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Michele and Adam

Yes, you can visit!

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I'm sure all the vets on this board are tired of this daily question, but keep in mind that dozens of people are just starting this process every day, and the "can I visit while the application is pending?" question is one, if not the, most pressing matters to most of them.

Information about this is all over this site, but scattered. I for one am a person who likes to hear personal experiences too, so I can make a decision based on what others in my similar situation have gone through.

The answer is yes, visits are allowed. But whether you will actually be admitted lies entirely in the hands of the officer questioning you upon entry. And face it, hearing you've got a sweetheart you're intending to/have married waiting for you in the US is going to set off a "he/she is just going to stay here forever" bell to that officer. It's your job to convince that officer that you have a life back in your home country that you fully intend, and will, go back to.

Anyway, I'm hoping people will post their experiences visiting the USC before and during the visa journey. I'm sure that all of us do visit legally, and do leave when we're supposed to. So, is there anything that worked for you? Hindered you? If you were ever denied, why? Were you able to remedy the situation and try again?

Going through customs can make your stomach turn, and make you feel like a criminal even though you've done nothing wrong. So, let's try to calm each other down and tell each other our experiences. I think we'll find that most of us are admitted (albeit with a little hassle, perhaps).

Vets, maybe this will cut down on having to answer the question 5 times a day!

Michele

great idea michele,

i can see how the vets will get bored of answering the same questions everyday so it will be good to have some experiences on a thread. i will put my experience on the 12th june!

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Information about this is all over this site, but scattered. I for one am a person who likes to hear personal experiences too, so I can make a decision based on what others in my similar situation have gone through....

Anyway, I'm hoping people will post their experiences visiting the USC before and during the visa journey. I'm sure that all of us do visit legally, and do leave when we're supposed to. So, is there anything that worked for you? Hindered you?

Good idea to have a thread for this topic. :)

I wrote about my experience entering the US while our I-129F is pending in this March 2007 thread. A summary: I almost wasn't allowed in because it was difficult to prove ties to Canada because I'm self-employed and don't have a lease or mortgage. However, I brought what I had, and the border guard let me through.

When I was asked the purpose of my visit, I answered, "To visit my guy." The border guard looked at his computer monitor and asked: "How long have you been engaged?" Someone in the above thread suggested that maybe the border guard didn't have any information about me and was just fishing. After thinking about it, I think that's what it was. I have a vague memory of being asked the same question when I entered the US last fall. The answer then was, "We aren't engaged," so the question didn't stay with me.

My advice to anyone travelling to the US while their K-1 is pending:

  • Don't volunteer more information than you need to initially. But if questions arise about your intentions and status, that's when to show how prepared you are.
  • Bring all the documentation of ties to home that you can think of, especially if you don't have a lease/mortgage or letter from your employer. I listed what I brought here.
  • Bring a copy of your I-129F package, including the NOA1 and NOA2 if you have it. If you're working on the next steps of the K-1, bring whatever you have for that too. The border guard spent some time looking through what I'd brought. I think the amount of material in the package helped convince him that I was doing things legally and wasn't going to stay in the US on that trip.
  • Be informed about the laws concerning your situation, how long you can stay (depending on where you're from or your visa) and demonstrate how informed you are if you get into a discussion about your status.

And, of course, be polite, and stay cool. It's easier to do if you walk through the possibilities mentally beforehand.


K-1, AOS, ROC
2007, 2009, 2011

Naturalization

2016-05-17 - N-400 package sent

2016-05-21 - NOA1 (IOE receipt number)

2016-06-15 - Biometrics

2016-11-08 - Citizenship interview in Detroit: approved
2016-12-16 - Oath ceremony

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My visits have gone like this:

Adam lives in Derby, England. I, Michele, live in Detroit MI. We filed our I-129F April 12, 2007.

November 3, 2006 - November 13, 2006:

Adam visits me for the first time. He entered at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and was asked simply his reason for visit (visit a friend), where he was staying (hotel), length of visit (ten days), and to see his itinerary showing his flight back home. No proof of ties to England requested. Welcome to America.

January 3, 2007 - January 22, 2007

Adam visits for second time, entering again at Detroit, MI. Asked same questions, answered 'reason for visit' this time as 'to be with my girlfriend' and was told he can't marry me while he's here, that would be a violation. Adam assures officer he won't. Asked how he could afford to visit again so soon, replied 'using student loan money'. No proof of ties to England requested. Welcome to America.

February 13, 2007 - February 20, 2007.

Michele goes to England. Depart Detroit, arrive at Gatwick, UK. Asked reason for visit (visit boyfriend), length of visit (one week), and where I'd be staying (hotel). I too was told sternly I couldn't marry Adam while I was there. Promised I wouldn't. No proof of anything requested. Welcome to England!

