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golazio

B-2 Visa for Italian Boyfriend in College

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Hello,

This is my first post (woo-hoo!). I am a U.S. citizen and I am also a full-time college student. My boyfriend is an Italian citizen and he is also a full-time college student. We met each other two years ago while I was studying abroad. We plan on getting married through the K-1 process when we are both finished with college (he switched degree paths and schools, so it'll probably be around 2019).

Our experiences with the U.S. government (the good, the bad, and the irritating):

  1. Since we met, he visited the US through the ESTA/Visa Waiver in August of 2013.
  2. He was denied twice for a U.S. student visa in January of 2014.
  3. Because of the two student visa denials, we spent 1.5 months together in Canada in the summer of 2014 (since he wasn't eligible for the ESTA/Visa Waiver).
  4. I spent two weeks with his family in Italy after I studied abroad again in January of 2015.
  5. We want to spend August of 2015 (approx. 30 days) together since he has a month off from college.
  6. I can't travel to Italy this summer due to a full-time internship, so if we spend time together, he has to travel to the U.S. and I can't travel to Canada again.
  7. He filled out the ESTA and his travel was not authorized due to the prior visa denials, so he has to get a B-2 Visa for travel this August.

We were both very unhappy and depressed when his student visa was denied in 2014 and we don't want this to happen again. He wants to get a B-2 so that he doesn't have to go through this every time he wants to visit me during the summer months.

Specific Questions:

1. Does he have a good chance of getting his visa approved since he will only be staying for one month and since he is a full-time college student (he is unemployed due to the employment conditions in Italy, but he is getting a degree in finance and business management from one of the top colleges in Italy)?

2. Should he say he's visiting his girlfriend and his girlfriend's family or should he say he's visiting friends of the family (my parents are very good friends with his parents and they have met each other before, so either statement would be valid)? I am nervous about him saying the "G" word since that is why we think he was denied a visa in the past. :( We do intend on getting married in the future, but not right now.

3. Should I buy tickets to the events we plan on attending together in August before his interview so he can use them in the interview as proof of his intent to be a tourist?

4. Would it help for him to bring documentation of his past trips to the U.S., Canada, France, the UK, etc. so the consular officer can see that he has specifically spent 1.5 months in Canada and about 1 month in the U.S. before (and he has always come back to Italy)? Would this information help support his case for "strong ties to Italy"?

5. Any other tips or advice?

Edited by golazio

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1. There is no way to know until he applies. What exactly was the reason for his student visa denial?

2. Why did he mention his girlfriend when applying for the student visa? Sounds like they thought he was using the visa to spend time with you, rather than because he actually wanted to study. I didnt mention my girlfriend when I applied for my B2 and got approved, but for you with the past history I would say be honest. Off course he can just say visiting friends and if they specifically ask what friends etc then say girlfriend.

3. No, they will not care for this information. Better bring documents showing his ties to Italy.

4. Yes, normally they will ask what other countries he has visited. It is unlikely they will look at the documents but no harm in bringing them.

5. Apply as soon as possible.

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Why is he not eligible to use the VWP, you did not say.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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1. There is no way to know until he applies. What exactly was the reason for his student visa denial?

2. Why did he mention his girlfriend when applying for the student visa? Sounds like they thought he was using the visa to spend time with you, rather than because he actually wanted to study. I didnt mention my girlfriend when I applied for my B2 and got approved, but for you with the past history I would say be honest. Off course he can just say visiting friends and if they specifically ask what friends etc then say girlfriend.

3. No, they will not care for this information. Better bring documents showing his ties to Italy.

4. Yes, normally they will ask what other countries he has visited. It is unlikely they will look at the documents but no harm in bringing them.

5. Apply as soon as possible.

Thanks for your response!

1. He was denied for not showing strong enough ties to Italy. He was unemployed at the time (still is) due to the 50% unemployment in Naples, yet his family and my family agreed to sponsor him financially. He told the officer he was a law student in Rome who wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a finance degree since there was no school in Italy that provided the type of degree he wanted and he said the U.S. colleges are more world-renowned, so it would've benefitted his career path more to get a degree in the U.S. rather than in Italy. The consular officer didn't like the fact that he wanted to transfer from one of the top law schools in Europe to a two-year community college in Minnesota (to get his AA so he could transfer it to the University of MN to save money on generals classes). The consular officer was either not aware of or didn't care about the fact that the job outlook for law students right now is pretty dim and that international students don't qualify for student loans in the U.S. (a lot of international students pay for their education out of pocket or from loans from their home country's government or banks; Italian banks are not giving out loans to unemployed 21-year-olds...). He told the officer he wanted to switch to finance because of the demand for finance majors in the Italian job market.

