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91 Day Stay & Banned For 12 Months

91 Day Stay & Banned For 12 Months

Old Nov 10th 2003, 4:08 am
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Default 91 Day Stay & Banned For 12 Months

The Sunday Times - Property

November 09, 2003

Overseas Property: Is Florida a danger zone?
Don’t be fooled by the agents’ patter. It’s hard to make a buy-to-let profit on America’s Gulf coast, says Jacqui Goddard
Adrienne Hughes was looking forward to spending up to six months a year beneath the palm trees and blue skies of Florida’s Gulf coast after sinking her savings into a holiday home.

Like thousands of Britons she was drawn to the “sunshine state� by its idyllic weather and low-cost, high standard of living. “I saw this property in an agent’s window and I just fell in love,� she says. “My kids have grown up and left home, so the time was perfect to buy a place to relax for a few months a year. It was paradise.�

Hughes, 52, chose a mobile home on a smart development with three pools, a spa bath, sauna, gymnasium and tennis courts, a short distance from the powdery-white beaches and quaint Italian-style town of Venice.

In April, after spending three months in Florida, she flew home to Hinckley, Leicestershire, then headed for America again early last month, intending to spend another three months in her new home. Within minutes of landing in America she was detained by immigration officials for more than seven hours.

“I realised that I must have done something terrible but I couldn’t work out what, and for three hours they wouldn’t tell me,� she says. “Whoever trained the officers must have been a relative of Hitler. They were rude and obnoxious and wouldn’t tell me what the problem was.�

Her crime, it turned out, was that her previous stay in America had lasted a total of 91 days, instead of the 90 days permitted under the visa-waiver programme used by most short-term British visitors. She was unaware that her day of arrival in America — January 29 at 7.45pm — counted as the first full day. Consequently, when she left late in the afternoon on April 29, she was over her limit.

Hughes, who runs a guest house in Britain, is now barred from America for at least 12 months, and her dream home sits empty, though she still has to pay £246 a month in amenity charges. There is fortunately no mortgage, but she is disillusioned, frightened and at a loss what to do.

Stephen Williams, 40, and his wife, Wendy, 39, were left similarly bewildered by the treatment they received on arrival at Sanford airport, near Orlando, earlier this month. They were heading for a fortnight’s break at the Kissimmee holiday villa they have owned for the past 10 years and were fully in compliance with immigration requirements. Stephen, Wendy and their 11-year-old son had non-immigrant B2 visas, which allow a stay of up to 180 days at a time, their four-year-old boy entered on a visa waiver.

“We’d already been over in March for two weeks, but this time the immigration people asked, ‘You’ve already been here once this year, why are you coming in again?’ We were pulled to one side and interrogated, treated like criminals — there was nothing polite about it,� says Williams, a steelworker from Port Talbot, south Wales. “They kept us for about an hour, asking questions like why we had visas, why we were here, even where the kids went to school. Then they let us go. I’m still confused about it now because we’d done nothing wrong.�

The examples are anecdotal, but illustrate the rigour with which the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services — the new agency responsible for controlling America’s borders — is administering its duties post-September 11.

Anybody applying for a B2 visa for the first time, and who is aged 17 to 59 now has to attend the American embassy in London for an interview — introduced as part of the security shake-up. If you have ever been arrested you do not qualify for the visa waiver, regardless of how long ago it was or whether it resulted in a criminal conviction.

Some in Florida’s real-estate and tourism industries fear that confusion surrounding America’s entry requirements could put off would-be visitors and property buyers. They consequently rose up in anger when the Bush administration proposed that instead of guaranteeing B2 visa-holders stays of six months at a time, individual immigration officials would be given the power to determine each person’s allowance at their discretion.

“Florida lives on real estate and Britain is a major market,� says Bill Cowie, director of British Home Loans mortgage brokerage in Orlando. “Any moves to tighten visa restrictions and availability — and the perception in Britain that it could be difficult getting into Florida — risk depressing the market.�

The proposal was subsequently s****ped. In addition, plans to grant people a visa waiver only if they have machine-readable passports have been postponed by a year to October 2004. The move had threatened to upset millions of travel plans because of the short phase-in time.

While theme parks, hotels and retailers in Florida are complaining that holidaymakers are now spending 7% less than before the terrorist attacks of September 11, the state’s holiday- property industry is reporting a British-fuelled boom.

Prices are still low compared with the UK. The value of the pound has risen in recent years, so Brits are getting more for their money. Properties are appreciating by about 10% a year, and more people than ever are looking for alternative forms of investment as savings plans and pensions in Britain crash in value.

