PDA

View Full Version : Marriage/Visa Advice Needed



stephenk2
18-01-2014, 16:46
Hi Everyone,
I am an Amerian citizen and my girlfriend is Russian.
We are wanting to get married here in Russia and maybe also in America (probably just a ceremony though). Anyway,
I need to help with a few questions. We want to get her a visa so I can introduce her to my family back in the states.
She doesn't own land, property, or an apartment. She doesn't have any savings to speak of (and neither do I for that matter). We both work here in Moscow, we rent an apartment together and we just met last April (2013).
1. Do you recommend we get married before she applies for a visa....or wait to see if she gets a visa without being married to an American. Will, being married to an American hurt her chances or increase her chances?
2. What types of documents can we prepare that will increase her chances of getting a visa?
3. I have read many stories on expat.ru about young girls having a hell of a time getting a visa (or simply not at all), however, most of these stories were written back in 2007. Has it gotten easier since the new law changes between US/Russia in 2012?
4. Should we put a lot (and what would a lot mean to you, the reader) of money into her account before applying?
We both enjoy living in Moscow and have no intention of going to America and staying (regardless of what my mom hopes...that's a different story).
Anyway, I thought I would pick your brains and see if I could get some ideas.
Thanks to all who reply (constructively, of course!)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

stephenk2
26-02-2014, 19:23
So awesome to see all those eager to assist. Much appreciated!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

AstarD
26-02-2014, 19:31
I sense sarcasm.

Hans.KK
26-02-2014, 19:42
So awesome to see all those eager to assist. Much appreciated!All your questions had been answered in the past, more than once. May I suggest you to try the Forums search function?

stephenk2
26-02-2014, 19:51
Sarcasm - Affirmative
May you suggest I try the forum search function? Yes, you may.
Thank you both for your quick and constructive replies.
However, I didn't wait over a month to receive answers or at least the comments I currently have. This isn't my first forum...I know how search functions work. I apparently felt that my case was genuine and unique enough to warrant it's own thread.
I'll just stick to what seems to be the most popular on this forum site - banter and chicanery!

I'll step off my podium now - vent session is complete

AstarD
26-02-2014, 20:00
If I may suggest, next time if you want information, that you bump your post a bit more frequently than every 5 weeks.

TolkoRaz
26-02-2014, 20:03
Did you offer financial compensation for the advice given?

stephenk2
26-02-2014, 20:10
I generally view bumping my own post in poor taste. I, inadvertently bumped this post with my own pissy comment just cuz I'm in that type of mood today. I figured it was better doing on here than when my g/f gets home. Thank you expat.ru and the Internet and all you wonderful people sitting at your computer willing to take a lil heat every now and then. Imma have a drink now!

molly picon
26-02-2014, 23:34
Well, it's possible that no one really knows anything.
Why? Well, that would mean analyzing the workings of the American embassy. No one really knows why one person gets a visa and another doesn't.
One of my students, an attractive, well-employed young single woman, got a three year visa to the U.S. this year. Her colleague, another woman, had the same general qualities and was turned down.
Showing whatever ties and money she has to Russia should help. I don't know what effect marriage would have. I would think it would help more than hurt, but unless you're applying for a green card to live in the U.S. the government has no particular obligation to consider your girlfriend for a tourist visa.

Hans.KK
27-02-2014, 02:26
No one really knows why one person gets a visa and another doesn't.Well just your name and nothing else can be enough to be rejected http://people.howstuffworks.com/government-watch-list.htm

BabyFirefly
27-02-2014, 08:48
Hi Everyone,
I am an Amerian citizen and my girlfriend is Russian.
We are wanting to get married here in Russia and maybe also in America (probably just a ceremony though). Anyway,
I need to help with a few questions. We want to get her a visa so I can introduce her to my family back in the states.
She doesn't own land, property, or an apartment. She doesn't have any savings to speak of (and neither do I for that matter). We both work here in Moscow, we rent an apartment together and we just met last April (2013).
1. Do you recommend we get married before she applies for a visa....or wait to see if she gets a visa without being married to an American. Will, being married to an American hurt her chances or increase her chances?
2. What types of documents can we prepare that will increase her chances of getting a visa?
3. I have read many stories on expat.ru about young girls having a hell of a time getting a visa (or simply not at all), however, most of these stories were written back in 2007. Has it gotten easier since the new law changes between US/Russia in 2012?
4. Should we put a lot (and what would a lot mean to you, the reader) of money into her account before applying?
We both enjoy living in Moscow and have no intention of going to America and staying (regardless of what my mom hopes...that's a different story).
Anyway, I thought I would pick your brains and see if I could get some ideas.
Thanks to all who reply (constructively, of course!)



