Woman planning to visit me from Ukraine to the US applied for a visa and such, claims to have paid for the visa but needs 500 dollars more for the airfare from Ukraine to the US. She says strict rules apply that the airfare cannot be purchased by US person, and must be purchased in Ukraine by person applying for the visa because of terrorist issues, etc..

Is there truth to such?


4 Answers 4


In a nutshell — scam. US embassy in Ukraine wouldn’t care who paid for flights tickets or if she even has fully booked flight tickets at the time of visa application.

From personal experience applying for US visa in Ukraine they cared very little about itinerary and flights.

About any extra documents in general really, they have bit of everything-can-be-forged-why-bother attitude and primarily rely on interview to make the decision.

Q.26 What documents do I need for my visa to be approved?

The only documents required at your visa interview are your one-page DS-160 confirmation page with barcode and your passport. [...]



Why did the consular officer refuse me without even looking at all my documents?

The consular officer examines your application and passport when you are called to the window for an interview. That information, along with the information obtained during the interview, is usually sufficient for a decision to be made. [...]


If you want a hard check you can try contacting US Embassy in Ukraine about current requirements for visa application:

Applicants may also email questions to [email protected] in Ukrainian, Russian, or English or contact the Call Center online through Skype at ustraveldocs-Ukraine. Email inquiries will receive a response within 2 business days.


  • 3
    That information may be useful to other people, but it doesn't address the question. He didn't ask about the visa process. She asked for money for a PLANE TICKET, and he wants to know if it's a scam, which it almost certainly is.
    – DaveInAZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 23:24
  • 1
    @DaveInAZ I think experience and materials cited make it clear that neither ticket is even required for visa application or that they care the least bit who paid for it. And of course to be absolutely sure would take a first hand contact with embassy.
    – Rarst
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 6:54
  • 12
    @DaveInAZ She claims there are issues with him buying her the ticket instead of sending money, because of visa issues, this answer contradicts that claim. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 8:55

Absolutely untrue. This is a Ukranian "woman" supposedly applying for a visa to visit the US. The decision makers are US Immigration officials. While Ukranian government officials can be corrupt, they have no say.

US immigration couldn't give a hoo-ha who pays for the airline tickets.

Immigration wants to know whether the person's reason to visit is bona-fide or a sham. While crime is a factor, mainly they want to know that the visitor is not going to overstay or seek employment. So they are looking for a bunch of stuff about the person's personal ties to life in Ukraine - are they financially self-sufficient in Ukraine, do they have a well established career, business, strong family or community ties, or are they a broke and flighty vagabond who will take anything? This is, in a small way, informed by who pays for the airline tickets, but not enough to matter.

So if this person is legitimate, a young woman who is so untied in Ukraine and needy enough to take her chances as a mail-order bride/girlfriend, that is exactly who Immigration wants to refuse. In this case, sending her cash to fund the plane ticket is simply a type of deception we here refer to as funds parking: sending the immigrant money for them to claim as their own resources. It almost never works because immigration sees it 100 times a day.

This is the classic failure-blindness of the desperate immigrant: hyper-focusong on one single detail of their application, believing the yes/no decision hinges on that alone, and obliviously ignoring the galaxy of other data which also dooms them.

Pay attention to everything. Make the entire galaxy support your application. If you are unable, defer your plans and get to work on that stuff.

Even ignoring the tendency for scams and gold digging, the government does not want foreigners romancing citizens to achieve entry or citizenship to which they would not otherwise be entitled.

If the person is not legitimate, obviously the goal is to get the money out of you. They will either vanish, or will hit you up with another problem that can only be cured with more money, and another problem, and another problem, preying on your belief in the "sunk costs" fallacy and your refusal to accept that you've actually been sexting with a guy this whole time.

This classic lonely-hearts scam can be busted by getting a VPN and Skype, and insisting all your future communications be video chat.

  • 5
    +1 for being the only answer to get to the point right away and not spew off a bunch of irrelevancies. I was looking for "No." as the first complete sentence, but "Absolutely untrue." is even better. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 1:35
  • The VPN and Skype thing will likely not help much. Could lead to blackmail if you are not careful though. Very good answer regardless. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 21:24
  • +1 for considering the unlikely case where it isn't a scam, and pointing out than even in that case the OP is highly unlikely to ever meet that woman.
    – vsz
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 22:16
  • 1
    Also, there's nothing to stop VPN and Skype from actually connecting you to real women who are forced into running these scams by organized crime. Just because you can't see the men with guns off-camera doesn't mean they're not there.
    – J...
    Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 11:05
  • 1
    I believe these scams aren't worked by fetching young women. They are worked by people who could not pass for fetching young women, often with bot assistance, working many people at once for efficiency. If you insist on video, they now must use a genuine fetching and believable woman, and you tie her up exclusively for countless hours, and that drives up their costs exponentially to where it isn't worth it. They drop you. Commented Oct 28, 2017 at 3:32

First of all, Americans aren't exactly a beloved class of tourists, but we're definitely not generally suspected of terrorism by the Ukrainian government. Scammy claim.

Now, the whole "airfare cannot be purchased by US person, must be purchased in Ukraine by person applying for the visa" part sounds reasonable for government bullcrap, but it's really just mixing up several valid things and putting it together in a very scammy way.

  1. US citizens applying for an expedited passport do need proof of travel. This appears to mostly require an itinerary or proof of booking, but can be done by a business letter (case-by-case for the letter.) No proof is needed that the person applying purchased the ticket instructions from site selling passport-related services
  2. Non-US citizens applying for visa with the DS-160 are required to include a "Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements." (emphasis added) official us state FAQ The entire DS-160 form is quite explicit that it does not require exact, set information about arrival flights and departure flights. yet another information site on the DS-160 (not official) Now, it's possible that having set travel arrangements would increase the likelihood of the visa being granted, but I doubt it will be a deciding factor.
  3. DS-160 does require information on who is paying for the trip, but it does not have to be the person applying for the visa. There is even an explicit option for 'other person'... it's fine to buy the trip for somebody else same site as above
  4. Schengen visa applications do require official itineraries, and they do cost money (don't have to buy tickets, but have to make official reservation) yet another travel site, but I'm pretty sure that the US isn't Schengen. Also, the cost would be less than $50, not $500.

In summary, her claim is bull. It does mix up elements of real requirements, but it's still objectively false. She can apply for a visa to the US without purchasing any tickets, she could apply and include itineraries purchased by you, and the US isn't part of Schengen stuff which might actually require money spent on ticket-related stuff for application. Scam, scam, scam.

  • 1
    Presumably, US citizens applying for an expedited passport need to give proof of travel to justify the need for expedited, rather than regular, processing. So, yeah, that definitely doesn't apply here. Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 19:32
  • @DavidRicherby 100% with you on that. I only included it since it was the US thing I found with the strictest requirements for proof of travel.
    – Jeutnarg
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 19:33
  • to be fair, often tit for tat rules are applied. This usually takes the form of a developed country being concerned about a less developed country and illegal immigration/terrorism/whatever so tightening rules, so the less developed country does the same about the developed country with the same reason, even though to any neutral observer the first might make sense and the second is ridiculous. Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 7:43

This is variant 1 of the scam. However, it is orchestrated in a manner where it can move seamlessly to variant 2 if you don't bite: the lady in question pays everything herself, but you must do the transaction. She will cause the money to be transferred to your account and you must pass it on. Or it will be "expense money" she can only transfer to you and you need to send it somewhere else.

Either way, the means to pass it on will be something irreversible and intractable, and the transfer to your account will happen but using stolen cheques or credentials. As a result, the actual owner of the money will report the transfer to police and demand it back from you. It will take an unpredictable time until that happens (completely fake credentials blow up too fast to be useful for this scam, so it is usually stolen credentials, and the transfer needs to be noticed by the sender first). You'll be landed with the cost of a criminal defense as well as having to pay the money back.

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