The new availability of sterling mortgages for Britons buying properties in America has contributed to the enthusiasm, allowing buyers to eliminate the uncertainty of fluctuating dollar rates, and bypass a service some complain was never fully geared to non-American clients.

“It’s probably more bubbly now than it’s been for a long time,� Peter Stanhope, president of the Florida Brits Group, a property advisory service and support group for more than 1,200 British homeowners in the state. “There was some hesitation when the Iraq war started, but it’s come back very bullish over the summer. Some builders in central Florida ran out of homes because there was such a surge.�

A standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a swimming pool in the Orlando area will cost about £95,000. A similar property in the Tampa Bay area, on the Gulf coast, is about £105,000. Coastal hot spots such as Sarasota and Port Charlotte count as the middle bracket, coming in at between £130,000 and £150,000, while top-end areas such as Naples are about £190,000.

As an agent specialising in selling to British buyers on the Gulf coast, Ian Purdy of West Wickham, Kent, estimates that between 75% and 80% of his clients are buying to let, while the remainder are retirees.

“The average client has already done Orlando, maybe more than once, or their kids have grown up and grown out of it, and they’ve realised that there’s more to Florida than Mickey Mouse. The Gulf coast has become the up-and-coming area, though it is relatively more expensive.�

He also alerts would-be buy-to-letters that while Orlando is popular with holidaymakers 52 weeks a year, thanks to the theme parks, on the coast it’s a different story, and the rental market is seasonal. There is also intense competition during the summer from cheap hotel deals.

“Buy-to-let purchasers anywhere need to know what they’re getting into,� he says. “If it doesn’t break even, you end up creating a huge financial millstone around your neck.�

The Williams of Port Talbot know what he means. “We are full most of the time — probably about 95% of the year — but we’re still barely making any money,� says Stephen, who purchased the three-bedroom villa with pool, 20 minutes’ drive from Disney World, for £72,000, 10 years ago. “When we bought, there weren’t that many short-term holiday rentals — now there are more than 14,000 in the Orlando area owned by Brits, so competition is intense. For us, it was a gamble that didn’t pay off.�
 
Old Nov 10th 2003, 10:23 am
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i rarely believe most of these articles. 9 times out of 10, there's somthing *else* about their situation that is not conveniently mentioned. So the whole article winds up becoming biased. MILLIONS of people visit the US every single year, and 99% of them are let in no problem. A way higher majority of people wind up not leaving vs the amount of people turned back. An intersting fact to keep in mind.

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Old Nov 10th 2003, 12:24 pm
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written by a freelance writer...and has ommited various details that were given to her.... but has picked up on the salacious bits to add a bit of bite...the prices quoted for houses in various areas is in my opinion far too low.... but did you have a question???
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Old Nov 10th 2003, 12:35 pm
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Those bastard americans, won't let little old ladies in who's only crimes is overstaying by a day and smelling of wee! Yet they'll let terrorists and mexicans in like there is no tomorrow - lets start a campaign - free the stupid one!


Most people on here know for a fact that the 90 days vw is not written in stone and there is a slight give, they will forgive certain things - especially little old ladies who own bed and breakfasts!

As for the house prices quoted, I think they are living in la-la land. The whole article seems to have a slant to it, there seems to be a lot of anti-american sentiment in the UK at the moment. With Daft as a Brush in power I can understand it though, I just wish his own people could see it!

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Old Nov 10th 2003, 1:40 pm
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That article, like many anti-ins type articles -- seems very fishy. Two of my good friends are INS (USCIS whatever the name of the month) POE officers and they have *never* bounced someone for going 1 day over. Only if there's *other evidence* that casts suspicion on the person. Such as continually coming to the US, staying the max and going back. Which leads to a belief the person is merely residing and not "visiting" hence the bounce.

The article didn't say how many times she's been and stayed in the us the past few years. I'm sure the officer asked her "You've spent 36 months in the US the past 5 years. You keep visiting Disneyland??". Her answer or lack of a good one might have gotten her rejected.

Remember: When you come as a tourist -- the onus is on YOU to prove you're visiting, where you're going, accounting for all the days, and that you have enough FINANCES to support yourself, as well as ties back to your homeland. Too many tourists take US visits for granted. They can blame all the illegals that come and then never leave for the tightened restrictions.

