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What Are Our Options?

What Are Our Options?

Old May 15th 2011, 7:21 pm
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Default What Are Our Options?

Hi there. Posted this elsewhere, but it is relevant to this discussion. I hope all works out well for those seeking to make the move happen here. If I may I'd like to post my situaiton here, hope that does not cause a problem. It seems there are some really caring and knowing people posting here, so thanks for reading this!

I was just having a look at your website and thought I would get in touch. I just wanted to ask for a little advice to allow me to consider options.

I am British and still live in the UK. My career thus far has been as a Merchant Seafarer (Cargo & Cruise ships) where I met my girlfriend (US Citizen). I now work in the UK (North Sea) Oil industry, 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. I just started this job and it is just for the summer. Currently I am spending my 2 weeks off in the US (NYC) visiting her. I worry that travelling to the US every 2 weeks under the VWP will cause trouble for me, so just wonder what my options are really. I would love to spend more time here once my work completes in August. I have acrued a reasonably substancial amount of savings and would be fine to take time out over here, but I know that working over here would be difficult, as would spending longer periods here.

Ideally, my girlfriend and I could spend some of our time in the UK and some in the US, but it would be nice to be able to rely on something more solid than the VWP, as it seems the officers can be quite moody... and I know they have the final say each time! Thankfully its always been a yes though.

Anyway, I know this is a wide-ranging mail, just thought I would ask your thoughts and take it from there.

Thanks you so much for your time everyone. :-)
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Old May 15th 2011, 9:59 pm
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Default Re: Those First Few Steps.

Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
I worry that travelling to the US every 2 weeks under the VWP will cause trouble for me, so just wonder what my options are really.
Unless you're ready to get married, there are no other viable options. You might be fine visiting every 2 weeks all summer... or you might be turned away next time you try.


I know that working over here would be difficult...
Not only difficult, but illegal unless you had permission to work in the US.


... it would be nice to be able to rely on something more solid than the VWP
It probably would be nice... but there is no "have it your way" visa.


... it seems the officers can be quite moody...
I prefer to think of it as them doing their jobs - which is, by the way, to keep non-US citizens out of the US.

Ian
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Old May 15th 2011, 10:24 pm
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Default Re: Those First Few Steps.

The general rule of thumb is that a visitor, be it VWP or B2 visa, should spend noticeably more time out of the USA than in the USA. This is to avoid creating the perception that they are actually living in the USA and visiting abroad.

My sense is that your unusual situation of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off (my brother is a retired tug captain, he was usually 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off), if properly presented, should easily and satisfactorily explain your frequent visits with short time away in between should a CBP officer question same.

But, I fear that once the job is over and you've worked your last shift, trying to make a longer visit with every reason to stay and no more reason to leave may be questionable.

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
I now work in the UK (North Sea) Oil industry, 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off. I just started this job and it is just for the summer. Currently I am spending my 2 weeks off in the US (NYC) visiting her. I worry that travelling to the US every 2 weeks under the VWP will cause trouble for me, so just wonder what my options are really. I would love to spend more time here once my work completes in August.
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Old May 15th 2011, 10:44 pm
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Default Re: What Are Our Options?

Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
Ideally, my girlfriend and I could spend some of our time in the UK and some in the US, but it would be nice to be able to rely on something more solid than the VWP, as it seems the officers can be quite moody... and I know they have the final say each time! Thankfully its always been a yes though.
Up to now. This will end very soon, probably not at a time of your choosing, unless you take the reins now.

Another MM who posted here had a B visa, and spent his time here with his US partner until he was bounced back at the border. That didn't go especially well, but I think they have had their 'fiance' visa now and married and located permanently in the US.

You are going to need to choose a permanent abode soon, and if you want to be able to come/go from each others' countries, you're going to need to formalize something. Many of us have found ourselves in this spot, but it can be worked out.

Do you want to immigrate to the US?
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Old May 16th 2011, 1:58 am
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Thumbs up Re: Those First Few Steps.

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
Unless you're ready to get married, there are no other viable options. You might be fine visiting every 2 weeks all summer... or you might be turned away next time you try.



Not only difficult, but illegal unless you had permission to work in the US.



