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90 days at a time, but... ?

90 days at a time, but... ?

Old May 28th 2009, 10:27 pm
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Default 90 days at a time, but... ?

Hello all,

A while ago I had read part of a thread that had to do with, I think, the visa waiver and someone staying in the US for 90 days at a time, but they'd leave after the 90 days then wait a week or so (?) then return to the US and stay for another 90 days.

I tried searching for threads and had no luck in finding it, so forgive me if I'm asking something you've all been over before. There's a lot of threads out there with 'visa waiver' as you can imagine.

So, here's the long and short of it. Can my fiancé enter the US on a visa waiver, stay for 89 days, leave the US then return a couple of weeks later and do it all over again? Or is there a similar method this is done by? Or am I being a complete nit-wit?

If this sounds like a very stupid question, then blame my heart. As I know from some of your own stories, you can understand how painful it is when you miss the one you love so much.
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I'm not looking to do anything underhanded or illegal. It's more that I don't know if there's a loop hole in the system or I've misunderstood how the process works. So your help in clearing this up for me would be appreciated.
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Old May 28th 2009, 10:29 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

the rule of thumb is to spend as much time out as you do in..ie. 89 days visiting your "friend" in the US then 89 days in the UK before trying to return
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Old May 28th 2009, 10:49 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

As Lisa says, rule of thumb is spend more time outside the USA than inside. i.e., 90 days in the USA, then 90+ days outside the USA before attempting to return.

It is certainly legal to come back sooner, there's no law against it, and one can certainly try. It all depends on the POE officer of the day, whether he allows it or not. Just have to weigh the risks of being turned away at the POE, or waiting longer for a better chance of entry.

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Old May 28th 2009, 11:34 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
So, here's the long and short of it. Can my fiancé enter the US on a visa waiver, stay for 89 days, leave the US then return a couple of weeks later and do it all over again? Or is there a similar method this is done by? Or am I being a complete nit-wit?
The background of your story will help you get better answers.
Your UKC fiancee is still married and getting a divorce in the UK. You probably want to get married to each other but she is not free to marry. You anticipate that her UK divorce will take about 6 months.
You would like her to be able to live with you in the US now, and get her permanent status here via marriage once she is free to marry.

IMO, that will make a very big difference in the answers. First off, did I get it accurately?

Every time a person enters the US as a non-immigrant (visitor in this case), she must convince the border agent that she's here for a legitimate 'tourist' activity and that they will leave the US. 'Hanging with my man' is unfortunately not one of those activities, not for half a year at a stretch. She is supposed to have a home outside the US which she does not intend to abandon. If she's not working, DHS eyebrows go up because most of us are still working. If she spends half the year here, she could be liable for US income taxes. "Living" in the US might mean something different to the border agent than to you two, but his word is law (especially when using the VWP).

It's an incredibly complex question (it looked simple enough, didn't it) and there are no guarantees. Back in the day, it was almost common for people to live here on the VWP, doing a border run every few months. That doesn't work now, although you will meet plenty of people who will tell you that their friend did that for ages. Immigration is a lot tougher now and agents are watching a lot more data.

I'm not saying don't do it, I am saying it's not as simple as it sounds and there is a lot to consider. You might search for user therock and read his threads. He just got the very hard end of the stick.
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Old May 28th 2009, 11:45 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

There's a good chance, but no guarantee, that you'll get away with it once. Three or four or five times... less likely. There is usually no penalty for being turned away except that you can't use the VWP again (ever) and must always get a visa to travel.

Go for 85 days, not 90, to give yourself some margin against cancelled flights. Even one day of overstay also means you can never use the VWP again.

If you can afford (financially and emotionally) to visit, say, 10 days out of every month, that will probably look better to CBP. Again, there is no guarantee.

Never lie to an immigration officer. Only answer the question asked. Do not volunteer that you're here to see your fiancee, but if asked whether you are romantically involved with the person you're staying with, don't deny it.
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Old May 29th 2009, 5:08 am
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

My experience is 88 days in USA on VWP, then 5 days in Europe, then 89 days in USA on VWP. On both occsasions, the POE officer asked the 2-3 standard questions and no more.

But, as it has been said many times, it is a "crap shoot".
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Old May 29th 2009, 11:08 am
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

If she's planning on staying for more than 90 days, she supposed to have a visa. I'd suspect that your fiance is planning to stay more than 90 days because the sole reason to travel out and back is to keep it under 90 days. She may get over doing that once, twice, or maybe even more but sooner or later they'll bounce her and then the party will be over.

Essentially, she's an intending immigrant. It's just a matter of when.
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Old May 29th 2009, 2:36 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
...I'm not looking to do anything underhanded or illegal. It's more that I don't know if there's a loop hole in the system or I've misunderstood how the process works...
It's lucky that all those MPs in the UK weren't doing anything "underhanded or illegal", and were just working the loopholes in the system!
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Old May 29th 2009, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Thank you everyone for your replies. Only for the sake of clarity I'll repeat what I said in my opening post. We're not looking to do anything illegal or underhanded.

meauxna, you got it mostly right. This wouldn't take place until 'after' she's divorced. I'm looking at the time frame from when I start the K1 process by submitting my forms to the time when she receives her K1.

It's not our intention to have her come here and stay over the 90 days. What I'm exploring is how to reduce our time apart from each other as much as possible.
What can I say? It's love.