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Old Nov 10th 2003, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: 91 Day Stay & Banned For 12 Months

[QUOTE

Her crime, it turned out, was that her previous stay in America had lasted a total of 91 days, instead of the 90 days permitted under the visa-waiver programme used by most short-term British visitors. She was unaware that her day of arrival in America — January 29 at 7.45pm — counted as the first full day. Consequently, when she left late in the afternoon on April 29, she was over her limit.

[/QUOTE]


I think that is incorrect, my understanding of this situation is that the day of arrival is regarded as day 0, this was confirmed by one of the Layers on the marriage based forum after I raised the question in relation to one of my own visits here.

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Old Nov 10th 2003, 5:24 pm
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I'm guessing its a bit of free publicity for her bed&breakfast that she is about to put on the market
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Old Nov 11th 2003, 9:55 am
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Default Re: 91 Day Stay & Banned For 12 Months

I have to say that knowing the US government as we do, we work
(citizens and residents) to stay on the right side of the law. The government tends to be simplistic and heavy-handed. I think most of us have learned to take the simple rules (like length of stay) seriously and always try hard to follow them to the letter and even take precautionary measures to stay safely within the laws just so that we don't have end up dealing with the US government which tends to be a mess and an unpleasant experience. There is a learning curve and we sometimes learn the hard way.

Originally posted by JeanDupont
The Sunday Times - Property

November 09, 2003

Overseas Property: Is Florida a danger zone?
Don’t be fooled by the agents’ patter. It’s hard to make a buy-to-let profit on America’s Gulf coast, says Jacqui Goddard
Adrienne Hughes was looking forward to spending up to six months a year beneath the palm trees and blue skies of Florida’s Gulf coast after sinking her savings into a holiday home.

Like thousands of Britons she was drawn to the “sunshine state� by its idyllic weather and low-cost, high standard of living. “I saw this property in an agent’s window and I just fell in love,� she says. “My kids have grown up and left home, so the time was perfect to buy a place to relax for a few months a year. It was paradise.�

Hughes, 52, chose a mobile home on a smart development with three pools, a spa bath, sauna, gymnasium and tennis courts, a short distance from the powdery-white beaches and quaint Italian-style town of Venice.

In April, after spending three months in Florida, she flew home to Hinckley, Leicestershire, then headed for America again early last month, intending to spend another three months in her new home. Within minutes of landing in America she was detained by immigration officials for more than seven hours.

“I realised that I must have done something terrible but I couldn’t work out what, and for three hours they wouldn’t tell me,� she says. “Whoever trained the officers must have been a relative of Hitler. They were rude and obnoxious and wouldn’t tell me what the problem was.�

Her crime, it turned out, was that her previous stay in America had lasted a total of 91 days, instead of the 90 days permitted under the visa-waiver programme used by most short-term British visitors. She was unaware that her day of arrival in America — January 29 at 7.45pm — counted as the first full day. Consequently, when she left late in the afternoon on April 29, she was over her limit.

Hughes, who runs a guest house in Britain, is now barred from America for at least 12 months, and her dream home sits empty, though she still has to pay £246 a month in amenity charges. There is fortunately no mortgage, but she is disillusioned, frightened and at a loss what to do.

Stephen Williams, 40, and his wife, Wendy, 39, were left similarly bewildered by the treatment they received on arrival at Sanford airport, near Orlando, earlier this month. They were heading for a fortnight’s break at the Kissimmee holiday villa they have owned for the past 10 years and were fully in compliance with immigration requirements. Stephen, Wendy and their 11-year-old son had non-immigrant B2 visas, which allow a stay of up to 180 days at a time, their four-year-old boy entered on a visa waiver.

“We’d already been over in March for two weeks, but this time the immigration people asked, ‘You’ve already been here once this year, why are you coming in again?’ We were pulled to one side and interrogated, treated like criminals — there was nothing polite about it,� says Williams, a steelworker from Port Talbot, south Wales. “They kept us for about an hour, asking questions like why we had visas, why we were here, even where the kids went to school. Then they let us go. I’m still confused about it now because we’d done nothing wrong.�

The examples are anecdotal, but illustrate the rigour with which the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services — the new agency responsible for controlling America’s borders — is administering its duties post-September 11.

Anybody applying for a B2 visa for the first time, and who is aged 17 to 59 now has to attend the American embassy in London for an interview — introduced as part of the security shake-up. If you have ever been arrested you do not qualify for the visa waiver, regardless of how long ago it was or whether it resulted in a criminal conviction.

