriend. I was refused entry for a variety of reasons, and was told I'd never get a visa to come to Australia, even for a holiday.
I was luckier than you though and was allowed to spend an hour with my girlfriend.
I told her that because i couldn't get into Aus we should end it then.

I was so depressed on the way back to the UK ( in the same plane I had come in on) I didn't talk to anyone for the whole trip.
Luckily, within an hour of my flight touching down at Heathrow my mobile rang and it was my girlfriend telling me she was arranging to come to the UK to be with me .
When she got here we were married within 3 weeks and we decided to use a Migration Agent to see if we could both go to Australia to live.
I was allowed a Spouse Visa and we have been here since Jan 2002 and I have been an Australian Citizen since Jan 2007.
The best advice I can give you is to get in touch with a Migration Agent, the one we used was in Australia and is not there any more but thewre are a few on this ex pats site. Also there is a wealth of info on these forums, I wish I'd known about them when I went through it.

Good Luck to you both. I hope you get to be as happy as we are.

Cheers, Kevin. If I can be of any assistance, just send me a PM on here.,
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 11:34 am
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by lionheart View Post
Why not get your boyfriend to visit you in the USA? Maybe there is a secret something holding him back, like a wife and kids or a prison cell. Yours must be one of the silliest stories I have read in many years. You are too naive for your own good, my dear. Stick to your own country if I were you...there must be thousands of eligible men over there.
Well don't hold back anything....

She is naive about the process but her British boyfriend didn't help matters either. Most people don't realise just how complicated it is to get permission to move country, and even more complicated to actually do it.
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Old Mar 19th 2008, 3:13 pm
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Default Re: Absolutely Crushed, someone please help me!

Originally Posted by lionheart View Post
Why not get your boyfriend to visit you in the USA? Maybe there is a secret something holding him back, like a wife and kids or a prison cell. Yours must be one of the silliest stories I have read in many years. You are too naive for your own good, my dear. Stick to your own country if I were you...there must be thousands of eligible men over there.
Now that's not fair. He's not holding anything back. He wanted to come here, but I insisted on coming there because I would like to have seen your country. You can't help who you love and if it takes 20 years for me to be with him, then that's just the way it has to be. Look I am not an idiot, I'm 27, I've had an incredibly rough life. Inconceivably rough. I have been married and divorced. I am not easly deceived. I can see right through people. Just because I was not familiar with these screwy laws, that when you think about it are put in place by morons, doesn't mean that I should give up. If I wanted a man over here, I would have one. But that's just not the way it works, now is it? I've been there, done that. I settled. And I'll be damned if I ever do it again. It may be a 'silly' story to you, but it's the truth. Obviously you have no clue as to what love means or is or what lengths you would go to or what you're capable of when you care about someone. You know what's funny about all of this...my family, from generations ago, are from England/Ireland. Yet I cannot travel freely and it's all because some facist idiots decide they don't like the world the way it is. These laws are ridiculous! What you have to go through to be with someone is insane, but I know that no matter the time, this will be worth it. I know I will never find what I have with him, with someone else. And I won't let you, Lionheart, or anyone else sway my opinion. I'm sorry to you other people for ranting for a moment, but I am not going to have that defeatist attitude anymore. I thank you guys for your help. Now I am going to stick around here and get things going and try to figure out where to begin. Thanks again. Yeah Snowbunny, I know about the Brits being blunt, I get that from my b/f alot lol. I know most of the time they mean no harm though, just trying to help.

Edited 2 say: What I mean by screwy laws is that they don't protect as much as they were set in place to protect. You still have illegal immigrants just like we do, you still have criminals getting into the country like we do in the US. These laws were set in place to protect us, but they don't really. I mean, sure, they catch the occasional immigrant. Think about it though, they'd be more clever if they were trying to beat the system. It just hinders people like me and you guys.

Last edited by melissajean; Mar 19th 2008 at 3:15 pm. Reason: Clarification....
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