February 21, 2007 - Current (Adam will leave May 20, 2007)

Adam arrives at Detroit MI. Was asked usual 'reason for visit, length of visit' questions. Answered 'to see girlfriend, 3 months'. Was asked about his employment and housing in England, answered that he left his job but it was being held for when he gets back, and that he lives with his mother. Officer apparently thinks something fishy, converses with several other officers, Adam ends up in 'interview room'. Was asked same questions, answered same truthfully. Was asked to describe Michele, how we met, what Michele does for a living. Customs calls Michele at work and asks if Michele knows Adam, what is relationship to him, etc. Answered yes, he's my boyfriend. Call ends. Luggage searched, and laptop plugged in to read emails we've sent back and forth. Officers satisifed we knew each other. Passport stamped, approved for full three month visit. Was advised again not to get married while here (yeah, we know!) Side note, as Adam was leaving, one guard asked the other "so that guy is okay?" Other guard answers, "yeah, he's just in love." No "proof" of ties was requested. Questions were asked, but no paper produced. Welcome to America.

:thumbs: THanks Michelle


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2 questions:

my passport got stolen so i will be travelling on a new passport in june (i only gave a copy of my stolen one with my petition to indicate the stamp of visiting in march 07) will this raise any problems?

and

i am originally from holland, but living in london at the moment, i am moving back home in july to do the rest of the visa. i cannot prove that, will this cause a problem aswell?

ta

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Side note, as Adam was leaving, one guard asked the other "so that guy is okay?" Other guard answers, "yeah, he's just in love."

That's the cutest thing I've ever heard.


My K-1 Timeline:

02/08/2007: Engaged on top of Table Mountain!

03/27/2007: Sent I129f to NSC

04/04/2007: NOA1 (from CSC)

06/27/2007: NOA2!!!!!!!!!!!!

07/09/2007: Paper NOA2 in the mail

07/13/2007: NVC sent our petition to Jo'burg!!

07/27/2007: Packet 3

09/20/2007: Successful Interview!!!

09/27/2007: Visa in hand

10/02/2007: E's flight lands at 2:10 in Chicago!!!!!!

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A friend of mine successfully visited her fiance in California last month. She had no problems. (She's waiting for her NOA2).

But to CYA she brought proof that she is in medical school in Brazil among other documents she said.


11/2004 - Met in Brazil

09/2006 - Apply for K1

03/2007 - K1 approved

04/2007 - Apply for AOS & EAD

07/2007 - EAD approved

01/2008 - Conditional Residency approved

11/2009 - Apply to remove conditions

02/2010 - Permanent Residency approved

11/2010 - Apply for Citizenship

03/2011 - Citizenship approved

07/2011 - Moved back to Brazil

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at this point, i've only gone to visit my fiance once since we started our application back in january. it was only for a week in march, but i did bring a letter from work indicating my expected return date as well as my flight itinerary for a trip i was taking for a family reunion (here in canada) over the easter weekend. it was a good thing i did too.

i answered all questions honestly: reason for visit (vacation), why (to visit my fiance), is he moving here or are you moving there (i'm moving to the US). at this point i mentioned that we had applied for the K1 visa (hopefully to indicate we were going about things correctly and legally), and that i would only be moving once the visa had been approved. the officer then led me to one of the back offices where i spoke with another customs official.

fingerprinted, picture taken, asked basically the same questions, produced my evidence of returning to Canada. this official mentioned that they get a little more careful with people once visa's are involved (said i completely understood), but they let me proceed. my carry-on luggage was thoroughly searched and i was given the full pat-down at security.

it was definitely unnerving and stressful, but i was honest about my intentions. if i had not had the evidence of returning with me, i don't think they would have let me on the plane.

i am flying to Wichita again next week tuesday for 2.5 weeks and hope to not have too much hassle. i have a few doctor appointments in june, so i am bringing the appointment letters with me, i plan to take some phone bills along, my flight itinerary with return date/time, and last time i visited him i did come home. i am also bringing along my NOA2 email notice (my fiance has not received our actual letter in the mail yet) to prove that we are going about things legally; my feeling is - and i would hope the customs officer would see things the same way - that we've done things legally thus far, why would we screw things up now when we're so close to the end?

i'm keeping my fingers crossed that this is enough and they let me through, but i have to admit i am apprehensive... i'll let you know how things go once i'm down there *crosses fingers*


First contact: Oct 14/06

First meeting: Nov 6-13/06

Engaged: Dec 29/06

Moved to US: June 28/07

Married: July 14/07

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This thread is a god send. Im flying from Manchester in June to see my fiancee.

Im trying to get as much stuff together as possible incase I need it.

Still scared they won't let me in but life is a gamble.

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The guides here are great, BUT they don't give personal experiences, which is what I believe the OP was striving for in creating this thread. I, for one, think its a great idea! :thumbs:

Yep, exactly. The guides are great, it's true, but this is such a grey area that it really demands some discussion, I think. My goal is to gather as many experiences as possible so people can get an idea of what may be asked of them, and try to prepare as much 'proof' for answers as they can. Maybe see some of the problems other people ran into and prepare for it before you leave. For instance, it never occurred to Adam or I that Border Patrol would question whether Adam actually knew the person he was claiming to be coming here to see. So, from that experience, I'm going to give Adam a short letter from me w/ photo of us together attached to show to customs saying yes, Adam is my fiance, I know him!