It probably would be nice... but there is no "have it your way" visa.



I prefer to think of it as them doing their jobs - which is, by the way, to keep non-US citizens out of the US.

Ian
Fair points Ian, thanks for your input! All the best.
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Old May 16th 2011, 2:02 am
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Default Re: Those First Few Steps.

Originally Posted by jeffreyhy View Post
The general rule of thumb is that a visitor, be it VWP or B2 visa, should spend noticeably more time out of the USA than in the USA. This is to avoid creating the perception that they are actually living in the USA and visiting abroad.

My sense is that your unusual situation of 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off (my brother is a retired tug captain, he was usually 6 weeks on and 6 weeks off), if properly presented, should easily and satisfactorily explain your frequent visits with short time away in between should a CBP officer question same.

But, I fear that once the job is over and you've worked your last shift, trying to make a longer visit with every reason to stay and no more reason to leave may be questionable.

Regards, JEff
Hi Jeff. Thank you so much. That really is a similar situation, great to hear your input. Thanks for posting. I'd figured the same. CBP really dont like seafarers it seems! Anyway, dont work at sea anymore but the oil job (2 wks on/off) may well raise eyebrows, am very much trying to see what the option are besided VWP and I now see the choice ahead. Thanks so much Ian, really appreciate your input. Seafarers or those with any unusual work patterns/jobs fall between the cracks in many ways when applying for things! Thanks again. Craig
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Old May 16th 2011, 2:10 am
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Thumbs up Re: What Are Our Options?

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
Up to now. This will end very soon, probably not at a time of your choosing, unless you take the reins now.

Another MM who posted here had a B visa, and spent his time here with his US partner until he was bounced back at the border. That didn't go especially well, but I think they have had their 'fiance' visa now and married and located permanently in the US.

You are going to need to choose a permanent abode soon, and if you want to be able to come/go from each others' countries, you're going to need to formalize something. Many of us have found ourselves in this spot, but it can be worked out.

Do you want to immigrate to the US?
Hi meauxna, thank you so much for your post. I appreciate it. When you say MM do you mean Master Mariner? Or am I just using the trade lingo too readily? :-) I really appreciate you sharing that info, glad to hear that the situation got resolved, albeit after a rejection at the border. I am very much thinking of formalising things, but we met in September last year and am wary of jumping the gun with regards to marriage. I do feel more strongly for her than any I have known before (by a LONG way) but now I see I may have no choice but to formalise things sooner rather than later.

Choosing a permanent abode, difficult. Always been a lot of moving around in my life (many moves within UK) before my family moved to Spain, then France. All very unsettling. I still love the UK but have enjoyed my visits to the US (before and since meeting my gf) and as such would REALLY consider a move there. She visited me in the UK recently and loved it too, so we are both very open to the idea of spending time in each place. Since she is a musician, that makes her work more mobile too. So part of me thinks it can all work out very well indeed, but then the legal side of it sets in. Thanks so much for your input! :-) Craig
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Old May 16th 2011, 4:15 pm
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Default Re: Those First Few Steps.

Use this to your advantage when applying. Unusual situations may raise questions, but they also contain legitimate answers to those questions.

Regards, JEff


Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
those with any unusual work patterns/jobs fall between the cracks in many ways when applying for things!
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Old May 16th 2011, 9:02 pm
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Default Re: What Are Our Options?

Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
Hi meauxna, thank you so much for your post. I appreciate it. When you say MM do you mean Master Mariner? Or am I just using the trade lingo too readily? :-) I really appreciate you sharing that info, glad to hear that the situation got resolved, albeit after a rejection at the border. I am very much thinking of formalising things, but we met in September last year and am wary of jumping the gun with regards to marriage. I do feel more strongly for her than any I have known before (by a LONG way) but now I see I may have no choice but to formalise things sooner rather than later.

Choosing a permanent abode, difficult. Always been a lot of moving around in my life (many moves within UK) before my family moved to Spain, then France. All very unsettling. I still love the UK but have enjoyed my visits to the US (before and since meeting my gf) and as such would REALLY consider a move there. She visited me in the UK recently and loved it too, so we are both very open to the idea of spending time in each place. Since she is a musician, that makes her work more mobile too. So part of me thinks it can all work out very well indeed, but then the legal side of it sets in. Thanks so much for your input! :-) Craig
Far be it for me to recommend that people marry before they are ready to do so; please don't misunderstand my comments.

