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Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Old Nov 17th 2005, 8:08 pm
  #1  
Hipass
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Default Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Hi, in less than a week i'm due to fly out (for the first time) to
America
from England, under the 'Visa Waiver Program'.
I plan to visit my girlfriend, and return home in around 2 weeks.

A family member has suggested to me that it's not advisable to mention
the
fact i'm visiting a girlfriend, as it could be seen as an intent to
settle
down there, and I could be told to go home the minute I arrive.

I'm not going to lie to the immigration officers, and have a few tips
on the
'negotiation' at the American airport, but can anyone elaborate further
on
specific 'dos and donts' ?

Thanks
 
Old Nov 17th 2005, 8:35 pm
  #2  
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Originally Posted by Hipass
Hi, in less than a week i'm due to fly out (for the first time) to
America
from England, under the 'Visa Waiver Program'.
I plan to visit my girlfriend, and return home in around 2 weeks.

A family member has suggested to me that it's not advisable to mention
the
fact i'm visiting a girlfriend, as it could be seen as an intent to
settle
down there, and I could be told to go home the minute I arrive.

I'm not going to lie to the immigration officers, and have a few tips
on the
'negotiation' at the American airport, but can anyone elaborate further
on
specific 'dos and donts' ?

Thanks
I did it 8 times, telling the CBP officer that I was visiting my girlfriend and never had one problem. In fact they never even asked to see the proof of strong ties to home in the UK, which you are recommended to carry. But those were only my personal experiences and it is up to the officer on the day, whether he gives you any shit or not.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 8:44 pm
  #3  
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Exclamation Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Originally Posted by NJ_Dave
I did it 8 times, telling the CBP officer that I was visiting my girlfriend and never had one problem. In fact they never even asked to see the proof of strong ties to home in the UK, which you are recommended to carry. But those were only my personal experiences and it is up to the officer on the day, whether he gives you any shit or not.
Some people have trouble, others dont. You may wish to click on the link at the bottom of this post and read my tutorial on travelling to the US. I cover some of the basic points.

The key issue, as I cover in my blog, is immigrant intent. It's your job to prove you don't intend to stay. Not mentioning your gf is not misrepresentation (Unless they ask you directly, are you seeing a gf/bf). You may be genuinely there to see some local sights and hava a vacation, but also see her at the same time. There have been plenty of stories of people being sent back because of the gf/bf connection.

Bringing evidence of ties with you is also a good idea.

Last edited by Stivan7AM; Nov 17th 2005 at 8:54 pm.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 9:07 pm
  #4  
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Originally Posted by Stivan7AM
Some people have trouble, others dont. You may wish to click on the link at the bottom of this post and read my tutorial on travelling to the US. I cover some of the basic points.

The key issue, as I cover in my blog, is immigrant intent. It's your job to prove you don't intend to stay. Not mentioning your gf is not misrepresentation (Unless they ask you directly, are you seeing a gf/bf). You may be genuinely there to see some local sights and hava a vacation, but also see her at the same time. There have been plenty of stories of people being sent back because of the gf/bf connection.

Bringing evidence of ties with you is also a good idea.
Maybe it was just a long list of coincidences that I never had any problems, and I clearly stated that these were my personal experiences and not the general rule. I'd advise anybody visiting a girlfriend/boyfriend in the USA to cover their ass by having lots of documentation to support ties to the UK. And I would also tell people to be truthful, and to wait until the CBP officer asks you any questions rather than volunteering information to them.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 9:56 pm
  #5  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Just as my aforementioned family member predicted (plenty of stories of
people being sent back because of the gf/bf connection).

When you guys/girls say 'evidence of ties', what exactly are you
referring to; job info, family info, debts, etc etc? I'm not quite sure
what printed proof of such things I could bring.

stivan7am; do you have a direct link to the blog you mention, i've had
a look but couldn't find it. Just call me Special Ed.

Speaking hypothetically, if they do ask if the person i'm visiting is a
girlfriend & I reply "yes", what other factors come into play to save
me a quick boot back to the UK, asides from the 'ties' stuff?

I had already planned to be truthful, and hope i'm awake enough after
the long flight to say the bare minimal required.

thanks for all your help!
 
Old Nov 17th 2005, 10:02 pm
  #6  
Kevin Keane
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

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NJ_Dave wrote:

    > Maybe it was just a long list of coincidences that I never had any
    > problems,

That's precisely what it was. Keep in mind that the USA tends to be rather
lenient with Western Europeans, and officers are far more likely to let
things slide.

