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Tourist Visa for RW
Title: Can I get a tourist visa for my Russian/Ukrainian girlfriend?
Post by: jb on June 16, 2006, 10:13:53 PM
Can I get a Tourist visa for my Russian/Ukrainian girlfriend?

This is one of the most often misunderstood areas of the American man/Russian woman relationship building process. Nothing said here will pertain to citizens of any other country, as all other countries have their own laws and regulations governing the issuance of travel permits or the entry of foreign nationals across their borders.

Wanting to do a tourist visit is a perfectly understandable goal; there are dozens of very valid reasons why it would be desirable by both parties of the AM/RW couple to want to enjoy an extended visit together in the USA before making a final decision to marry. However, in almost all cases, an application for the B-1 Tourist Visa will yield negative results. As a tool to aid in understanding the reasons for this, I have quoted below a section from Moscow’s American Embassy website regarding visas. I will add, the degree of rigidity applied to the tourist visa applications in Kiev, Ukraine is equally severe.

Russian citizens, like citizens of many countries, require a visa to enter the United States.

Nonimmigrant visas are for people with permanent residence outside the U.S. but who wish to go to the U.S. on a temporary basis - for tourism, medical treatment, business, temporary work, or study.

U.S. law requires that people who apply for nonimmigrant visas provide evidence that they don't intend to immigrate to the United States. It's up to consular officers at U.S. embassies and consulates to determine eligibility on an individual basis on the merits of each case.

Because each person's personal situation is different, people applying for the same visa may be asked different questions and be required to submit different documents. Consular officers may request additional information or documentation depending on their assessment of each person's situation. Our website contains all the necessary information about types of nonimmigrant visas and the application process.

A qualified applicant for a U.S. non-immigrant visa is able to demonstrate binding social, familial, and/or economic ties to Russia which, in the opinion of the consular officer, constitute a compelling need to return to Russia after a temporary visit to the United States. Section 214(b) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act requires a consular officer to presume that a visa applicant intends to immigrate to the United States until the applicant provides sufficient evidence to the contrary. For more information, please see the section on supporting documents that can accompany a visa application.

Several categories of people are eligible to receive an immigrant visa. Certain applicants can apply on their own behalf. All others must have a relative or potential employers apply for them. Again, additional information regarding visa types and the application process is available throughout this website.

In the above quote I have highlighted two sections that are of primary importance. The first section refers to the typical non-immigrant visa. The first notion that springs to mind is that the American man thinks that he should be able to write a letter to his Government, guaranteeing to support, to provide adequate housing, medical care, or other protections, and to offer to pay for her R/T airfare and lend her pocket money for the journey, after all she is his lady love, and that his Government should take his word for it. That is not going to happen. If he does any of that, it will automatically be sufficient reason to deny a visa application. Because - in the mindset of the Consular Officer reviewing the Tourist Visa application, this will indicate intent to immigrate, and the American man will be viewed as a probable sponsor for an illegal immigration attempt. This of course, is strictly forbidden. Thus, to avoid the taint of her being seen as an *immigration possible*, the American man is not able to write any letters indicating that he even knows her at all. For a Russian/Ukrainian woman to get a B-1 visa for tourism in the USA, she will have to demonstrate she has, on her own, enough wealth to afford the trip, a good reason to make the trip, as well as strong ties to Russia/Ukraine which would guarantee her timely return to her country of origin. There are some exceptions to this rule made for the immediate family relatives of American citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, i.e., mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers can often qualify for a visitor’s visa as long as they can demonstrate strong ties to their home country and are not at risk of overstaying the visa.

The second highlighted section of the quote pertains to immigrant visas. This type of visa will be more difficult to obtain because the potential immigrant must prove conclusively that they have the right to live in the USA. For example, the biological child of an American citizen has the right to live in the US, the spouse of an American citizen has the right to live in the US, and certain people designated as refugees can obtain an immigrant visa. Certain employers are also able to achieve business and work visas for critical skills personnel if they can demonstrate that the American work force cannot readily fill those positions, this is also a very difficult, time consuming, and expensive visa to acquire.

I think it is noteworthy to mention that even the most common methods of allowing a foreign national to legally enter the USA for our purposes, the K-1 Fiancee Visa, and the K-3 Foreign Spouse Visa are both classified as non-immigrant visas, and very close scrutiny is given to each applicant prior to the final adjustment of status to that of the Lawful Permanent Resident status, most ofter referred to as Green Cards.

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