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I am an American citizen but I have not lived in the US for more than 20 years. My girlfriend is not an American, and is not eligible for VWP (though less than 5% of the visa applications from her country are rejected, from what I understand). We would like to visit the US some time to visit my family (she has never been to the US), though we don't have definite plans yet (maybe this summer). We definitely don't have any plans to immigrate to the US.

Some questions about the process:

Should she volunteer that her boyfriend is American and she wants to visit his family (if she's not asked directly about that), or is that likely to be seen as an red flag for intent to immigrate? Would it help to volunteer that information, even if she's not asked anything that would require disclosing that? Should she just say she's coming for tourism (unless asked directly, of course)?

She has a high paying job but she just started a new job a month ago. Should she wait a few months before applying for the visa so that she can show that she has several months of pay slips, or does that not matter?

Is there anything I can do as an American citizen to help her visa application process, or should I just stay out of it? Is there anything my family in the US can do (like sending a letter of sponsorship or something like that)?

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    If you're traveling with her, and you have a long-term permanent job, it might be good for her to mention that; it would attest to the fact that you'll both be returning to your home(s) after a brief visit. – Michael Seifert Jan 11 '18 at 22:42
  • It is never good to volunteer information, rather ask and answer any question directly and factually - whatever you do, do not lie and make sure to start with that you are applying for the right type of visa (which will dictate the nature of questions asked). – Burhan Khalid Jan 12 '18 at 4:56
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    (1) she is coming for tourism (2) never volunteer anything (3) anything at all you are asked, just answer completely honestly. Nothing could be more natural than "Visiting the US with your boyfriend for a few weeks" - of course anything can happen but it's hard to forsee any problems. Good luck! – Fattie Oct 27 '18 at 3:42
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Should she volunteer that her boyfriend is American and she wants to visit his family (if she's not asked directly about that), or is that likely to be seen as an red flag for intent to immigrate?

She should not volunteer this information, but when asked (as one usually is) what do you plan on doing during your trip - she should be truthful.

Sometimes, you are also asked if you have any family members in the US - of course this should be answered in the negative and not with a no, but my boyfriend who is a US citizen has.

Should she just say she's coming for tourism (unless asked directly, of course)?

Even if not asked directly, the purpose of her requesting a visa is for tourism, which includes "visiting friends and family". So her saying she's coming for tourism wouldn't be a lie, in fact, it would be the purpose of the trip and the reason for applying for the visa in the first place.

Usually the first question asked by the officer will be "what is the purpose of your trip?". The answer here is tourism, something like "tourism and visiting friends".

She has a high paying job but she just started a new job a month ago. Should she wait a few months before applying for the visa so that she can show that she has several months of pay slips, or does that not matter?

It would only matter if there was a significant, material change in her income, or she doesn't have evidence of payslips from her previous job. Otherwise as long as she has permission from her work, and a letter of employment, sufficient savings for the costs of her trip, then she doesn't need to wait for an arbitrary number of payslips.

Is there anything I can do as an American citizen to help her visa application process, or should I just stay out of it? Is there anything my family in the US can do (like sending a letter of sponsorship or something like that)?

She would be judged on her own merits and likelihood of her returning back (not being a de-facto immigrant), even if the sponsorship letter were there or you would have tried to help.

  • And the fact that the boyfriend is an expat established outside the US and not planning to return to the US, would be a favorable indicator. – Harper May 21 '18 at 0:03

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