A second point is that when you visit her many times, the likelihood
problems decreases. This is because you are building up a history of
leaving again and not staying.

A lot also depends on individual impression and how you present yourself
overall. Like it or not, but a businessman is likely to have less problems
than an unkempt hippie.

- --
Please visit my FAQ at http://www.kkeane.com before asking a question here.
It may answer your question. Remember, I am strictly a layperson without
any legal training. I encourage the reader to seek competent legal counsel
rather than relying on usenet newsgroups.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 10:11 pm
  #7  
Kevin Keane
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

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hipass wrote:

    > Hi, in less than a week i'm due to fly out (for the first time) to
    > America
    > from England, under the 'Visa Waiver Program'.
    > I plan to visit my girlfriend, and return home in around 2 weeks.
    >
    > A family member has suggested to me that it's not advisable to mention
    > the fact i'm visiting a girlfriend, as it could be seen as an intent to
    > settle down there, and I could be told to go home the minute I arrive.

That is correct; I agree with this advice. A female friend of mine (I'm
male) from Germany did have problems visiting me. She was eventually
admitted, presumably by convincing the officer that we were just friends
(which, in this case, was true anyway).

    > I'm not going to lie to the immigration officers,

You are absolutely right about that. However, it is perfectly OK to declare
her to be a "friend" rather than a "girlfriend". Remember that these are
not legal terms, and in a very practical sense, a girlfriend is really
"friend with benefits" unless you plan to get married. If you do plan to
get married, she would be a fiancee (and you would need a fiancee visa and
plan to get married within 90 days).

    > and have a few tips
    > on the
    > 'negotiation' at the American airport, but can anyone elaborate further
    > on
    > specific 'dos and donts' ?

The biggest DON'T is to never volunteer any information that isn't asked
for. When you fill out the form on the flight, you will have to give the
address where you will be staying. The officer will probably ask "who lives
at that address?" or something of that nature. You could then say "The
Smith family" (assuming that she is living with her parents) - no need to
even mention her specifically or "Susan Smith" (if she is single) or "Susan
Smith and Helen Miller" (if she has a roommate) or something like that.
Stick to the basics.

You might be asked about how you know them. Again, give the minimum
sufficient answer.

Of course, I am not saying to be evasive (that would be extremely bad!) or
to actively hide information. When directly asked if she is your
girlfriend, you should certainly not lie. Just don't volunteer this
information.

- --
Please visit my FAQ at http://www.kkeane.com before asking a question here.
It may answer your question. Remember, I am strictly a layperson without
any legal training. I encourage the reader to seek competent legal counsel
rather than relying on usenet newsgroups.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 10:39 pm
  #8  
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Originally Posted by Hipass
Hi, in less than a week i'm due to fly out (for the first time) to
America
from England, under the 'Visa Waiver Program'.
I plan to visit my girlfriend, and return home in around 2 weeks.

A family member has suggested to me that it's not advisable to mention
the
fact i'm visiting a girlfriend, as it could be seen as an intent to
settle
down there, and I could be told to go home the minute I arrive.

I'm not going to lie to the immigration officers, and have a few tips
on the
'negotiation' at the American airport, but can anyone elaborate further
on
specific 'dos and donts' ?

Thanks
As long as you have got a return ticket I wouldn't sweat it too much, just say you are visiting a friend which is true.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 10:48 pm
  #9  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Hi Kevin,

Great, thanks for all the tips!

I have already filled out the form you speak of (which was requested
upon purchasing the flight ticket), and have obviously given the girls
address. She lives on her own, so I can't say i'm visiting a family as
such.

When it comes to answering to how I know them, i'll have to reply "the
internet", which in my eyes/ears, doesn't sound too impressive at all.

We have no intention of getting married, it's nothing more than an
initial meeting to enjoy each others company.

Since the possibility of being turned away has come to my attention
i've become increasingly worried about this, i'm dreading the
possibility of being turned away, despite having no intention
what-so-ever of staying longer that my return ticket dictates (I have a
job i'll lose if i dont get back in time).
After a 9 hour flight I forsee my mind not working at full capacity,
but certainly wont be evasive or hide any information.

Thanks again,
One Worried Brit.
 
