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Jesse+Blaise

Travelling to US (I-130 pending) on ESTA VISA

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Hi everyone, 

 

My husband has recently received the NOA1 for our I-130, and as many of you are aware (and suffering from) the waiting time is extremely high. 

 

I would like to visit my husband for 6-8 weeks in March 2019 on my valid ESTA. My situation will be that at the time of entry, I will technically be unemployed and living with family. However, this is because I will be in the final stages of preparing to depart for a fixed term volunteer position in Nepal with an NGO. 

 

My hope is that the job letter from the NGO stating the start and end date of the position, along with proof of booked flights to Nepal (leaving from the UK) will be enough to prove that my intension is only to visit my Husband temporarily and not side-step the waiting time. 

 

Has anybody else had luck entering the US under similar circumstances, or possibly even entered the US with less evidence than I will have?

 

Any guidance would be appreciated!

 

Jesse :) 

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I doubt you will have any issues entering the US via your ESTA.  I think you are sufficiently prepared in case you get questions......Good luck.


"Experience can be a tough teacher to those who fail to heed good advice"- Missileman, 12/6/18

 

First career- 20 year Retired E-8, USAF Missileer,

Second career-Retired Registered Nurse, experience in Labor& Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent & Adult Psych

Third career-Retired IT Developer & Database Administrator for surgical services dept.

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
 

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I entered on a B1/B2 which gets even more scrutiny and I wasn't required to present any extra evidence that I was planning to return. The i-130 didn't even come up. 

Edited by Keas

Cateogory: CR1

  • NOA1/Notice of receipt: Sept. 15, 2015
  • NOA2/I130 Approved: February 8, 2016 (NO RFE) :)
  • Process slowed down by us
  • Sent documents to NVC: April 11, 2016
  • Scan date: April 14/ May 7th (NVC said both I dont know why)
  • Case Complete: May 31, 2016 (No checklist) :dancing:
August 17, 2016: Visa Approved!!!! :dancing:

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My now-husband visited me several times on his B2 visa when we were in the K1 process. He even once traveled with the K1 in his passport, but just presented the tourist visa because he didn't want to move yet. No one asked him a single question. They just stamped him and he moved on. He lived at home too.

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1 minute ago, Sarah&Facundo said:

My now-husband visited me several times on his B2 visa when we were in the K1 process. He even once traveled with the K1 in his passport, but just presented the tourist visa because he didn't want to move yet. No one asked him a single question. They just stamped him and he moved on. He lived at home too.

He was extremely lucky.  Many B2s are cancelled upon issuing a K-1.  I certainly would not advise anyone to try entering the US via a tourist visa after a K-1 has been issued.


"Experience can be a tough teacher to those who fail to heed good advice"- Missileman, 12/6/18

 

First career- 20 year Retired E-8, USAF Missileer,

Second career-Retired Registered Nurse, experience in Labor& Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent & Adult Psych

Third career-Retired IT Developer & Database Administrator for surgical services dept.

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
 

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I've traveled on an ESTA for over 2 years, only maybe twice-three times have they asked me what i do for work, I've never had to provide my companies name or anything that states I'm a current employee. I have always been asked how long i'm staying in the states for and what date i'm departing. In Dublin anyway, they seem to have an issue if you don't have a return flight

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I don't think airport CPB have any status of I-130s and NOAs. I think questioning is more often prompted on length of stay, how often before. Of course with an 8 week stay, a normal question would be "do you have a job that allows you that much time off".  And then deeper questions begin to learn more. 

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29 minutes ago, missileman said:

He was extremely lucky.  Many B2s are cancelled upon issuing a K-1.  I certainly would not advise anyone to try entering the US via a tourist visa after a K-1 has been issued.

Edit:  Unless he or she is prepared to stay for 3-5 months waiting for advance parole......LOL..

Edited by missileman

"Experience can be a tough teacher to those who fail to heed good advice"- Missileman, 12/6/18

 

First career- 20 year Retired E-8, USAF Missileer,

Second career-Retired Registered Nurse, experience in Labor& Delivery, Home Health, Adolescent & Adult Psych

Third career-Retired IT Developer & Database Administrator for surgical services dept.

 

Immigration Journey:

  • Texas Service Center after transfer from Nebraska
  • Consulate :Taipei, Taiwan
  • Marriage: 7/30/2015
  • I-130 NOA1 : 4/27/2016
  • I-130 Approved :9/8/2016
  • Case received at NVC: 10/11/2016                               
  • Case # and IIN#: 10/24/2016
  • AOS Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • AOS Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • IV Fee Invoiced:10/24/2016  
  • IV Fee Paid:10/25/2016
  • DS-260 Completed: 10/28/16
  • Scan Date:11/9/2016
  • Supervisor review: 12/21/16 
  • Checklist: 1/13/17 
  • Case Complete: 4/10/17
  • Interview Date: 5/8/17 
  • Visa  "ISSUED": 5/10/17
  • Visa and Passport in hand/Flight to USA Booked!!!: 5/12/17  
  • POE Dallas DFW on June 22, 2017
  • SS Card received : 7/3/2017
  • 2-year Green Card received in mail: 7/15/17
 

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You should be okay, just answer all questions asked by the CBP officer truthfully.  If asked the purpose of your visit, don't hide anything or it could could come back to haunt you later.  Always be honest and hope for the best.

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12 hours ago, Lil bear said:

You may or may not get the full 6-8 weeks. 

VWP arrivals always get 90 days per visit, nothing else. Even if they have evidence of only intending to stay 4 days, they still get 90 days or nothing. 


 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, Loo1 said:

they seem to have an issue if you don't have a return flight

And correctly so. Having a return or onward ticket is a requirement for VWP travel. Without a return or onward ticket, you are not eligible to use the VWP.  


 

 

 

 

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To answer the OP, I visited twice during the wait for the I-130 to be approved. No issues. In my 40+ VWP visits, I've only been asked once about my employer and questioned about my work. 

 

Incidentally, the ESTA is not a visa. It's just approval to present yourself at the border without a visa to request admission under the VWP. 


 

 

 

 

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Hi ,

 

please see my comments from last August.

 

I had no problems

 

Hi ,

 

just a few comments and my own experience:

 

1. Every case is different and so is the basis for entering the USA.

2. In addition to my timeline infos I am also using Global Entry.

3. I visited the USA quite often over the last decades

 

Last year we decided that I will apply for the Green Card. Presently I am waiting for the NVC case number.

We decided that I would visit my wife in the USA. Yesterday I arrived in the USA and had no problems or any questions were asked by the CBP officer. I got my receipt out of the Global Entry Kiosk and just dropped that receipt at the immigration. He took my passport looked at the passport and wished me a good day.

 

In case of questions being asked I had several papers along:

1. return ticket

2. lease of my apartment in Germany

3. letter of my freelance activities for an US based company

4. some bank account statements

5. last years tax return

 

I did not need any of it. 

 

Don't know whether it was just luck but everything worked out well for me.

 

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