Gentlemen, please lend your advice. I am wondering about visas, and traveling in/out of the USA with the recent changes in security. Also, what kind of time frame is realistic from when you find yous future bride, to her arriving at the local airport. Your candidness is appreciated! Thanks
Jimmy....I cannot speak for the US,but the process of obtaining a visa for any future bride can take quite some time.Being UK based the process is a little simpler for me.The most important point being that BEFORE appyling for any visa do your homework,and that means any and all contact you have had with your lady should be recorded,EG phone calls,letters,e-mails etc.There are literally hundreds of websites full of useful info,but quite often the best place to start is the consulate in your ladys country.You will usually find of a list of rules and requirements there that you both must meet before the issue of a visa.
As for a timeframe.....that is a more difficult one,because no two cases are exactly the same.In some cases in can take a long time.On the flip side though,I first met my lady a little over 4 months ago (even though we have corresponded for longer,phone calls etc),and we applied for a visa in November,it was quite straightforward and was issued in December,with the outcome being that she arrives in the UK at the end of January.Quite fast you may think but as I said every case has it's own merits and demerits,so you may find your case different.But best of luck with your endeavours,and I am sure the gaps I have left in my answer will be filled by those more knowledgeable on the workings from the US side.
Jimmy, think about a year, if you manage to fall in love at first sight. the process of getting a visa TO russia, ukraine, etc. is relativly easy, the US Consulates pretty much know you will be coming back, and the Russian consulates will welcome the tourisim revenue generated by you. Once you find a lady, and meet her, assume 4-5 months till the invitation is offered, and the trip is planned and executed, I know a law frim that specialises in fiance visas, and their turnaround time is about 6 months, and they have a 100% approval rate. So, at bare minimum, with much luck in your lady, figure a year. I am sure you know it is impossible for a young lay to get a tourist visa, so you would have to go there.
Please elaborate on your statement that "it is impossible for a young lady to get a tourist visa..." I have seen nothing in the Regs. to that effect, and plan for my lady to visit here in about a year... KR
I have done alot of research on this subject. The US consulate website makes it seem like a straightforward process to the tourist visa nonsense. Unless your lady has significant ties to her country, shes not getting a tourist visa. The US will take one look at your lady, especially if shes young and pretty, and they will know shes a risk. If they think for one second there is a chance she wont return, then shes getting denied. I have already contacted an immigration lawyer about this and it was confirmed to be true. You had better accept the fact that you are going to go to Russia to see her first. Then after you document everything, letters, emails, photos taken together, witnesses to your meeting. Then you can begin the process of getting a fiance visa to the USA. My suggestion is you better hire a lawyer to get you through this process, doing all this yourself is just asking for delays in her getting the visa you both desire. I suggest to any of my American friends to check this out before you go to Russia if you have not done so already: http://travel.state.gov/russia.html
I found it to be very informative. Would really like to hear about any experiences about travelling to Russia. I am planning to go soon and I can definitly use any advice that will help me.
I have been to Russia three times since December '99, visiting Stavropol, Sochi, Moscw and Kostroma. My last trip was in June to Kostroma. Also, I have friends in Ulyanovsk. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have.
I unfortunatly do not speak a word of Russian. My problem is that I am going there by myself. Am I going to be lost the second I get off that jet in Russia? Are people there willing to help foreign speaking visitors? I'm going soon so I really don't think I have time to learn the basics of a different language. My girl is learning English and she speaks enough for me to understand her so that is about the only thing that will help me. I can hire a translator from the agency but I dont know if I want to do that yet.
My experience with the majority of Russians is very favorable. My first two trips to Russia were solo. I am adventurous however. Outside the big cities like Moscow and St.Petersburg, the people are very friendly. Most Russians want guests or visitors in their country to come away with good impressions. