Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Old Mar 30th 2017, 2:06 pm
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Default Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

This sorry state of affairs commenced just over a year ago, at Detroit airport, when I was taken aside for secondary questioning for 2.5 hours, detained for roughly 24 and then eventually put back on a plane to where I came from!
I’m a UK expat worker (Engineering Consultant, currently in South Africa) but UK resident.

Anyhoo, I’m in the twilight-zone of that pesky thing described as 214(b)- “intending immigrant”.

Not that I am an intending immigrant, simply a chap who wishes to visit his two children who are US Citizens during rotational leave.

I’ve travelled to, lived and worked in the USA, totally legally, over the past 16 years or so but only spent possibly about 5 of those 16 years in the United States.

I was working in Turkey in 2015, when my dear old mum succumbed to terminal cancer. After completing the arrangements for her funeral, decided that I needed some time off and took a 10 week break in the USA to help cheer myself up. This involved vacation with my two children and their mother.

Upon return to the UK, I started sorting out the details of my mothers estate but the mother of my children was complaining that I should be over seeing the kids. So 10 weeks after returning from the USA I took another trip out to the USA.

This is where I became familiar with the code 214(b).

At the time, the officer that dealt with me was not the type of person you’d easily relate to. She was extremely rude and had zero aptitude for dealing with people who were not actually criminals. I assumed it would be the usual routine of giving a hard time and then being allowed to proceed on my journey but that was not to be the case. I had my ESTA revoked – I still have no idea if this is permanent or not?

The following shift were much more agreeable and described my situation as a “simple administrative error”. And that I could easily resolve the matter by getting a Visa in London before coming back.

I wasn’t convinced at all and unfortunately I was 100% correct.

When I was in London three weeks later, for my Visa appointment, I was advised that I was “in a lot of trouble” – I must have looked somewhat astonished, as I certainly hadn’t done anything to be in trouble.
The lady behind the screen told me that I had previously over-stayed in the USA and been denied entry twice.
I explained that information was incorrect but there appears to be avoidance of anything that actually involves facts in your favour.

At the end of the “talking to” I was given the 214(b) letter and told not to come back unless my circumstances changed significantly. It’s fair to say my circumstances changed significantly after receiving that letter of explanation! I was totally stunned in fact, especially with several previous visits to the embassy under very different circumstances and outcomes.

When I arrived in South Africa in the New Year – I made an appointment to visit the US Consulate here, it’s much more agreeable than the one in London as I live near Edinburgh.

I had a letter from my employer requesting a B1/B2 Visa for business trips and meetings as they have 4 US locations.
Visa was denied and I was advised that I would need to apply for a work permit to live and work in the USA. I explained that I was not going to be living or working in the USA but that was of no interest.

I went back for a third attempt this month and was asked why I had previously applied for a B1/B2 Visa to live and work in the USA…. :O

I explained that I had not applied to work in the USA, simply for a visa to attend potential meetings or business discussions. The only person that mentioned work was the interviewer.

To cut a very long story short, I brought a sheaf of documentary evidence with me to show proof that I had every reason not to stay in the USA but they were not interested in looking at it.

The interviewer advised, that, as I had spent such a long time in the USA previously (even if that was under a work permit/Visa) and had two US children, it would be extremely difficult to overcome the 214(b) status.

I asked why would they not look at my past history, that shows I’ve always travelled to the USA, according to my travel documents.
This was of no interest but I was told that I could apply again and there may be a different outcome.
I replied that I had everything I could possibly bring with me to demonstrate that I was not an intending immigrant so there would be no further personal applications to travel to the USA.

Has anybody here been in a similar predicament?

No intention of “immigrating” to the USA but denied under 214(b).

The obvious solution would appear to be that I should get married to the mother of my children (we have a 15 year relationship now) but this would simply result in me actually becoming an immigrant to the USA.

It’s totally bizarre from my perspective.

Until this matter is resolved, I can only realistically expect to see my children, possibly, once per year, for the remainder of their childhood, which was never part of my plans as a father. Since March 2016 my children have visited me in the UK and we plan to have a holiday here in South Africa in the middle of the year.

I've no desire to repeat the crappy experience of being detained again, so I'd be very reluctant to consider using ESTA, unless of course I could be pre-approved for US Immigration at a local airport and at least denied entry before getting on a flight.

Last edited by gtd2000; Mar 30th 2017 at 2:35 pm. Reason: formatting
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 3:05 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Try waiting 12+ months, then apply for ESTA again. You must declare the denied visa(s), so ESTA may come back denied, but you won't know until you try.

Why don't you want to immigrate to the USA, to be there with your children full time? You can still work overseas if you want to.

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Old Mar 30th 2017, 3:12 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Thank you for your reply Noorah.

I think the main reason is that I'd never had any difficulties travelling to and from the USA or spending time between assignments.

Then, the other most obvious reason was that I was usually working overseas away from their home but I would simply go over on holiday or they would come to visit me wherever I was working, if possible.

There may have been a certain element of assumption that there wouldn't be any problem visiting the USA as I'd never attempted to do anything in contravention with the US immigration system.

The other ironic part, is that a long time friend of mine (since 2001) works for Homeland Security...

