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I have completely re-edited my post and deleted my comments. I hope this isn't breaking any rules, if so please inform me and tell me what to do.

My boyfriend goes to school and helps take care of his brother, and all of his family is in the UK. I also go to school and help take care of my brother, and I am the only thing he has in the US. He tries to come see me whenever we both have off, no one feels comfortable with me travailing international by myself. He came to the US Nov 1, 2016, and stayed until Jan. 28, 2017, on Feb. 7, 2017, he applied for the B2 visa which was denied for not having enough ties to the UK, looking back I have no idea what we were thinking applying that early.

We just wanted to be able to book a ticket early before they got super pricey (we were going to travel July/Oct time) on March 1st he applied for ESTA which got denied. We did talk about getting married seeing as that's always been the plan just not this early, but we thought it might look staged because of the visa denials previously, and we still would have to wait a year to get married. Would the fiance visa still work if he got married at the courthouse and had an actual wedding later on? Do we have any other options? What are the chances of the ESTA being approved in Aug? Should we wait longer to apply for the ESTA?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Giorgio, JonathanReez Jun 1 '17 at 7:51

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    They normally issue B1/B2 combined visas so his refusal has nothing to do with the type he applied for. His ESTA may have been denied because he had already been denied a visa. Which did he apply for first? – user 56513 May 17 '17 at 20:34
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    I'm voting to close this question as a close duplicate of travel.stackexchange.com/questions/35546/…. Regarding what to do, you can reapply. – user 56513 May 18 '17 at 10:24
  • That is not a dupe @SheikPaulofOsawatomie, in that other case the ESTA was approved, here it was refused! – mts May 18 '17 at 18:00
  • The first time he came under VWP, how long did he stay for? How long after going home did he apply for B1.B2, and how long did he say he wanted to stay for? – DJClayworth May 30 '17 at 17:11
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    You said that "His whole life is in the UK," but how can that be if he's able to spend months and months in the US? Exactly that ties does he have to the UK if he's able to spend three months in the US, come back, then turn around a week later and ask to go back to the US for an even longer stay? – Zach Lipton May 31 '17 at 3:23
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One of the reasons US immigration has for refusing a visa is if it looks as if the applicant is trying to 'game the system' so as to live in the US without applying for a resident visa. In fact it is up to the applicant to convince them that is not the case.

The description you give is that your boyfriend stayed the maximum time he could on VWP (90 days, literally to the day), then went back and immediately applied for a B1/B2 for another five months. The pattern certainly looks like an attempt to stay in the US to a casual observer. Being in a romantic relationship with an American gives him a strong motive. Being in the US for eight months in less than a year would probably fall in the definition of 'resident'. I do not find it surprising that the visa was refused.

The approach most likely to be successful is for your boyfriend to stay outside the US for a substantial period, and then apply for a visa for a much shorter stay. Nothing prevents you visiting him while he is outside the US. August might be long enough, and almost certainly would be if he had not made the B1/B2 application. Unfortunately the visa application made it clear to immigration that he wanted to stay in the US as long as he possibly could, and this will count against him. From now on he will only get a visa when he can provide sufficient evidence to immigration that he will only stay in the US for the "short and occasional" visits expected of a B1/B2/VWP visitor. If he can establish strong ties to his home country, such as having a permanent job, a rented apartment etc. that will help.

Alternatively he can apply for a resident visa if he qualifies.

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    You could also petition for a fiance visa for him, if you meet all the qualifications, but one of the requirements would be that you would have to plan to get married within 90 days of when he came to the US. Obviously, I have no idea if that's something you two want, but it's another visa route that might be available. – Zach Lipton May 31 '17 at 3:45
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Visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons who want to enter the United States temporarily for business (visa category B-1), tourism, pleasure or visiting (visa category B-2), or a combination of both purposes (B-1/B-2). Often, the visa will be issued as a B1/B2, combining the two, allowing the flexibility of entering for either, or both, purposes.

After the refusal, he can reapply (unless it was a 221(g) refusal). Before he does, he should consider the shortcomings, such as attempting to live in the US, and remedy any deficiencies (emphasis mine).

An application may be denied because the consular officer does not have all of the information required to determine if the applicant is eligible to receive a visa, because the applicant does not qualify for the visa category for which he or she applied, or because the information reviewed indicates the applicant falls within the scope of one of the inadmissibility or ineligibility grounds of the law.

After being found ineligible for a visa, you may reapply in the future. [Y]ou must submit a new visa application and pay the visa application fee again. If you were found ineligible under section 214(b) of the INA, you should be able to present evidence of significant changes in circumstances since your last application.

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