Old Nov 17th 2005, 11:07 pm
  #10  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Note; found the link to your site, and the info on strong ties etc,
thanks
 
Old Nov 17th 2005, 11:24 pm
  #11  
Kevin Keane
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

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hipass wrote:

    > Hi Kevin,
    >
    > Great, thanks for all the tips!
    >
    > I have already filled out the form you speak of (which was requested
    > upon purchasing the flight ticket), and have obviously given the girls
    > address. She lives on her own, so I can't say i'm visiting a family as
    > such.
    >
    > When it comes to answering to how I know them, i'll have to reply "the
    > internet", which in my eyes/ears, doesn't sound too impressive at all.

Remember, you don't want to impress. You want to convey that she is closer
to the friend side than the fiancee side of "girlfriend". And that you have
never met in person will certainly help establish that it's not a serious
relationship.

    > We have no intention of getting married, it's nothing more than an
    > initial meeting to enjoy each others company.

Sounds very much like "friend" to me.

    > Since the possibility of being turned away has come to my attention
    > i've become increasingly worried about this, i'm dreading the
    > possibility of being turned away, despite having no intention
    > what-so-ever of staying longer that my return ticket dictates (I have a
    > job i'll lose if i dont get back in time).

THAT, hipass, is a piece of information you need to have ready for the
officer. If they challenge you and accuse you of planning to marry, explain
that you have a job to return to. If they don't believe you right then, it
might help to have some recent pay stubs, maybe even some paperwork that
indicates future plans for that job (maybe bring some reading material
related to an upcoming project, for instance).

    > After a 9 hour flight I forsee my mind not working at full capacity,
    > but certainly wont be evasive or hide any information.

No reason to worry. From all you are saying here, she really isn't a
girlfriend in the first place, just a female friend whom you have never
met.

- --
Please visit my FAQ at http://www.kkeane.com before asking a question here.
It may answer your question. Remember, I am strictly a layperson without
any legal training. I encourage the reader to seek competent legal counsel
rather than relying on usenet newsgroups.
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Old Nov 17th 2005, 11:35 pm
  #12  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Alrighty, if it gets that far and is deemed necessary, I'll try to
explain in as little words as possible that this is our first meeting.

After it being suggested, I have trawled through my bank related
documentation and pulled out numerous loan agreements and payment
stubs. I'll try to dig out some work related reading material just in
case.

Indeed, that is just what she is, I guess I was just worried the
officers would see it as more than that.

Again, for the 100th time, thanks a lot, I feel a lot happier about
travelling now.
 
Old Nov 18th 2005, 8:57 am
  #13  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Yup got a return ticket, guess I was making this out to be more of a
problem that it is after all.. thanks
 
Old Nov 18th 2005, 3:16 pm
  #14  
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

Originally Posted by Kevin Keane
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The biggest DON'T is to never volunteer any information that isn't asked
for. When you fill out the form on the flight, you will have to give the
address where you will be staying. The officer will probably ask "who lives
at that address?" or something of that nature. You could then say "The
Smith family" (assuming that she is living with her parents) - no need to
even mention her specifically or "Susan Smith" (if she is single) or "Susan
Smith and Helen Miller" (if she has a roommate) or something like that.
Stick to the basics.

You might be asked about how you know them. Again, give the minimum
sufficient answer.

Of course, I am not saying to be evasive (that would be extremely bad!) or
to actively hide information. When directly asked if she is your
girlfriend, you should certainly not lie. Just don't volunteer this
information.

- --
Please visit my FAQ at http://www.kkeane.com before asking a question here.
It may answer your question. Remember, I am strictly a layperson without
any legal training. I encourage the reader to seek competent legal counsel
rather than relying on usenet newsgroups.
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I think Afolynskia (sp?) gave a great example of how to answer questions at the P.O.E:

Inspection Officer" "Do you know what time it is?"
You: "Yes".

The more you say unbidded, the more questions will arise. I think a perfectly adequate response when they ask you what the purpose of your visit is would be "vacation". You are not lying and are providing the information you are being asked for.
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Old Nov 18th 2005, 5:18 pm
  #15  
Hipass
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Default Re: Visiting girlfriend in USA, from UK

funnily enough thats the exact test my uncle tried on me, and i failed
miserably.. haha..

are you implying that the shorter my answers, the more questions i'll
find myself being asked? or the opposite?

vacation.. indeed, it IS a vacation, with a friend... i'll take that
into account, cheers!
 

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