15

I am from England and I met a girl from the USA online.

This summer, I went to visit her for two weeks, and on arrival was not let through the main barrier, and instead had to go through to another room (which I'm assuming is secondary inspection) and asked more questions, where I was eventually let though, and had an amazing two weeks before flying home.

We would both like for me to go again next summer, ideally for a longer time (the two months she is on summer break from college), however I am very worried about having problems in immigration again.

I'm just asking what the likelihood of there being a problem is, and what I can do to make things go as smoothly as possible.

It seems like the biggest worry to them is that I would stay - which I have no intention to do whatsoever. The thing I am worried about is I will just have finished uni, so have no uni to go back to, and unless I'm very lucky I won't have an immediate job to go back to, they will think I don't have much tying me to the UK. I just want to make use of the fact of I can go there for a few months before I find work and have a few weeks holiday.

So, do I have much to worry about, or was my experience the first time unusual?

  • 3
    There is no real way for us to know how to,advise you, though likely coming to visit a "girlfriend you met online" and the lack of a job played a big role. Think about what they asked you before, as it will give you an idea of what really concerned them. Then think as to whether or not that situation has changed or not and what you can do to improve on that situation.. – user13044 Oct 4 '15 at 1:26
  • @Tom At the secondary inspection they didn't really ask anything about my personal life, it was all about the person I was meeting. They asked her name/dob/what school she went to, and finally asked if she lived with her parents, upon saying yes to that they let me go straight away. They seemed more concerned if it was a real person I was meeting than my status. – Richard Oct 4 '15 at 7:12
  • I had a thought next time to print off some pictures of me and her together to show she exists, but I'm not sure whether they'd be interested in that or if it would help at all. – Richard Oct 4 '15 at 7:18
  • Rather than asking us "what's the liklehood of a problem" a better question might be "what evidence can I use to reassure them tehre won't be one. – CMaster Oct 4 '15 at 17:50
  • Agreed with @CMaster, "what evidence can I use to reassure them?" is a much better question, and is the one I've answered based on my personal experience. You're in a situation that is going to result in a fair amount of scrutiny when going through immigration. – Anthony Grist Oct 5 '15 at 7:13
13

I'm actually going to convert my comments to a more fully fleshed out answer. I've been in a very similar situation in the past, and went to visit my (then) girlfriend in the US for a period of five weeks just after finishing university, but before I'd secured a job.

The immigration officer had (or at least seemed to have, based on the questions asked) two major concerns:

  1. That I was intending to change status while in the US.
  2. That I wouldn't be able to afford to support myself for the duration of the visit.

If you've finished your degree, and you don't have a full time job lined up, then proving that you don't intend to do #1 is going to be tough. The best thing you can do is to make sure that you've booked a return ticket. Print out the confirmation from the airline/booking site, and make sure you have it with you in your hand luggage so you can show it to the immigration officer.

If you'll be staying with your girlfriend's parents again, having a letter from them wouldn't hurt to prove that you have accommodation for the entire duration (since that is generally the largest cost). If you'll be staying elsewhere (e.g. in a hotel) make sure you print out any confirmation e-mails you have as proof, though if you haven't pre-paid for the rooms then that won't really help alleviate any concerns over your ability to support yourself financially.

Print out a recent bank statement that shows what funds you have access to. This is to prove that you can afford to support yourself while you're in the country. If you can't prove that, then at least show what funds you personally have access to, and be able to explain where the rest is going to come from. Are your parents going to be able to send you money? Are your girlfriend's parents going to cover the costs if/when you run out?

Other than that, just answer any and all questions honestly. You may very well be asked if you intend to marry her, so be prepared for that. You may not have thought about it at all yet.

Ultimately, whether there's problems and how long it takes you to get through immigration is going to depend on the immigration officer you get, and how satisfactorily you answer their questions.

  • This has been incredibly useful! Thank you! Here is what I plan to take: A confirmation of return flight, a letter from her parents to say I can stay there, a recent bank statement printed at the bank (I have a SuperCard for using abroad), $1000 in cash for emergencies, photos of us together in the US to prove it is a real relationship, and her and her parents phone numbers printed off incase they want to ring to confirm the story. I am also hoping I could secure at least some part time work from my ex summer job to show immigration a signed employment contract starting after I return home. – Richard Oct 5 '15 at 11:00
  • 5
    Yes, I think you should crank up the priority of the job search from "it would be cool if my job was already settled before I left" to "I need to have a job nailed down to prove I don't intend to stay" and work hard on finding one that will be ok with a start date after your trip. – Kate Gregory Oct 5 '15 at 11:12
  • I would suggest you also have a chat with your girlfriend to make sure you are on the "same page" regarding any questions you get about your future together. – Peter Green Jul 24 '18 at 11:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.