So, as I understand it, the first time she enters the US on a visa waiver isn't an issue. The second time, say she returns about a month later, is a 50/50 chance?

Again, thank you for your help. Being apart from each other is brutal.

While I would like to give back to the forum, I have very little education about the visa process to do anyone much good, but I will offer what I can.
For those of you who find yourselves so far from the one you love, Vonage has free unlimited long distance to the UK. Not only that, but Vonage does sell their service in the UK and Vonage to Vonage calls are not limited by the Fair Usage clause. It may not be much, but I hope someone finds this useful.
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Old May 29th 2009, 3:22 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by dbj1000 View Post
It's lucky that all those MPs in the UK weren't doing anything "underhanded or illegal", and were just working the loopholes in the system!
Sorry, I'm not sure what you're trying to say. What's an MP?
Was it a joke about the difference a loophole and something being illegal?
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Old May 29th 2009, 3:35 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
...So, as I understand it, the first time she enters the US on a visa waiver isn't an issue. The second time, say she returns about a month later, is a 50/50 chance?
No, that's incorrect. Nobody can tell you what the chances are on each visit. You can't use odds and statistics like that. Each time she visits with <90 days between visits the chances of her being sent back to the UK increase significantly... but there are only two possible outcomes each time. Either she's admitted, or she's sent home.

Even if she DOES leave >90days between each visit, she still may get turned away at some point. The point is, the VWP isn't meant for people who are trying to maximize their time in the US in an attempt to live here.

So, there is no loophole. There's simply a system intended for tourists and business visitors which sometimes gets abused by people who want to live here.
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Old May 29th 2009, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by dbj1000 View Post
No, that's incorrect. Nobody can tell you what the chances are on each visit. You can't use odds and statistics like that. Each time she visits with <90 days between visits the chances of her being sent back to the UK increase significantly... but there are only two possible outcomes each time. Either she's admitted, or she's sent home.

Even if she DOES leave >90days between each visit, she still may get turned away at some point. The point is, the VWP isn't meant for people who are trying to maximize their time in the US in an attempt to live here.

So, there is no loophole. There's simply a system intended for tourists and business visitors which sometimes gets abused by people who want to live here.
Well yes, of course, she's going to live here. That's what the K1 is all about. The question of the visa waiver and her being here for multiple lengths of 90 days was to find out if it's possible, what risks are involved, and to learn from the experience and knowledge of others here.
It might be that I haven't had my coffee this morning so I'm not up to speed yet, but I get the sense that you are having an issue with me asking about this subject. If that's the case I'm at a loss to understand why my attempting to educate myself about the visa waiver should be upsetting you.
On the other hand, if I'm misunderstanding you, then I apologize for missing your point.
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Old May 29th 2009, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
So, as I understand it, the first time she enters the US on a visa waiver isn't an issue. The second time, say she returns about a month later, is a 50/50 chance?
She can get turned away the first time. No one is guaranteed entry unless they are a US citizen and it's not the admitting officers job to prove you are allowed in and will comply with the rules. If she treats the system with respect then there is an excellent chance that the system will treat her with respect. If she tries to use it to her advantage then bad things can happen.

Think of it this way. You tell a friend to pop round to your house for a beer or two when he's bored. If he comes round for a few hours on a Friday or Saturday night every couple of weeks you're going to be fine with it. If he turns up at noon and leaves at midnight every day then pretty quickly you wont let him in and rescind the offer for him to come round.
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Old May 29th 2009, 4:05 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
I get the sense that you are having an issue with me asking about this subject. If that's the case I'm at a loss to understand why my attempting to educate myself about the visa waiver should be upsetting you.
Because you are asking a question that has been asked pretty much every day for the last x number of years and everyone who asks it doesn't want to hear the truth that there is no set pattern to it and they all think that they know best and can make it work in the favor. You may not want to sift through the many threads on this topic but doing so would have answered your question 1000 times over.
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Old May 29th 2009, 4:26 pm
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Default Re: 90 days at a time, but... ?

Originally Posted by SwissMan View Post
Well yes, of course, she's going to live here. That's what the K1 is all about. The question of the visa waiver and her being here for multiple lengths of 90 days was to find out if it's possible, what risks are involved, and to learn from the experience and knowledge of others here.
It might be that I haven't had my coffee this morning so I'm not up to speed yet, but I get the sense that you are having an issue with me asking about this subject. If that's the case I'm at a loss to understand why my attempting to educate myself about the visa waiver should be upsetting you.
On the other hand, if I'm misunderstanding you, then I apologize for missing your point.
I'm not particularly upset, other than at the endless repetition of the same questions on these boards like Duncan pointed out.

But Duncan's right that this is one of the questions where the person asking rarely accepts the answer because it's not what they want to hear.

I hope that's not the the case with you. Your fiancee can use the VWP as often as she feels like risking it, right up until the time she gets sent back home instead of admitted.

The reason there's no guarantee or "right answer" to your question is that the VWP was not intended as a method of maximizing someone's time in the US. At some stage your fiancee may or may not encounter an immigration officer who thinks that she's misusing the VWP to try and live here. At that point, which could be the 1st visit or the 25th, she will be sent home and will not be able to use the VWP again. That's probably not an experience you want her to have.

So, my advice is to stick to the 90-days-in-90-days-out "rule", and hope for the best. You may find this frustrating, inconvenient, heartbreaking... but it's a better option than having your fiancee shipped back home and making her future admission into the US much more difficult.
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