Jump to content
Seepia

Traveling with parents who don't speak English

10 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

Hi!

My dad and his fiancee are wanting to visit the US with me to attend the wedding when I move. They'd be staying for 1 or 2 weeks tops. The problem is, neither of them speaks English. They can understand it a little bit, my dad's fiancee a bit more than him, but they wouldn't be able to reply to any questions.

Now my question is, do the visa holders go in the same line with the ESTA people? If so, it shouldn't be a problem for me to just stay with them and help them along, right? I wonder what the chances are that they'd happen to have a Finnish interpreter on hand...

For the trip back I have been planning on making some kind of cards for them that have phrases in both English and Finnish, so they'll be able to answer and ask questions. So far I haven't been able to come up with any other viable sounding options so any suggestions are welcome!

 

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Dee elle said:

If you are saying that they will be travelling with you when you enter the US using your K1... the entry process for VWP and K1can require different lines.. they may be able to go through the line to which you are directed....as you will need to be face to face with an CBP officer.. they will not be eligible to use the automated gates if they havent entered the US using VWP in the last 5 years.. so they would be directed to a manned booth also.. I usually find, when politely approached, that the CBP officers are helpful in ensuring that family members stay together, and that non English speakers are assisted...

Where will your POE be ? 

Yes, they'd be going with me when I enter with the K1 visa.

If everything goes according to the plans, my POE would be in Atlanta. Thanks for the reply!

Also, on my first visit they had me to go to the automated booth anyway, even though I let them know it was my first ever visit. I wonder if they just wanted to clear the line quicker or something. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, Seepia said:

Yes, they'd be going with me when I enter with the K1 visa.

If everything goes according to the plans, my POE would be in Atlanta. Thanks for the reply!

Also, on my first visit they had me to go to the automated booth anyway, even though I let them know it was my first ever visit. I wonder if they just wanted to clear the line quicker or something. :D

I travel into Atlanta often. You constantly hear over the speakers "Chinese to booth 5", "German to booth 16", etc. In the event they don't have a translator for a specific language, they also contract with official translators who can be patched in by phone to assist. They find a way. It may not be the smoothest process, but it'll work out. Of course if they let you stay together that will be extra helpful.

Edited by shumway88

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, shumway88 said:

I travel into Atlanta often. You constantly hear over the speakers "Chinese to booth 5", "German to booth 16", etc. In the event they don't have a translator for a specific language, they also contract with official translators who can be patched in by phone to assist. They find a way. It may not be the smoothest process, but it'll work out. Of course they let you stay together that will be extra helpful.

Thanks! That gives me some peace of mind ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/7/2018 at 2:48 PM, Seepia said:

For the trip back I have been planning on making some kind of cards for them that have phrases in both English and Finnish, so they'll be able to answer and ask questions.

It's nice of you to think about doing this----but keep in mind cue cards with pre-written responses to perceived border questions can also make it look like their responses are "rehearsed" instead of true ones----which can harm them more than help them at the border.

 

If you do want them to carry some sort of card with them (in a situation where you are separated at customs), I would suggest only 1 card with the wording "I/We do not speak fluent English, and request a Finnish translator to understand and answer your questions fully."


Applied for Naturalization based on 5-year Residency - 96 Days To Complete Citizenship!

July 14, 2017 (Day 00) -  Submitted N400 Application, filed online

July 21, 2017 (Day 07) -  NOA Receipt received in the mail

July 22, 2017 (Day 08) - Biometrics appointment scheduled online, letter mailed out

July 25, 2017 (Day 11) - Biometrics PDF posted online

July 28, 2017 (Day 14) - Biometrics letter received in the mail, appointment for 08/08/17

Aug 08, 2017 (Day 24) - Biometrics (fingerprinting) completed

Aug 14, 2017 (Day 30) - Online EGOV status shows "Interview Scheduled, will mail appointment letter"

Aug 16, 2017 (Day 32) - Online MYUSCIS status shows "Interview Scheduled, read the letter we mailed you..."

Aug 17, 2017 (Day 33) - Interview Appointment Letter PDF posted online---GOT AN INTERVIEW DATE!!!

Aug 21, 2017 (Day 37) - Interview Appointment Letter received in the mail, appointment for 09/27/17

Sep. 27, 2017 (Day 74) - Naturalization Interview--- read my experience here

Sep. 27, 2017 (Day 74) - Online MYUSCIS status shows "Oath Ceremony Notice mailed"

Sep. 28, 2017 (Day 75) - Oath Ceremony Letter PDF posted online--Ceremony for 10/19/17

Oct. 02, 2017 (Day 79) -  Oath Ceremony Letter received in the mail

Oct. 19, 2017 (Day 96) -  Oath Ceremony-- read my experience here

 

Applied for US Passport - requested Routine/ Regular Service

Oct. 27, 2017 (Day 00) - Submitted Passport Application, filed in person at Post Office

Oct. 30, 2017 (Day 03) - Online tracker shows application has been received and is under processing

Nov. 08, 2017 (Day 12) - Online tracker shows "in final stages" and projected completion time of 11/13/2017

Nov. 09, 2017 (Day 13) - Passport received in the mail.

Nov. 10, 2017 (Day 14) - Naturalization Certificate received back in the mail.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Going through said:

It's nice of you to think about doing this----but keep in mind cue cards with pre-written responses to perceived border questions can also make it look like their responses are "rehearsed" instead of true ones----which can harm them more than help them at the border.

 

If you do want them to carry some sort of card with them (in a situation where you are separated at customs), I would suggest only 1 card with the wording "I/We do not speak fluent English, and request a Finnish translator to understand and answer your questions fully."

The cards would be more for different situations like asking people to help them find their gate/smoking area/bathroom if they get lost, generic answers about airplane food etc. I'd have "I don't speak English" printed on top with a Finnish flag. I'd also include our phone number so we can be contacted if they need help. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I know there are many immigrants in this country and many people speak many languages at airports, but Finnish is hardly a widely spoken language and not really related to much else, expecting  a Finnish translator (or even someone who can understand enough to help) to be readily available might be optimistic. Hopefully the phone patching in thing would work.

Edited by SusieQQQ

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, SusieQQQ said:

I know there are many immigrants in this country and many people speak many languages at airports, but Finnish is hardly a widely spoken language and not really related to much else, expecting  a Finnish translator (or even someone who can understand enough to help) to be readily available might be optimistic. Hopefully the phone patching in thing would work.

That's exactly what I was thinking too, which is why I'm providing a phone number and the cards. :) I'm trying to make the trip back as smooth as possible for them since they're quite old already and having to find your way in a new country is scary, especially when you don't speak/understand the language.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Seepia said:

That's exactly what I was thinking too, which is why I'm providing a phone number and the cards. :) I'm trying to make the trip back as smooth as possible for them since they're quite old already and having to find your way in a new country is scary, especially when you don't speak/understand the language.

And with translations for common airport signs etc too - it’ll probably be fine if it’s just a terminal on the way out, they don’t have to go out via CBP again like many other countries. Or will they be transiting somewhere?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, SusieQQQ said:

And with translations for common airport signs etc too - it’ll probably be fine if it’s just a terminal on the way out, they don’t have to go out via CBP again like many other countries. Or will they be transiting somewhere?

Oh yeah I almost forgot about the signs, thanks!

I have yet to see a direct flight from Finland (at least one that doesn't cost thousands of euros) so there will most likely be a layover somewhere. We're not at the point where we can seriously look for tickets yet so I don't know where the layover would be, but according to my past trips, I'd say the chances are it'd be in UK.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×