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Gasolina424

Pending K-1 visa, fiancé denied entry on ESTA for suspicion of being here to work

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I have submitted a k-1 visa for my New Zealand fiancé to come here to the USA. We received noa 1 in July, and are waiting for the next step. My fiancé came over to visit this week and was denied entry. He was randomly selected out of customs line at SFO and interrogated. They accused him of being here to work despite him telling them he was here to see me and I was there to pick him up. Eventually he signed something saying he was here to work, he said it was traumatic and he felt coerced into admitting this-being promised he’d be let go if he confessed. Anyway, he was immediately returned to Australia where he lives. He has had his tourist visa privileges revoked for the USA, and now I’m horrified for the fate of our k-1 fiancé visa. 

 

Does anyone have insight or advice. I assume I need an immigration lawyer, what kind? So far the ones I’ve contacted have said they specialize more in setting up businesses and assisting with green cards etc. I don’t know where to start.

 

This happened Wednesday, I couldn’t talk to my fiancé until Friday because his phone was taken and not returned until he landed. So now it’s the weekend and I won’t be able to talk to anyone until Monday. Any ideas where to start? Thank you for any insight or advice.

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Revocation of VWP privileges is unfortunate, but does not prevent you from filing for or successfully obtaining a K1 visa. It will have to be disclosed and he may or may not be asked about it during his interview, but otherwise in general it's fine. Remember, he's obtaining a visa with the purpose of eventual residing in the US with you, so denial of tourism purposes doesn't penalize.

 

Is there any particular reason they felt he was coming here to work? Did he disclose that a K1 had been filed? Did he attempt to mislead the officers in any way? Did he have strong ties to home - with proof of returning and a job in NZ?


K-1 - AOS & ROC Timeline  - Immigration and the Health Exchange Price of Love in the UK Thinking of Returning to UK?

 

First met: 12/31/04 - Engaged: 9/24/09
Filed I-129F: 10/4/14 - Packet received: 10/7/14
NOA 1 email + ARN assigned: 10/10/14 (hard copy 10/17/14)
Touched on website (fixed?): 12/9/14 - Poked USCIS: 4/1/15
NOA 2 email: 5/4/15 (hard copy 5/11/15)
Sent to NVC: 5/8/15 - NVC received + #'s assigned: 5/15/15 (estimated)
NVC sent: 5/19/15 - London received/ready: 5/26/15
Packet 3: 5/28/15 - Medical: 6/16/15
Poked London 7/1/15 - Packet 4: 7/2/15
Interview: 7/30/15 - Approved!
AP + Issued 8/3/15 - Visa in hand (depot): 8/6/15
POE: 8/27/15

Wedding: 9/30/15

Filed I-485, I-131, I-765: 11/7/15

Packet received: 11/9/15

NOA 1 txt/email: 11/15/15 - NOA 1 hardcopy: 11/19/15

Bio: 12/9/15

EAD + AP approved: 1/25/16 - EAD received: 2/1/16

RFE for USCIS inability to read vax instructions: 5/21/16 (no e-notification & not sent from local office!)

RFE response sent: 6/7/16 - RFE response received 6/9/16

AOS approved/card in production: 6/13/16  

NOA 2 hardcopy + card sent 6/17/16

Green Card received: 6/18/16

USCIS 120 day reminder notice: 2/22/18

Filed I-751: 5/2/18 - Packet received: 5/4/18

NOA 1:  5/29/18 (12 mo) 8/13/18 (18 mo)  - Bio: 6/27/18

 

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Thank you! That is encouraging. He was randomly selected from customs line and then when they pulled up his entry/exits they got suspicious because he was here the same time last year. They were accusing him of being here for the weed culture/trimming, apparently that’s a thing at San Francisco airport this time of year...I don’t know. He did disclose the pending K-1 and he said they pulled it up. He did not attempt to mislead, but eventually after a long time of interrogation he told them what they wanted to hear, thinking he would be let go. He does have strong ties to home. Hopefully we can move forward. Thank you for your insight. 

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Posted (edited)

*~*~*moved from “off topic” to “K-1 fiancé visa process and procedures” - duplicate thread also removed - please post each topic only once - thank you*~*~*

 

It’s very unusual for this to happen. Especially among VWP arrivals. Usually the suspicion among love interests of USCs is that they will stay and adjust status, not that they are coming to work. Was there anything in his luggage that suggested he might be looking for work? Or coming to do some work? Resumes? Lists of contacts for job opportunities or potential clients? Suits and ties? Uniforms? Specialist work equipment such as tools or safety clothing? Certificates and qualifications? 

 

I was questioned and had my luggage searched only once in over 40 VWP visits but work was never mentioned. They kept trying to get me to say that I was planning to stay and adjust. 

 

I don’t think you’ll get anywhere on Monday either - it’s a holiday for federal employees such as immigration. 

Edited by JFH

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Gasolina424 said:

Thank you! That is encouraging. He was randomly selected from customs line and then when they pulled up his entry/exits they got suspicious because he was here the same time last year. They were accusing him of being here for the weed culture/trimming, apparently that’s a thing at San Francisco airport this time of year...I don’t know. He did disclose the pending K-1 and he said they pulled it up. He did not attempt to mislead, but eventually after a long time of interrogation he told them what they wanted to hear, thinking he would be let go. He does have strong ties to home. Hopefully we can move forward. Thank you for your insight. 

Seems strange that they would suspect someone from a VWP country with a strong economy would be coming to work a menial job illegally for a lot less than he makes at home without the safety net of healthcare, etc. It’s usually people from economically disadvantaged nations that put themselves at such risk for such little reward. 

