Earlier this year I travelled from the UK to visit my girlfriend who lives in the US. My employment is I look after my dad who is disabled, I receive benefits for this.

I'm planning on visiting my girlfriend again next year, but by that time there is a chance I'll no longer be required to look after my dad. How will it work going through immigration? Because they'll see that I'm unemployed but only recently because my service was no longer required to look after him.

Will I be denied? And what can I do to prevent denial?

  • 5
    Sorry, it's tricky to deal with hypotheticals. If you are not looking after your dad, you will presumably supporting yourself someway else ? Unemployment per se doesn't disqualify you from entering the US or getting an ESTA or Visa. But unfortunately US immigration officers have an unusually large amount leeway and discretion so you can't really predict anything with certainty. The tend to bark a lot but very rarely bite. If you want to get more predictability in the process, you can try to apply for a B2 Visa instead of an ESTA.
    – Hilmar
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 12:43
  • I already have an ESTA. What if I had a job lined up before I go to start after I come back? Would that be acceptable proof of return? Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 13:40
  • 3
    As Hilmar correctly observes, there's no general rule about what "home ties" are sufficient, nor any list of "this'll do it" documents. Search on this website for "home country ties" (in the search box at the top of the page) and you'll find many similar questions and some useful answers and comments. US INA Sec. 214(b) requires a non-immigrant seeking entry (or a visa) must demonstrate that they do not want or intend to stay in or move to the US. An unemployed person with a girlfriend in the US, who's been the US recently for a visit, may encounter scepticism at the US border. Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 15:15
  • 2
    Perhaps your girlfriend could visit you in the UK instead? Reciprocal visits is likely a positive for a couple’s travel history
    – Traveller
    Commented Oct 26, 2023 at 16:19

1 Answer 1


UK citizens don't get a lot of scrutiny compared with other nationals. If you already have an ESTA (and so don't need to apply for one) your circumstances aren’t going to be investigated deeply, and you will likely be allowed to enter. You should of course have a return ticket exiting within the allowed time.

You can help yourself by:

  • Having a permanent place where you live in the UK
  • Having a job
  • or being in the process of getting one in the UK, and being able to concretely describe what you are doing about it

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