Some in Florida’s real-estate and tourism industries fear that confusion surrounding America’s entry requirements could put off would-be visitors and property buyers. They consequently rose up in anger when the Bush administration proposed that instead of guaranteeing B2 visa-holders stays of six months at a time, individual immigration officials would be given the power to determine each person’s allowance at their discretion.

“Florida lives on real estate and Britain is a major market,� says Bill Cowie, director of British Home Loans mortgage brokerage in Orlando. “Any moves to tighten visa restrictions and availability — and the perception in Britain that it could be difficult getting into Florida — risk depressing the market.�

The proposal was subsequently s****ped. In addition, plans to grant people a visa waiver only if they have machine-readable passports have been postponed by a year to October 2004. The move had threatened to upset millions of travel plans because of the short phase-in time.

While theme parks, hotels and retailers in Florida are complaining that holidaymakers are now spending 7% less than before the terrorist attacks of September 11, the state’s holiday- property industry is reporting a British-fuelled boom.

Prices are still low compared with the UK. The value of the pound has risen in recent years, so Brits are getting more for their money. Properties are appreciating by about 10% a year, and more people than ever are looking for alternative forms of investment as savings plans and pensions in Britain crash in value.

The new availability of sterling mortgages for Britons buying properties in America has contributed to the enthusiasm, allowing buyers to eliminate the uncertainty of fluctuating dollar rates, and bypass a service some complain was never fully geared to non-American clients.

“It’s probably more bubbly now than it’s been for a long time,� Peter Stanhope, president of the Florida Brits Group, a property advisory service and support group for more than 1,200 British homeowners in the state. “There was some hesitation when the Iraq war started, but it’s come back very bullish over the summer. Some builders in central Florida ran out of homes because there was such a surge.�

A standard three-bedroom, two-bathroom villa with a swimming pool in the Orlando area will cost about £95,000. A similar property in the Tampa Bay area, on the Gulf coast, is about £105,000. Coastal hot spots such as Sarasota and Port Charlotte count as the middle bracket, coming in at between £130,000 and £150,000, while top-end areas such as Naples are about £190,000.

As an agent specialising in selling to British buyers on the Gulf coast, Ian Purdy of West Wickham, Kent, estimates that between 75% and 80% of his clients are buying to let, while the remainder are retirees.

“The average client has already done Orlando, maybe more than once, or their kids have grown up and grown out of it, and they’ve realised that there’s more to Florida than Mickey Mouse. The Gulf coast has become the up-and-coming area, though it is relatively more expensive.�

He also alerts would-be buy-to-letters that while Orlando is popular with holidaymakers 52 weeks a year, thanks to the theme parks, on the coast it’s a different story, and the rental market is seasonal. There is also intense competition during the summer from cheap hotel deals.

“Buy-to-let purchasers anywhere need to know what they’re getting into,� he says. “If it doesn’t break even, you end up creating a huge financial millstone around your neck.�

The Williams of Port Talbot know what he means. “We are full most of the time — probably about 95% of the year — but we’re still barely making any money,� says Stephen, who purchased the three-bedroom villa with pool, 20 minutes’ drive from Disney World, for £72,000, 10 years ago. “When we bought, there weren’t that many short-term holiday rentals — now there are more than 14,000 in the Orlando area owned by Brits, so competition is intense. For us, it was a gamble that didn’t pay off.�

Last edited by jaytee; Nov 11th 2003 at 10:00 am.
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Old Nov 11th 2003, 10:06 am
  #9  
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I've have problems with US Immigration. My boyfriend was American and I used to visit him there every month.

On one flight back home I handed in my green visa waiver slip at the gate and got on the plane.

A couple of months later I arrived and they questioned me for hours about being an overstayer. Apparently the green slip hadn't made it back to immigration and as far as they were concerned I was still in the country. I did point out that can't have been the case as I'd just got off a plane from the UK.

It was a nightmare and after hours of explantion I finally got the lovely word "paroled" in my passport and was allowed to go.

Every time I check in I have to show a return ticket at the airline desk and get asked a lot of questions at the other end. I always tell my fellow passengers not to get in my line!
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Old Nov 11th 2003, 10:46 am
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>My boyfriend was American and I used to visit him there every
>month

I think those two points are the real reason you keep getting pulled into interrogation mode.

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Old Nov 11th 2003, 1:55 pm
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Definately Nav. I never stay more than a few days at a time but I've been going back and forth like that for years now.

In the end I decided to give up my English passport and get an Irish and Canadian one. I'm moving to Canada so driving over the border to see him should make things a hell of a lot easier.
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