Oh, my area of expertise!
1. Doesn't matter all that much in comparison to the much worse thing: you're both broke. If you're broke, it means you'd be better off in America, or, that you can't afford your time there and thus will become a public charge in the case of an emergency. If you had money... yeah, marriage is more negative than positive.
2. Um, none. A letter from her employer saying "She has worked here since X date, paid ___ a month, has a holiday from XX-YY, and is expected to return after the date" is the one thing that has some influence. Otherwise, since you don't have much money or property, that's all really. It might help, a letter saying that you both live in Moscow, and work there, and have no intention of living in the US (not that they will ever believe that last statement). That however can backfire really, really badly, if the CO concludes that she will use you to immigrate to the US, so, I'd show that letter as a very last resort.
3. Young, attractive girls have a more difficult time, yes, as the assumption is that those girls will find American men, and change their status (visa stuff) when stateside, and stay there. This is considered fraud. However, it's easier recently. Can't say it's a surefire shot, but yes, easier.
4. Sure, if the consular officer started working in the visa section that very morning and has literally no idea that anyone, in any country, has ever employed these strategies. (P.S. That won't happen. They're trained to be human BS meters, and very cynical ones at that, since the idea is very much everyone is lying and will do anything to get into the US.)

That being said, you can always re-apply if denied (previous tourist visa denials don't affect new visa apps), and it's not all that hard to get a tourist visa (for Russians) these days. Has she traveled before to Europe, a country where a visa is needed? That helps. If she didn't overstay, it proves she is able to respect immigration and visa rules. But really, it's ultimately a crapshoot, and a CO has every right to deny the tourist visa just because of any particular reason.

rusmeister
27-02-2014, 12:17
My advice (22 years of marriage, one wife, four kids):
Nobody thinks "I am going to marry my first wife (or husband)!".
Determine to be faithful even when you don't feel like it, when you're tired of her and when it's hard. Make your vow to be so sacred, the sort that you would be damned rather than break. Determine to love her as action, when you don't feel a thing, to always do what a person in love will do, even when you feel like you don't care. Love has to be MADE, the flower has to be continually watered, and that's a hard discipline to stick to.

That may seem unnecessary advice when you're in love, but give it five or seven years, and then remember it. Your children, birth family, friends and neighbors will thank you for being a faithful husband and father.

natlee
27-02-2014, 13:03
:nut:

Oddly enough, last I visited the US was before my marriage to an American so my advice will probably mean very little ;) But, what I would probably do is lie - and believe me, I absolutely hate lying but with these things we're often left with little to no choice! I'd find someone who can provide an invitation - say, a member of your family, only tell them he/she is a friend of hers - and apply for a tourist visa. It's just that I've heard of too many visas rejected for partners and spouses alike!

Best of luck whatever you decide to do! :)

stephenk2
27-02-2014, 14:22
Rusmeister - Thank you! Very honest and true words! Thank you again!!!

Natlee - thank you for your honesty! I know with these things, they can be sticky situations. I'll see what happens in about a month and a half.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

MBX
27-02-2014, 21:21
[QUOTE=stephenk2;1283197]So awesome to see all those eager to assist. Much appreciated!

