Moving to the US info

Moving to the US info

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offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Wednesday 18th January 2017
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Firstly, I know there are a couple of threads about moving but I feel my situation is a little different and I don't want to hijack someone elses thread.

Secondly, apologies for the relationship talk, it makes this look more like an agony aunt column!

I've visited the US a number of times over the years, always had a blast but been happy to get on the plane and come home when the holiday's over. In September that changed, I met a girl when in Nashville. We got talking in a bar and hit it off big time. The next day we hung out at a park for a few hours before my plane home. Once home we spoke every day without fail and finally last week I flew out to visit her for 5 days.

Having landed back here yesterday I've been thinking about my situation, she's amazing, we get on like a house on fire and could both see a future together. She has 3 children from a previous relationship so her coming over here is out of the question. Having looked through my options I don't see me filling the criteria to move there, i.e. I'm not university educated, my 'skills' are not unique etc.

From what I understand marriage is the only way I would be eligible to move and based on the fact we have only spent 6 days in each other's company I'm certainly not willing to get down on one knee just so we can give our (very young) relationship a go.

Am I missing another route that would mean I could move there so we could really be certain if we work together? I'm essentially trying to work out now whether it's worth us getting very much emotionally invested now to avoid heartbreak 2 years down the line when we find out legalities are preventing us from living together.

Edited by offspring86 on Wednesday 18th January 13:50

Trev450

5,977 posts

132 months

Wednesday 18th January 2017
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One option would be to go over for an extended stay (12 weeks on a VWP) and see how things develop. That would of course be dependant on how understanding your employer is.

Contadino

2 posts

47 months

Thursday 19th January 2017
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I say don't give up your current life. Come over here to visit 2-3 times per year and have fun with your girl. Invite her to your place once a year. Each time you get together you'll be f???ing like rabbits and will keep the excitement going. She will always want to look good for you and will stay motivated to do so. Apply for a job in the US once in a while to show her you are serious. You're in the catbirds seat. Why give that up to be just another unfulfilled married guy after a few years?

Matt Harper

5,940 posts

161 months

Friday 20th January 2017
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From what you've disclosed, I see 3 options:

If you are minted - EB-5 - costs minimum $500,000 "investment", which you will never see again - effectively you buy a green card.

E2 Treaty Investor - you establish, or buy an existing business that requires you to put substantial investment at risk and is capable of employing USCs (i.e. not just a subsistence vehicle for yourself).

Wedding bells.

Use caution regarding very frequent visits that utilize the visa waiver program. CBP track travel patterns, identifying individuals who may be using VWP to ostensibly 'live' in the US. A good rule-of-thumb is to spend as much time outside of the US as in.

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Monday 23rd January 2017
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Trev450 said:
One option would be to go over for an extended stay (12 weeks on a VWP) and see how things develop. That would of course be dependant on how understanding your employer is.
My employer wouldn't allow anything beyond my agreed annual leave, but yes I do see that as a way to spend more time together.


Matt Harper said:
From what you've disclosed, I see 3 options:

If you are minted - EB-5 - costs minimum $500,000 "investment", which you will never see again - effectively you buy a green card.

E2 Treaty Investor - you establish, or buy an existing business that requires you to put substantial investment at risk and is capable of employing USCs (i.e. not just a subsistence vehicle for yourself).

Wedding bells.

Use caution regarding very frequent visits that utilize the visa waiver program. CBP track travel patterns, identifying individuals who may be using VWP to ostensibly 'live' in the US. A good rule-of-thumb is to spend as much time outside of the US as in.
The first 2 options are out of my reach!


5ohmustang said:
Where did you go in Nashville?

Yes, pretty much your only way is through a marriage visa. Similar to how I met my wife. My advice to you is the maintain the relationship long distance. If it is ment to be then true love will prevail. I would grasp it with both hands because situations like yours are rare.
This time, Murfreesboro. I've done Nashville to death and we didn't want this to be a sightseeing trip. We spent the time together hang out, cooking and shopping. Basically trying to be as much of a couple as possible.

Sounds like the plan will be to spend the next few years visiting each other before deciding if marriage is what we want and taking it from there!

Olivero

2,104 posts

169 months

Tuesday 24th January 2017
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I came over to the US, first as a tourist for 3 months at a time until I got stopped coming into JFK...
Then applied for and got an O1 visa as a photographer.
Ended up marying a Texan woman and am currently living in Brooklyn designing Artificial Intelligence for a living.

Send me a message if you would like the name of the lawyer I used. It makes a big difference...

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Tuesday 12th June 2018
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Right, I thought I'd resurrect this thread rather than start a new one. It's been roughly a year and a half since I made my first trip to see my girlfriend. in that time I've visited 3 more times and in 3 weeks she will be visiting the UK for the first time. Things are still going very smoothly (well, as smoothly as they can given the ~4,000 mile distance).

We've spoken many many times about our future together and would like to try the next step, seeing if we can spend more than 2 weeks under one roof. The plan is for me to travel to the US using the VWP and spend 85 or so days together living normally with her kids. I'm fully aware that I cannot go there for work which is fine, I will either leave my job or take a sabbatical. Alternatively, if I'm offered a work from home option by my employer, would I legally be able to do that in the US? Other than that I would be looking at volunteer opportunities to fill the days. From what I can see they must be true voluntary roles (i.e. it cannot be a position that would normally be paid).

Do I need to alert the US government in advance with regards to either the trip itself or the intention to volunteer?

Spending that time together should give us a better idea of whether or not this relationship can go further but to be honest I fully expect her to boot me out after 3 weeks as I am rather difficult to life with!

Matt Harper

5,940 posts

161 months

Tuesday 12th June 2018
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I suppose that the reality is that you'll never know, unless you try it - but - there may be trouble ahead.....

If you were to paint a picture of the type of scenario that US CBP are going to be most suspicious about, the template would be this last post of yours.

I totally get where you are coming from and your honorable reasons for wanting to do this, but CBP are tasked with keeping people like you out, rather than finding ways to let you in. There are several things that you discuss above that will make them very wary about you and your intentions.

The most blindingly obvious one is quitting your job before attempting to enter the US by VWP and maxing out the time allowed. You need to find a way to spin that so that it doesn't sound like it does right now. If you go for the 'sabbatical' story - make sure you can back it up with documentation from your employer. You should also demonstrate significant ties to you home country (that necessitate your return). Quitting work severs a very major one.

You absolutely cannot do any kind of work - paid or otherwise during a VWP stay. The definition of 'work' is really up to the CBP official, things like visiting trade shows, or US offices of UK companies for things like appraisal, negotiations, trainings, contractual briefings etc., are generally allowed, but are entirely at the discretion (and veto) of CBP. Participating in voluntary work suggests you are doing something more than visiting as a tourist. You will be asking for trouble by offering that nugget to CBP.

You may also be asked how long you intend to stay and how you propose to support yourself while in the US - and be required to demonstrate that you have the wherewithal to do so. Also, be prepared to answer questions like, "What are you going to be doing while you are here?"

Ultimately you should be in no doubt that there is no provision for people to enter the US to 'try it out' from a living here point of view.
A rule that I advise you to abide by when dealing with CBP is to say as little as possible, without being defensive (or offensive). Do not surrender ANY information that is not asked for and be as succinct as possible in your replies.

If they catch you in a lie, you are screwed, so be very mindful that they are trained to tie people in verbal knots to catch them in a lie.

I think they may scrutinize the following - maxing-out VWP - visiting love-interest - no job to return to - doing voluntary work in US - can you see how this might look to an official who is on the look out for people who come in via VWP with the intention of staying?

On the other hand, you might breeze-in without a care in the world, such is the inconsistency of US Customs and Border Protection.

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Tuesday 12th June 2018
quotequote all
Thanks for your response Matt, this all should be a great help.

Matt Harper said:
The most blindingly obvious one is quitting your job before attempting to enter the US by VWP and maxing out the time allowed. You need to find a way to spin that so that it doesn't sound like it does right now. If you go for the 'sabbatical' story - make sure you can back it up with documentation from your employer. You should also demonstrate significant ties to you home country (that necessitate your return). Quitting work severs a very major one.
I'm hoping my employer will allow me to take a sabbatical, not just to increase my chances of being let in but because I enjoy my job enough to want to return to it at the end of the 3 months. In terms of ties to this country I have my family (parents, 2 sisters, 1 of whom is severely handicapped) along with owning 2 properties. Are these the sort of ties they would look for? I obviously would also have my return flight booked.

Matt Harper said:
You absolutely cannot do any kind of work - paid or otherwise during a VWP stay. The definition of 'work' is really up to the CBP official, things like visiting trade shows, or US offices of UK companies for things like appraisal, negotiations, trainings, contractual briefings etc., are generally allowed, but are entirely at the discretion (and veto) of CBP. Participating in voluntary work suggests you are doing something more than visiting as a tourist. You will be asking for trouble by offering that nugget to CBP.
So me working on my laptop from her house for my UK based company (Property Management) would be OK? We're not an international outfit. I've brought my work laptop with me on 2 week stays before and never had an issue.

Matt Harper said:
You may also be asked how long you intend to stay and how you propose to support yourself while in the US - and be required to demonstrate that you have the wherewithal to do so. Also, be prepared to answer questions like, "What are you going to be doing while you are here?"
Would proof of my savings along with my credit card be sufficient? I have enough in my accounts to more than cover any unexpected costs. If I'm unable to volunteer then I will assume the role of house-husband to help with her 3 boys and their daily routines. Would this be frowned upon by them? My other half is employed and earns a good living.

Matt Harper said:
Ultimately you should be in no doubt that there is no provision for people to enter the US to 'try it out' from a living here point of view.
I hadn't considered this, it's a very good point. Their country would be a mess if they constantly let people like me in to 'give a relationship a go'.

Matt Harper said:
A rule that I advise you to abide by when dealing with CBP is to say as little as possible, without being defensive (or offensive). Do not surrender ANY information that is not asked for and be as succinct as possible in your replies.

If they catch you in a lie, you are screwed, so be very mindful that they are trained to tie people in verbal knots to catch them in a lie.

I think they may scrutinize the following - maxing-out VWP - visiting love-interest - no job to return to - doing voluntary work in US - can you see how this might look to an official who is on the look out for people who come in via VWP with the intention of staying?

On the other hand, you might breeze-in without a care in the world, such is the inconsistency of US Customs and Border Protection.
Thanks again for you response, very insightful and will help me look at how we are approaching this.

Matt Harper

5,940 posts

161 months

Tuesday 12th June 2018
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offspring86 said:
Thanks for your response Matt, this all should be a great help.

Matt Harper said:
The most blindingly obvious one is quitting your job before attempting to enter the US by VWP and maxing out the time allowed. You need to find a way to spin that so that it doesn't sound like it does right now. If you go for the 'sabbatical' story - make sure you can back it up with documentation from your employer. You should also demonstrate significant ties to you home country (that necessitate your return). Quitting work severs a very major one.
I'm hoping my employer will allow me to take a sabbatical, not just to increase my chances of being let in but because I enjoy my job enough to want to return to it at the end of the 3 months. In terms of ties to this country I have my family (parents, 2 sisters, 1 of whom is severely handicapped) along with owning 2 properties. Are these the sort of ties they would look for? I obviously would also have my return flight booked.

Answer:
Family is not considered to be a strong tie (exception being spouse and/or off-spring). Property (particularly if mortgaged) is a strong tie, as are other financial obligations. Strongest of all is the need to return to work. Return flight is an obligation - not a tie - and an obligation that is easily broken.

Matt Harper said:
You absolutely cannot do any kind of work - paid or otherwise during a VWP stay. The definition of 'work' is really up to the CBP official, things like visiting trade shows, or US offices of UK companies for things like appraisal, negotiations, trainings, contractual briefings etc., are generally allowed, but are entirely at the discretion (and veto) of CBP. Participating in voluntary work suggests you are doing something more than visiting as a tourist. You will be asking for trouble by offering that nugget to CBP.
So me working on my laptop from her house for my UK based company (Property Management) would be OK? We're not an international outfit. I've brought my work laptop with me on 2 week stays before and never had an issue.

Answer:
No - not OK. You are not permitted to conduct work of any kind. Do not mention the word 'work' in any context, to CBP officials. Nothing to stop you bringing your computer - and how they would ever prevent you from conducting work duties on it is anybody's guess - but it would be foolhardy to tell them that you will be using it for work - that gives them an easy excuse to refuse to admit you.

Matt Harper said:
You may also be asked how long you intend to stay and how you propose to support yourself while in the US - and be required to demonstrate that you have the wherewithal to do so. Also, be prepared to answer questions like, "What are you going to be doing while you are here?"
Would proof of my savings along with my credit card be sufficient? I have enough in my accounts to more than cover any unexpected costs. If I'm unable to volunteer then I will assume the role of house-husband to help with her 3 boys and their daily routines. Would this be frowned upon by them? My other half is employed and earns a good living.

Answer
Yes - proof of savings/access to credit is sufficient. If you state that you will be staying 80+ days, they may ask you to demonstrate that you have access to money to manage on for that period of time - be mindful that their calculation of what you'd need money-wise might be quite different to yours.
I would advise you not to discuss voluntary work, unless CBP specifically asks you about that subject - don't offer what isn't asked for. Even looking after your girlfriend's kids could be construed as work by a bloody-minded official - far better to keep it simple and say you are visiting a girlfriend for an extended vacation and leave it at that.

Matt Harper said:
Ultimately you should be in no doubt that there is no provision for people to enter the US to 'try it out' from a living here point of view.
I hadn't considered this, it's a very good point. Their country would be a mess if they constantly let people like me in to 'give a relationship a go'.

Answer:
LOTS of people do exactly what you are planning - some have no issues, others get shown the door - it has a lot to do with what you say and don't say at the point of entry. Their job is to keep potential over-stayers out - not let lovebirds in.

Matt Harper said:
A rule that I advise you to abide by when dealing with CBP is to say as little as possible, without being defensive (or offensive). Do not surrender ANY information that is not asked for and be as succinct as possible in your replies.

If they catch you in a lie, you are screwed, so be very mindful that they are trained to tie people in verbal knots to catch them in a lie.

I think they may scrutinize the following - maxing-out VWP - visiting love-interest - no job to return to - doing voluntary work in US - can you see how this might look to an official who is on the look out for people who come in via VWP with the intention of staying?

On the other hand, you might breeze-in without a care in the world, such is the inconsistency of US Customs and Border Protection.
Thanks again for you response, very insightful and will help me look at how we are approaching this.

My pleasure - good luck.

belleair302

6,388 posts

167 months

Monday 18th June 2018
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Just make sure you have decent medical insurance before you leave the UK. My Mother recently spent seven days in hospital in FL with pneumonia and the bill for her stay and associated medicine was just over $ 21,000. This is before her stint in rehab at $4,000 a week.

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Wednesday 17th October 2018
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Evening all,

Just a quick update. Yesterday morning I hopped on a flight from Heathrow to Nashville. 6 weeks ago my employer approved a 3 month sabbatical, I took along a letter from work stating I was taking a 3 month career break, an email from my girlfriend stating I was travelling for the purpose of vacation with her, print offs of all of my accounts and also the land registry document showing the property I owned.

I had read up on all the possible questions I would be asked and had all the answers prepared in my head.

After queuing for over an hour at the new international entry at Nashville International I was finally called forward, ready to provide all of the answers to show I was going to be leaving at the end of my 86 day stay.

You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. He asked how long I was staying for and who I was seeing. I answered, my passport was stamped and I was told to go on my way have have an enjoyable trip!

So today begins my 86 day stay in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

peterperkins

2,556 posts

202 months

Wednesday 17th October 2018
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If you hadn't prepared though you can guarantee you would have had the 3rd degree Spanish inquisition treatment and been kicked back out after giving the wrong answers. .

Well done on doing it correctly. Some great advice from contributors on here. PH is still the place.

geeman237

875 posts

145 months

Thursday 18th October 2018
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offspring86 said:
Evening all,

Just a quick update. Yesterday morning I hopped on a flight from Heathrow to Nashville. 6 weeks ago my employer approved a 3 month sabbatical, I took along a letter from work stating I was taking a 3 month career break, an email from my girlfriend stating I was travelling for the purpose of vacation with her, print offs of all of my accounts and also the land registry document showing the property I owned.

I had read up on all the possible questions I would be asked and had all the answers prepared in my head.

After queuing for over an hour at the new international entry at Nashville International I was finally called forward, ready to provide all of the answers to show I was going to be leaving at the end of my 86 day stay.

You know what happened? Absolutely nothing. He asked how long I was staying for and who I was seeing. I answered, my passport was stamped and I was told to go on my way have have an enjoyable trip!

So today begins my 86 day stay in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Welcome to The South. I’m an ex Brit living in South Carolina. Keep us posted on how things go and your experiences and impressions of day to day life. Feel free to ask any questions too.
Now, if you’re on PH I guess you’re a car guy? How about a 5 hr road trip each way this weekend to The Euro Auto Festival in Greenville SC. That ought to break you in gently. Lol

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Thursday 18th October 2018
quotequote all
peterperkins said:
If you hadn't prepared though you can guarantee you would have had the 3rd degree Spanish Inquisition treatment and been kicked back out after giving the wrong answers. .

Well done on doing it correctly. Some great advice from contributors on here. PH is still the place.
I couldn’t agree more, the advice offered out here has been invaluable and there’s no doubt I would have had the full rubber glove treatment if I hadn’t prepared!


geeman237 said:
Welcome to The South. I’m an ex Brit living in South Carolina. Keep us posted on how things go and your experiences and impressions of day to day life. Feel free to ask any questions too.
Now, if you’re on PH I guess you’re a car guy? How about a 5 hr road trip each way this weekend to The Euro Auto Festival in Greenville SC. That ought to break you in gently. Lol
We’re going to be journey8ng around over the next few months. This weekend we’re in Atlanta, mainly to see Chris Stapleton and Brent Cobb but also to go to the aquarium and World of Coke!

offspring86

Original Poster:

573 posts

132 months

Monday 25th May
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With the current pandemic I've got a little time on my hands so thought I'd use it to provide an update to my situation.

The 86 days in Tennessee was a fantastic insight into our relationship. Obviously the timeframe gave a limited view, but it's the best we can get given our situation. Since I returned I've flown out 4 more times to visit, Lynda (my partner) even surprised me by flying out here in May along with her boys for my birthday. She'd spent 5 months planning it with my parents, sister, friends and even colleagues; honestly the best surprise I've ever had!

In September my sister and I flew out to meet Lynda for a few weeks, while in New Orleans I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me; thankfully she said yes!

In November we submitted the I-129F as part of the K1 visa application process. Early December we received confirmation that it had been received and would be processed. Between then and 2 weeks ago we heard nothing, reading up on the process this is completely normal. A few days into May we received an RFE (Request for Evidence) asking us to provide more evidence of the relationship including proof of wedding planning, a statement from relatives acknowledging their knowledge of the relationship and engagement and of our intention to marry within 90 days of me entering the US. Thankfully we had plenty of emails dating back to late September showing our wedding plans along with relatives happy to provide statements of their knowledge of our relationship.

This brings us up to now, we've replied to the RFE and are back to waiting on the application to progress again. We've no idea how long we'll have to wait although with the COVID-19 situation I'm not in any hurry to get on a plane for a few months!

Trev450

5,977 posts

132 months

Monday 25th May
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Thanks for the update and congrats on your forth coming wedding.

The Moose

20,424 posts

169 months

Saturday 30th May
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Congratulations on both the wedding and the upcoming move! thumbup

Wacky Racer

33,688 posts

207 months

Sunday 31st May
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Interesting thread Good luck for the future smile

Matt Harper

5,940 posts

161 months

Sunday 31st May
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Happy outcome - awesome. Best wishes for your future life here.