I would like to have my Russian girlfriend come visit me in San Francisco on a B-2 visa. She is currently working in Beijing, China as an English teacher. However, she received her employment through some type of agency (that basically finds internationals jobs in China and takes a cut of their paycheck in return) and the agency did not get her a work visa. Instead, she is on a business visa, being paid "under the table" it seems (they do a direct deposit onto her Chinese credit card - she doesn't get a pay slip).

When the officials at the U.S. embassy ask her about what will make her return to China after being in the U.S., is it safe for her to bring up her job, even though she is technically working illegally in the country? Further, would proof of being paid be enough to show employment? She doubts the company will give her an official letter of employment since that could get them in trouble.

(On a side note: would she do better going back to Russia and applying for a visa there? The problem I see with that is that while she has family in Russia, she has no job there.)

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    I don't know whether it's safe, but I'd guess the US embassy wouldn't consider an illegal job to be a strong tie to a country. Her willingness to work illegally in China will also likely be considered evidence of intention to work illegally in the US.
    – Max
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 8:27
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    Mmm, that's a good point I hadn't thought about - need that 3rd party opinion! So, chances of being able to get the visa without a job? Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 8:54
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    @MeNoTalk On this page it says: Note: Visa applicants must qualify on the basis of the applicant's residence and ties abroad, rather than assurances from U.S. family and friends. A letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support is not needed to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist visa. If you do choose to bring a letter of invitation or Affidavit of Support to your interview, please remember that it is not one of the factors that we use in determining whether to issue or deny a nonimmigrant tourist visa. Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 9:40
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    @MatthewHerbst That could actually work against you (her). If the US interviewer determines a relationship between a US Citizen and the tourist, that speaks to the visitor NOT wanting to 'go home' wherever that is. She needs to show valid and compelling reasons to WANT TO return home, not a relationship that might cause her to want to remain IN the US. I know the page quoted says the officer is not supposed to use the invitation as a reason to deny, however why give the officer ANY reason to look further to deny.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 15:42
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    @CGCampbell - she thinks the same thing. Problem is that she doesn't have a way of proving she has enough money to stay here unless she says she's staying with a friend (she's hopefully going to be here for about a month). Commented Nov 30, 2014 at 20:28

1 Answer 1


Long story short you basically have red flag on red flag here, even though weirder things have been known to happen, I would have to say that it is more likely for her to get denied a visa.

Now just to review the red flags:

  1. Your girlfriend, presumably single with no kids, is visiting a single man.
  2. Her job is unofficial so her status in China is temporary.
  3. Even though her status in China is temporary she's been in country for quite some time, so she doesn't seem to have any intention to return back home.

So in order for her to obtain a visa at least these will need to be overcome for her to have a more reasonable chance to get a Visitor's visa to the US. So if she brings up her job with no reasonable proof of it's existence she's even more likely to get denied.

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