I love the sarcasm,

My advice is to take Natlee's advice. Have a family member or friend from the states write up an invitation. That is how I invited my future wife over to visit me. She was able to visit me twice. I eventually moved back to Russia and we eventually married. I can't offer any advice about a tourist visa after marriage. We applied for her green card right away, and that took about 6 months. I didn't mind though as I like living in Russia.

penka
27-02-2014, 22:07
:nut:

Oddly enough, last I visited the US was before my marriage to an American so my advice will probably mean very little ;) But, what I would probably do is lie - and believe me, I absolutely hate lying but with these things we're often left with little to no choice! I'd find someone who can provide an invitation - say, a member of your family, only tell them he/she is a friend of hers - and apply for a tourist visa. It's just that I've heard of too many visas rejected for partners and spouses alike!

Best of luck whatever you decide to do! :)

I am surprised. Honestly. Isn't there such a thing as a "fiancee visa"?

Do the authorities create trouble for the potential/future spouses of all nationalities or only for the Russians?

natlee
27-02-2014, 22:20
I am surprised. Honestly. Isn't there such a thing as a "fiancee visa"?

Do the authorities create trouble for the potential/future spouses of all nationalities or only for the Russians? Am not sure about the US (we got married in Moscow and only lived here and in Cyprus) but normally a fiancee visa means people would need to get married within some months in that country (so US, in this case), and that type of visa is mainly for those who plan to live there afterwards. And of course they do! For future spouses, current spouses, parents, children etc. I'm surprised you didn't know!

penka
27-02-2014, 22:36
Am not sure about the US (we got married in Moscow and only lived here and in Cyprus) but normally a fiancee visa means people would need to get married within some months in that country (so US, in this case), and that type of visa is mainly for those who plan to live there afterwards. And of course they do! For future spouses, current spouses, parents, children etc. I'm surprised you didn't know!

Oh, I see.

No, I was totally clueless.

1. I've never bothered to go to the States.
2. I don't need a visa.
3. But from what I've heard, if a border control officer were to dislike me in some fashion and I am to come visa-less, I'll be waiting for the next plain back home without leaving the airport.
4. And I'll never forget my appalling experience with the UK. One month before my wedding I was going to London. Passport, covered with the German (Western Germany) and Italian visas. UK visa OK. It took 35 shitty minutes at the border of MY pass check. By the moment I lost my cool and said, Sir, either you state what's not in order with the visa your embassy has issued or let me into the country, my future ex-to-be nr 1 waved his Swedish passport, the border officer apologised for the misunderstanding and I was let in. Needless to say, since then I never had such troubles.

natlee
27-02-2014, 23:42
3. But from what I've heard, if a border control officer were to dislike me in some fashion and I am to come visa-less, I'll be waiting for the next plain back home without leaving the airport.
4. And I'll never forget my appalling experience with the UK. One month before my wedding I was going to London. Passport, covered with the German (Western Germany) and Italian visas. UK visa OK. It took 35 shitty minutes at the border of MY pass check. By the moment I lost my cool and said, Sir, either you state what's not in order with the visa your embassy has issued or let me into the country, my future ex-to-be nr 1 waved his Swedish passport, the border officer apologised for the misunderstanding and I was let in. Needless to say, since then I never had such troubles. As far as #3 - I'm afraid it's the same pretty much anywhere! Unlikely to happen but there's always that chance! As for #4 - I have my own story! We were moving to Cyprus - and by "we" I mean myself, my then 3 y/o daughter, our two suitcases with 10 kg excess luggage each and a heavy a** carryon bag :evilgrin: having previously visited my then husband twice that same year - he had gotten transferred there for work, first for 6 months, then another 6 then... you get the idea. So, there we are at the Limassol airport, exhausted as f*** after the flight and all that came with it, and guess what happens! The embassy had made a mistake and issued us a visa with the duration of stay being three months without having taken into account the fact that we'd traveled there less than 3 (I think - I forget the rules now) months prior, meaning, that despite the visa stating one thing, we only really had a month or so to stay!! They stamped the visa and the date of our forced departure was Christmas day!! F'n Christmas day!!! Oh the tears I shed that day..... :mad:

penka
27-02-2014, 23:43
As far as #3 - I'm afraid it's the same pretty much anywhere! Unlikely to happen but there's always that chance! As far as #4 - I have my own story! We were moving to Cyprus - and by "we" I mean myself, my then 3 y/o daughter, our two suitcases with 10 kg excess luggage each and a heavy a** carryon bag :evilgrin: having previously visited my then husband twice that same year - he had gotten transferred there for work, first for 6 months, then another 6 then... you get the idea. So, there we are at the Limassol airport, exhausted as f*** after the flight and all that came with it, and guess what happens! The embassy had made a mistake and issued us a visa with the duration of stay being three months without having taken into account the fact that we'd traveled there less than 3 (I think - I forget the rules now) months prior, meaning, that despite the visa stating one thing, we only really had a month or so to stay!! They stamped the visa and the date of our forced departure was Christmas day!! F'n Christmas day!!! Oh the tears I shed that day..... :mad:

Bloody people!!! Unbelievable...

BabyFirefly
27-02-2014, 23:45
NO, do NOT write a letter of invitation. They'll figure out her friend of the opposite gender is a "special friend", and then you could be charged for misrep, as in, no easy fiance/marriage visa for your girlfriend ever, if you ever decide to go that route. Again, these people aren't stupid and see these lies every day. Sometimes hundreds of times a day.

Even if they don't put a "misrep" sticker on your file, the thing your girl needs to prove is not that she wants to go to the US, but that she will LEAVE. Anything else is pointless, has no effect on the final outcome, and just a waste of time. So, prove WHY she needs to go back.... a steady job, a mortgage, family (or hell even pets) that she takes care of, etc. That's why I said, maybe you could both write a letter saying you both happily live and work in Moscow. That shows her big tie to the US (you) lives abroad and doesn't want to come back.

Lastly, most cases are decided before the interview. And I can't stress enough how it ultimately depends on what mood the CO woke up in that day... You can be a "perfect" applicant, great job, money, lots of travels, etc, and get denied for no reason. It's not a fair or transparent process.

But really... I think you're overthinking it. The visa denial rate for Russians these days is low, much lower than it has been in a long time. And the people who are denied, well let's say it's mostly obvious fraud, or from certain areas in Russia. Apply, have her say she wants to meet your fam, you both live in Russia, etc, you'll be fine. If you were in Ukraine, well, then there's reason to worry.

natlee
28-02-2014, 00:06
Better be a 'friend' of the same gender in your case, or a married 'friend'. Otherwise I don't quite agree. As far as the mood etc. - 100% true! I have a friend who owns an expensive apt., car, has a great job etc. here and never did get a US visa having applied a bunch of times!

Another thing... I'm not sure why you believe that "previous tourist visa denials don't affect new visa apps" - surely that is something you mention when filling out the application (the ones I've seen have that as one of the questions) and surely that's something that is considered. Not saying it's a definite no after a no, but am pretty sure it matters still.

Now had you been planning to apply for a fiancee/spouse visa very soon after visiting family, then maaaybe pretending to travel there to see friends could be an issue (although in most cases they would not care), but since there are no short-term plans to move, then I honestly do not see what the problem is.

While I can't remember what we told them when we visited my then boyfriend's family in the US (but that was ages ago), I remember that when I was about to start the process for the UK visa to visit my boyfriend/fiance at the time (a slightly different situation, I admit, since he was living there and I here), my British friend told me to not even think about telling them I'm visiting my boyfriend!

Anyway, there's going to be a risk either way, so like I said, best of luck and keep us posted!

stephenk2
28-02-2014, 22:14
Thank you to everyone!!! I will definitely keep everyone informed. Really enjoy reading the comments!


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

TolkoRaz
28-02-2014, 22:17
I generally view bumping my own post in poor taste. I, inadvertently bumped this post with my own pissy comment just cuz I'm in that type of mood today. I figured it was better doing on here than when my g/f gets home. Thank you expat.ru and the Internet and all you wonderful people sitting at your computer willing to take a lil heat every now and then. Imma have a drink now!


Quite happy to be your punchbag, I need some training and a good work-out!

Good Luck! :)

mrzuzzo
01-03-2014, 03:32
My girlfriend had no issue getting a 3-year tourist visa to the States a few months ago. This was her first US visa.

She's 24 and has no job.

Seems like the US will give a visa to anyone these days.