 

His strong ties to home are not that strong in the eyes of the immigration officers - filing a K-1 shows immigration intent and he will be abandoning most, if not all, of those ties permanently in the next 6 - 10 months anyway.  


 

 

 

 

 

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Usually a random search by CBP is not really that random...they usually have suspicion already and want to see if evidence supports that.


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

?/?/18: Approved (hopefully)

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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Not that interesting when you’re trying to get as much info as possible to plan your life! I asked this before we ever submitted a visa application. Just trying to weigh our options and make informed decisions.  This question was specific to whether or not the k-1 approval permits you to work while waiting for adjustment of status. Turns out you can, but it is another form and fee to apply for this privilege! Good to know, which is why I asked. 

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Yes, I’m not sure! I wasn’t there, but he told me he was waiting in line at customs, hadn’t scanned his passport or anything and he was pulled from the line along with about 10 other people.

Also, his return flight was for Oct 20th.

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Posted (edited)
55 minutes ago, JFH said:

Seems strange that they would suspect someone from a VWP country with a strong economy would be coming to work a menial job illegally for a lot less than he makes at home without the safety net of healthcare, etc. It’s usually people from economically disadvantaged nations that put themselves at such risk for such little reward. 

There was an interview with a CBP officer I read a while back who claimed that almost all of the "horror stories" you hear are embellished, exaggerated, or leave out key information. One example he gave was a Brazilian that got sent back who made a huge storm about his denial back in Brazil on the media. He claimed racism, xenophobia blah blah blah. Turns out he had overstayed his tourist visa by 5 years on his previous "trip" and he was detained for like 2 hours before getting put on a flight back home.

 

Something like 1 in 2500 VWP arrivals are denied entry, and that figure includes overstays, people with criminal records, people bringing in contraband, people flat out admitting they will work or do drugs, etc. 

Edited by FluffyBalls

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It's too late to do anything about it now but I'm constantly astonished when I read about people who claim they were forced to admit to things they didn't do or admit to planning to do things they don't do.

 

How does anyone believe that falsely admitting to planning to do something illegal will ever have a positive outcome?

 

I've been pulled in to secondary and interrogated. They tried to trip me up to get me to admit to doing something wrong.

Fortunately though, I wasn't doing anything illegal so I stuck with telling the truth and eventually was allowed to enter.

I just don't understand how anyone can believe that lying about doing something illegal is better than telling the truth about doing absolutely nothing illegal.


August 2000: We start e-mailing. I'm in Bosnia, she's in Florida

October 29th 2000: She sends me e-mail asking if I would marry her

October 29th 2000(5 seconds later): I say yes

November 2000: She sends me tickets to Orlando for when I get back

December 6th 2000: Return from Bos

December 11th 2000: Fly to Orlando, she meets me at airport

December 22nd 2000: I fly back to UK

January 3rd 2001: She flies to UK (Good times)

Mid February 2001: Pregnancy test Positive

Mid February 2001: She flies back to US

March 2001: Miscarriage, I fly to US on first flight I can get

May 2001: I leave US before my 90 days are up

June 2001: I fly back to US, stopped at airport for questioning as I had only just left

September 2001: Pregnancy test Positive again

September 2001: She falls sick, I make decision to stay to look after her as I am afraid I may have problems getting back in.

April 16th 2002: Our son is born, we start getting stuff together for his passport

March 6th 2003: We leave US for UK as family

Early April 2003: Family troubles make her return to US, I ask Embassy in London about possibilities of returning to US

April 16th 2003: London Embassy informs me that I will be banned from the Visa Waiver Program for 10 years, my little boys first birthday

June 13th 2006: I-129f sent

August 11th 2006: NOA1 Recieved

After our relationship breaks down she admits to me that she had never bothered to start the application process

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Agreed, but not helpful and not the purpose of my post. Everyone reacts differently under pressure.

 

I’m asking for guidance on how to proceed and if anyone knows what sort of specific immigration lawyer I need. Or if anyone has any experience with anything similar. I’m not looking for judgement, I’m looking for help. Thank you.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, Gasolina424 said:

Thank you! That is encouraging. He was randomly selected from customs line and then when they pulled up his entry/exits they got suspicious because he was here the same time last year. They were accusing him of being here for the weed culture/trimming, apparently that’s a thing at San Francisco airport this time of year...I don’t know. He did disclose the pending K-1 and he said they pulled it up. He did not attempt to mislead, but eventually after a long time of interrogation he told them what they wanted to hear, thinking he would be let go. He does have strong ties to home. Hopefully we can move forward. Thank you for your insight. 

You have to find out what he was forced to say, thus what CBP entered into the records. This can affect his answers on the DS-160.

Quote

Q: Have you ever been refused a U.S. Visa, or been refused admission to the United States, or withdrawn your application for admission at the port of entry?

A: Yes or No. If yes, provide an explanation.

Quote

Q: Have you ever violated, or engaged in a conspiracy to violate, any law relating to controlled substances?

A: Yes or No. If yes, provide an explanation.

Cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, thus inadmissible by INA 212(a)(2)(A)(i)(II).

Edited by TM92

Your Input Is Appreciated On This VJ Guide Proposal: 

 

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@Gasolina424: Here is a link that mentions CBP coercion. There is no ombudsman for CBP, only a generic complaint form: https://help.cbp.gov/app/forms/complaint


Your Input Is Appreciated On This VJ Guide Proposal: 

 

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