I also think it's going to be helpful to everyone who is scared they won't be let in just to read other accounts of being in a similar situation and still being admitted. Of course I have no statistics on it, but reading many other topics and posts, it's my impression that most people are let in (although for some reason, it seems Canadians visiting seem to have a harder time...). You may get grilled pretty hard, but it seems customs isn't in fact in the business of denying people entry for the sheer glee of it.


K-1 Journey:

April 12, 2007 - Mail I-129F packet to NSC

May 1, 2007 - Application received by CSC

May 1, 2007 - NOA1 sent

May 3, 2007 - Touch

May 4, 2007 - Check cashed by CSC

June 1, 2007 - Call USCIS since 30 days w/out receiving paper NOA1, told to call back after it's been 45 days

June 15, 2007 - Call USCIS for update on NOA1. Told address correct, NOA1 was not generated, they will do so

August 2, 2007 - TOUCH!!!

August 3, 2007 - TOUCH!!!!!!!

August 6, 2007 - Received hard copy NOA1, finally

August 12, 2007 - TOUCH! (Sunday?)

August 14, 2007 - TOUCH!

August 15, 2007 - TOUCH!

August 15, 2007 - NOA2!!!

August 16, 2007 to present:

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

November 1, 2007 - File leaves CSC

November 3rd, 2007 - File arrives at NVC

November 7th, 2007 - File processed by NVC, sent to London Embassy

November 20th, 2007 - File processed by London Embassy

December 8th - Adam receives packet 3

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I'm the USC, but it works the other way, too. My fiancée lives just across the border from me, so I cross the border at least 4 or 5 times a week. I was pulled into secondary about a month or so ago, and the IO asks me if I have any proof of ties back to the US, etc. I didn't have much on me, just my work ID, etc. The officer worked out with me what would be some documents that would be acceptable to show the next time I cross. She ended up issuing me a "Visitor's Record" good for the weekend, and when I head back to the States I was to go back into the immigration office and relinquish it. On my next trip back, I wasn't told by primary inspection to go to secondary, which the original IO told me they would. So, I pulled over to secondary anyway, the Customs Agents outside asked for my yellow card, I said, I don't have one, I just need to go to the immigration office. The immigration officer asks me about 3 times why exactly I'm here, and I explain three times that I was told to come in here on my next visit and show my proof of ties back to the States. She glances at it, and puts a note in the computer that I've voluntarily given proof of ties to the States or some such.


Adjustment of Status / EAD / AP
Day 000: 2007-12-27 Mailed Application
Day 002: 2007-12-29 Received at Chicago Lockbox
Day 003: 2007-12-30 "Received Date"
Day 007: 2008-01-03 All 5 NOAs (K1 + K2 AOS, K1 EAD, K1 + K2 AP)
Day 008: 2008-01-04 K-2 AOS Touched
Day 011: 2008-01-07 $1610 Check cleared
Day 011: 2008-01-07 All 5 physical NOAs received
Day 012: 2008-01-08 K-1 files Touched, but not K-2
Day 014: 2008-01-10 K-2 AP Touched
Day 016: 2008-01-12 Biometrics Appt. Letter Received
Day 029: 2008-01-25 Biometrics Appt.
Day 043: 2008-02-08 K-2 Notice of interview received
Day 044: 2008-02-09 K-1 Notice of interview received
Day 056: 2008-02-21 APs approved and EAD card production ordered
Day 126: 2008-05-01 Interviews
-----------------------------------------------------------
K1/K2 Application
Day 000: 2007-03-16 Sent out I-129F Package
Day 012: 2007-03-28 NOA1
Day 082: 2007-06-06 NOA2
Day 103: 2007-06-27 NVC Received
Day 105: 2007-06-29 NVC Forwarded to Montreal
Day 117: 2007-07-11 Montreal Sends Packet 3
Day 125: 2007-07-19 Receive Packet 3
Day 129: 2007-07-23 Send Checklist and Forms Back
Day 131: 2007-07-25 Montreal Receives Packet 3
Day 137: 2007-07-31 Medical
Day 169: 2007-09-01 "Wedding" (aka the $10K party)
Day 192: 2007-09-24 Receive "Packet 4" (Interview letter)
Day 238: 2007-11-09 Interview in Montreal
Day 245: 2007-11-16 Visas Received
Day 248: 2007-11-19 Moved to USA
Day 249: 2007-11-20 Legal wedding


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Went to the states recently and didn't have a problem either.

Was just asked why I was coming to the states. My answer: "I'm going to my boyfriend's brother's fiance's bachelorette in philadelphia, and from there, my boyfriend picking me up and spending the week in virginia with him."

Easy Breezy.

I did take proof though just in case.


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