2. He mentioned his girlfriend because my family would be sponsoring his visa. My parents had to send financial information to the consulate for this reason.

Also, he's thinking of visiting some grad schools while he's here since he hasn't decided whether he wants to get his MBA in Italy or in the U.S. yet (he has about two years to decide). If he decides to get his MBA in the U.S., we would go for the K-1 visa so he doesn't have to go through the student visa process again.

Would it benefit his case to tell the consular officer that he is going to the U.S. this August to go on vacation and to tour grad schools since he is interested in potentially pursuing an MBA in the U.S.? His current enrollment in college for a business degree would also support this argument (and he has documentation to prove his enrollment).

Edited by golazio

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Why is he not eligible to use the VWP, you did not say.

He's not eligible because he has had a prior visa denial. He tried applying for the ESTA yesterday and it came up as "Travel not authorized" due to the visa denials.

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He's not eligible because he has had a prior visa denial. He tried applying for the ESTA yesterday and it came up as "Travel not authorized" due to the visa denials.

That is not a permanent denial.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Thanks for your response!

1. He was denied for not showing strong enough ties to Italy. He was unemployed at the time (still is) due to the 50% unemployment in Naples, yet his family and my family agreed to sponsor him financially. He told the officer he was a law student in Rome who wanted to come to the U.S. to pursue a finance degree since there was no school in Italy that provided the type of degree he wanted and he said the U.S. colleges are more world-renowned, so it would've benefitted his career path more to get a degree in the U.S. rather than in Italy. The consular officer didn't like the fact that he wanted to transfer from one of the top law schools in Europe to a two-year community college in Minnesota (to get his AA so he could transfer it to the University of MN to save money on generals classes). The consular officer was either not aware of or didn't care about the fact that the job outlook for law students right now is pretty dim and that international students don't qualify for student loans in the U.S. (a lot of international students pay for their education out of pocket or from loans from their home country's government or banks; Italian banks are not giving out loans to unemployed 21-year-olds...). He told the officer he wanted to switch to finance because of the demand for finance majors in the Italian job market.

2. He mentioned his girlfriend because my family would be sponsoring his visa. My parents had to send financial information to the consulate for this reason.

Also, he's thinking of visiting some grad schools while he's here since he hasn't decided whether he wants to get his MBA in Italy or in the U.S. yet (he has about two years to decide). If he decides to get his MBA in the U.S., we would go for the K-1 visa so he doesn't have to go through the student visa process again.

Would it benefit his case to tell the consular officer that he is going to the U.S. this August to go on vacation and to tour grad schools since he is interested in potentially pursuing an MBA in the U.S.? His current enrollment in college for a business degree would also support this argument (and he has documentation to prove his enrollment).

Hmm

Having now read this so much is contradictory that I wonder if his file is flagged.

Probably better to give it a year or so, then maybe touring grad schools will look more reasonable.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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So if he applies for a tourist visa this month (regardless of whether he talks about the grad school tours or not), he'd basically be donating his money to the government? :/

Would his current status as a full-time student possibly change the outcome of his visa application since his situation has changed? He wasn't enrolled in college when he applied for a student visa last winter.

And since he's only staying for one month (I saw some threads on here about 4-6 month stays)?

Thank you!

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So if he applies for a tourist visa this month (regardless of whether he talks about the grad school tours or not), he'd basically be donating his money to the government? :/

Would his current status as a full-time student possibly change the outcome of his visa application since his situation has changed? He wasn't enrolled in college when he applied for a student visa last winter.

And since he's only staying for one month (I saw some threads on here about 4-6 month stays)?

Thank you!

I thought he was a law student when he applied?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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I'm sorry, he was a law student until September of 2013 when he froze his exams to start the student visa process. I told him that December that he should've remained enrolled to help his chances and in hindsight he probably should've done that. :/

His first visa interview was in December 2013 and his second chance was in January 2014. He wasn't very prepared for the first interview so he registered for another interview and obtained a letter from my senator, financial documentation and an affidavit of support from my family to support his application. Still didn't work. He was denied twice due to not showing strong enough ties to Italy.

Aside from being a full-time college student (which he wasn't at the time), I'm not sure how else a 21-year-old can show strong ties to a country. :(

Important to note: he was a full-time college student when he went to the U.S. for the first time in 2013 (his Visa Waiver was approved in June of 2013), but I don't think he was asked about his student status when he reached Customs in the U.S.

He has been a full-time college student at a top university in Naples since September of 2014. He is set to graduate from that university in May of 2017 and then he has to go to grad school in Milan or in the U.S.

Ultimately, he's hoping to get a job with an international consulting firm in Italy so he can be an expatriate in the U.S. He won't be eligible for jobs in his major until 2019 (takes two years to get the specialization degree in Ital and two years to get an MBA in the U.S. - depending on the route he takes).

Edited by golazio

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To be honest educationally none of that makes much sense, drops out of a prestigious Uni in Rome and 3 months later applies for a student visa to study a different subject at a US Community College funded by his US girlfriend/parents.

Anyway now in the past, usually ESTA seems to clear after 6 months or so of a refused visa, this is an observation, nothing is published, but in this case over a year later he is still refused so suggest something more substantial is on his record.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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To be honest educationally none of that makes much sense, drops out of a prestigious Uni in Rome and 3 months later applies for a student visa to study a different subject at a US Community College funded by his US girlfriend/parents.

Anyway now in the past, usually ESTA seems to clear after 6 months or so of a refused visa, this is an observation, nothing is published, but in this case over a year later he is still refused so suggest something more substantial is on his record.

He dropped out because he found out there weren't a lot of jobs available for law graduates. He switched to finance because there are more jobs available in that field and he wanted to start at a community college so he could transfer the credits to the University of Minnesota to save money since he wasn't eligible for loans and he was going to pay for college out of pocket. He had enough money to pay for his education, but the school and the consulate said he needed to show that he could afford about $25,000 per year for living expenses (that was an unrealistic amount, but my parents and his parents were willing to show that they could support him even though he wouldn't need nearly that much money to live here and go to the community college).

When we tried using the ESTA form yesterday, I checked off that he had been denied a visa before and that the denial had happened in January of 2014 in Naples, Italy. I filled the form out for him as a third-party and had him double-check everything to make sure it was accurate. He doesn't have a criminal record of any kind and that visa denial should've been the only thing he had against him on the ESTA form.

I looked online and found out that if you get a visa denial, you most likely are not going to receive ESTA authorization for a visa waiver, so I'm not sure what to do or why his record might be flagged. :/

Edited by golazio

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He will have to overcome Section 214b of the Immigration and Nationality Act for a tourist visa, just like he did for the student visa, i.e., prove to the consular officer that he has no intention of immigrating to the US. Given his strong ties to the US discussed in his student visa application and the fact that he already stopped studying in Italy in an attempt to get to the US, that might be difficult. He has very strong ties to the US and has already appeared willing to leave his ties to Italy. Good luck!

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I looked online and found out that if you get a visa denial, you most likely are not going to receive ESTA authorization for a visa waiver, so I'm not sure what to do or why his record might be flagged. :/

The norm is that after 6 months or so ESTA is approved, some do not get refused initially, some get refused later.

In this case he applies a year or so later so he is in the unusual category.

What refused him ESTA is likely to also apply to a B2, however there is only one way to find out, apply.

As the reason is blindingly obvious, to visit his GF, why complicate matters?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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The norm is that after 6 months or so ESTA is approved, some do not get refused initially, some get refused later.

In this case he applies a year or so later so he is in the unusual category.

What refused him ESTA is likely to also apply to a B2, however there is only one way to find out, apply.

As the reason is blindingly obvious, to visit his GF, why complicate matters?

Just remembered that when he received his first ESTA denial in May of 2013, he received the Pending Approval message and it was denied a few days later. This time, he was denied right away. Nothing has changed since last summer, though, aside from his student status, so I don't know what would've caused that. :/

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