You may simply have to curb your trips to the US; it's going to come to an end eventually (see "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert for a contemporary look at marriage and what the government tells one to do).
To qualify as a visitor to the US, the minimum you need is a home OUTside the US that you do not intend to abandon.

Your US citizen friend will find that her visits to the UK/EU/Schengen Zone will also eventually become limited. It does seem like it could be easier for her to get a visa to locate on the far side of the pond.

Oh, I DID mean MM= Master Mariner. The guy I was referring to works security on cruise ships, but same sort of deal. We've seen the same issue for offshore oil workers and Merchant Marine types previously.
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Old May 16th 2011, 11:10 pm
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Smile Re: What Are Our Options?

Originally Posted by meauxna View Post
Far be it for me to recommend that people marry before they are ready to do so; please don't misunderstand my comments.

You may simply have to curb your trips to the US; it's going to come to an end eventually (see "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert for a contemporary look at marriage and what the government tells one to do).
To qualify as a visitor to the US, the minimum you need is a home OUTside the US that you do not intend to abandon.

Your US citizen friend will find that her visits to the UK/EU/Schengen Zone will also eventually become limited. It does seem like it could be easier for her to get a visa to locate on the far side of the pond.

Oh, I DID mean MM= Master Mariner. The guy I was referring to works security on cruise ships, but same sort of deal. We've seen the same issue for offshore oil workers and Merchant Marine types previously.
Thanks so much for your input, I really appreciate you taking the time to share your views and experiences. May I ask, how did things work out for the oil rig workers/merchant mariners you mentioned? Really useful to hear from you. She has only visited UK once and I have family in France, so between the two we should be able to spend time together without having to think about popping any questions prematurely! Wondering if one more trip here might push things too far, I've heard from many here..... any time could be the last time! I know that a rejection would go on record and make things harder in the future, right? Thanks again for taking the time to help me.
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Old May 16th 2011, 11:46 pm
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Default Re: What Are Our Options?

Originally Posted by craig_sp View Post
May I ask, how did things work out for the oil rig workers/merchant mariners you mentioned?
Look up posts by username TheRock and TheRockSO.

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Old May 16th 2011, 11:47 pm
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Default Re: What Are Our Options?

Eventually, anyone who doesn't have that 'home outside the US' that I mention above, is going to be stopped at the border as an immigration without the correct visa. Most of the stories I have followed here result in the people deciding to immigrate to the US through the person they have a relationship with.

She should start studying up on what she is allowed to do WRT traveling to Europe. This became a problem for me when my (now) DH was living in Greece; US citizens may be very limited in the amount of time they can spend as tourists (the Schengen info for example, was a big surprise to me.. you have to spend three months out of the entire zone before returning).

Yes, any time may be the last. The upshot of the book I recommended is a modern story.. two financially independent people who like each other and want to be a family, from different countries. The Australian citizen partner was "living" in the US with the US citizen, they were coming and going as they pleased (just like we wanted to, and you by the sounds of it) until one day, he was 'arrested' at the border (the details are not very clear in the book, but he was detained anyway) and it took the better part of a year to get his visa to return to the US. The visa required that they get married.

My DH & I hadn't planned on marrying either, but 10 years later, it's still workin' out ok.
Whatever you do, don't lie and shoot your credibility with the officers and keep a bigger picture perspective with the knowledge that it's not as simple as you'd like it to be, and you can't 'hang out' with each other indefinitely.
The more proof you have of ties to somewhere outside the US, the less you look like an immigrant. But, a guy with no house, no ties etc AND with a US citizen love interest? He looks a lot like an intending immigrant.

I took time off, so I didn't have to worry about the work permission in Europe. Ultimately we married in Greece, so I was able to get my residence permit for there through my marriage to a UK citizen.
The 'Commited' couple wandered around Asia for a while & then paused in Bali, where they had lived before. Living outside the US may be the best option for you two.
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