Edit: This experience has left something of a bitter taste. I would actually prefer my children to grow up in the UK and I also prefer the lifestyle in Scotland to the USA overall. That's not to say I have anything against living in the USA, just that there's no place like home!

Last edited by gtd2000; Mar 30th 2017 at 3:19 pm.
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 3:19 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

I guess it's time to rethink marriage and becoming a US PR. How old are the kids?

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Old Mar 30th 2017, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Your VWP days are over, give it a few years maybe, show very strong ties to somewhere, seems you currently move around a lot, and try again for a B.
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 4:24 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Kids are 4 and 7 years old.

Thing is that I have very strong ties to the UK with properties (4), car, motorcycles, investments, bills and the whole caboodle!
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 4:28 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

You have some thinking to do, US Immigration is not like Burger King, you can not have it your way.
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 7:35 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by gtd2000 View Post
Kids are 4 and 7 years old.

Thing is that I have very strong ties to the UK with properties (4), car, motorcycles, investments, bills and the whole caboodle!
What a horrible situation! I'm so sorry you've been put through such a hard time.

Not sure how long South Africa is on the menu, but is there perhaps any possibility that your children and their mother might consider relocating to the UK? Sounds very much as though the appeal of home is quite strong for you, and perhaps that would allow you the best of all worlds?

Good luck, whatever you decide. I hope things work out for you and progress with a bit more luck than you've had so far.
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 8:12 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by gtd2000 View Post
Kids are 4 and 7 years old.

Thing is that I have very strong ties to the UK with properties (4), car, motorcycles, investments, bills and the whole caboodle!
Those are not strong ties to the UK.

Your main ties, family and employment are in the USA/South Africa.
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Old Mar 30th 2017, 11:25 pm
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by gtd2000 View Post
I have very strong ties to the UK with properties (4), car, motorcycles, investments, bills and the whole caboodle!
With respect, a wife and two US citizen children all living in the US... trumps whatever ties you think are strong!

In a nutshell, you won't be travelling to the US any time soon... so it seems that your only viable way forward is to marry the mother of your children and move to the US. Keep in mind that it's not a life or death situation, so it's nothing to fear!

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Old Mar 31st 2017, 3:29 am
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

I agree with Boiler. The ESTA/VWP days are over. The prior refusal of entry when seeking to use the VWP makes the person permanently ineligible for the program. A visa is required.
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Old May 2nd 2017, 10:18 am
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
You have some thinking to do, US Immigration is not like Burger King, you can not have it your way.


I rarely eat at fast/junk food joints so never considered it was like BK.

I'd simply assumed that if you travel to a country for the simple reason of holiday/vacation and nothing more, I'd be in and out as per my travel plans.

I've never had any trouble with the other 55 or 56 countries I've been to, so far...
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Old May 2nd 2017, 10:25 am
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by KK85 View Post
What a horrible situation! I'm so sorry you've been put through such a hard time.

Not sure how long South Africa is on the menu, but is there perhaps any possibility that your children and their mother might consider relocating to the UK? Sounds very much as though the appeal of home is quite strong for you, and perhaps that would allow you the best of all worlds?

Good luck, whatever you decide. I hope things work out for you and progress with a bit more luck than you've had so far.
The only way to accurately describe the situation is "Twilight Zone". It's a very bizarre scenario.

I'm currently in Dubai at the local office and I've basically come to terms with my "persona non grata" status with the USA.

I'll likely be in the RSA for a year or so, kids and GF are planning to come out there in the Summer (Winter down there).

The part that really winds me up is that I've no desire to "immigrate" to the USA in the first place and they are denying me entry to the US due a perception that I am an "intending immigrant".
The only solution or option available to me, is to apply to become an immigrant to the USA via marriage or otherwise...

You really couldn't make this madness up!

This whole debacle, as you might imagine, has put something of a strain on our relationship. And all for no reason.
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Old May 2nd 2017, 10:34 am
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by az2014 View Post
Those are not strong ties to the UK.

Your main ties, family and employment are in the USA/South Africa.
They might not be from the perspective of the interrogation officer at the consulate.

The fact is,from my point of view I wouldn't even consider living or working in the USA illegally.


It would not be worth my time to consider that sort of thing, I'm not looking to secure a job via the bed of a pick up truck at Home Depot at the end of the day.

They don't want me coming in, that's fine.

What disturbs me is the fact that the record on the computer is riddled with errors and that's alway taken into consideration as factual.
Then there's the actual historical record showing that I've always complied with the length of stay granted by US Immigration, which is always ignored.

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Old May 2nd 2017, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Intending Immigrant 214(b)...

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
With respect, a wife and two US citizen children all living in the US... trumps whatever ties you think are strong!

In a nutshell, you won't be travelling to the US any time soon... so it seems that your only viable way forward is to marry the mother of your children and move to the US. Keep in mind that it's not a life or death situation, so it's nothing to fear!

Ian
Yes, that's basically my only option, and it's the reason they won't let me in..

It's like a said before, can't let you in as you're deemed to be an intending immigrant (which I'm not and have no desire to be) but the way round that is to actually be an immigrant.. The lunatics appear to be running the asylum in this scenario.

As you say, it's not the end of the world but it is very inconvenient and does leave a sour taste in the mouth. If I'd actually broken some sort of law I'd be standing with my hands up saying "fair cop".
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