in 2008 I messed up badly. I traveled 3 times to the US on VWP. The first 2 times stayed the full length. Upon my third entry on VWP I was put through secondary inspection and asked tons of questions. It almost looked like they were going to send me back, but after several hours I was given a warning but let through anyway.
During that third stay, I got married to this dude whom I had met. Things didn't work out and he asked for an annullment. At that point I was ready to file my application for residency as a spouse of an American citizen but instead had to file for a divorce (I know, I know... I was young and stupid). I didn't want an annullment because the only way to prove that my overstay was legit, was to prove that the reason for overstaying was the fact that I got married and was ready to file for residency.
Anyway, I flew back to Europe and have never attempted to fly to the US again since then. I am now married here in Europe, been married for 4 years and would like to travel to the US with my husband in 2019 for a short amount of time (we would like to attend a celebration we've got invited to).
What do I do? Do I apply for an ESTA knowing that I would be denied and then book an interview at the embassy for a visa? Or do I skip the ESTA and just book an interview? How many chances do I have of getting a visa, considering my story?
I am editing to include more detail as requested:
- entered US first time in april 2007 on vwp - stayed a week
- entered a second time in October on vwp - stayed 4 days
- entered a third time on December 1st, stayed 90 days flew back to Italy for a week or so
- entered again in may 2008, stayed 90 days flew back to Italy for a week or so
- entered again in June, got put through secondary inspection and got scared as hell thinking that I would get kicked out - the dude and I both freaked out and thought that we would never be able to see each other again.
- decided to get married. got married in July. after a month something major happened. I'm talking infidelity (HE was seeing someone else!) . he asked for an annulment, I decided to go for a divorce. I remember leaving right after Thanksgiving, when my attorney gave me all the papers and the divorce was final.
basically, the last time I entered the States I had no intention of getting married, nor I intended to overstay. I freaked out and thought marriage was our last option to avoid being separated forever. We did it out of ignorance, never consulted an immigration expert. We had no idea on how to file for residency either, I remember getting a big fat book on how to do that.