I have met a girl online and wish to bring her to the USA. We have talked on the phone and via video chat. All documents are in order but they say she needs $3,000 (USD) in hand to travel.
Is this true?
No, this is a well-known scam. It is absolutely characteristic of this type of criminal fraud that the fraudster invents a series of reasons to send them money - usually by wire-transfer or similar means.
Dating or romance fraud is when you think you’ve met your perfect partner online, but they aren’t who they say they are. Once they’ve gained your trust, they ask for money for a variety of emotive reasons.
Once the fraudsters are confident that you have enough sympathy and desire for them, they will tell you about a problem they are experiencing and ask you to help out by sending money. For example:
- they’ve arranged to visit you but need money to pay travel costs, visa costs etc. Or they’ve paid for a plane ticket which is then stolen
- a family member or someone else they are responsible for is ill and they need money for medical treatment.
Once you send them money, the fraudsters will keep coming back with more reasons to send them money.
Aside from the obvious answer by RedGrittyBrick (‘this story just screams “scam” with every fibre’) there is a second reason why this cannot be true.
Immigration officers and visa approvers don’t just require visitors to have access to a certain amount of funds $x. They want to know
From a visa processing centre’s point of view, somebody saying ‘I can afford this trip, I have $3000 in cash’ is just as good as saying ‘please perform a thorough background check on me and my accounts, it is very likely that I got this money non-legitimately.’
There are a number of questions and answers on this site that relate to the topic and funds parking is one of the most-stated key words in that regard. Many visa applicants that see themselves as genuine travellers attempt to enhance their chances of visa approval by just parking a large amount of money in their account without explanation. And the standard answer by the visa processors is ‘We cannot be sure that you have access to those funds during your trip’ or some variation thereof (including rejecting the visa).
Arriving at the actual immigration check at your first port of entry to the United States with $3000 cash in hand is really just a variant of funds parking and will raise about 6000 red flags with the immigration officer. Thus, they will likely go back home with those $3000 unless they can prove it’s legitimately their’s (very hard) or the immigration officer can find a reason to confiscate the money (and still send them back).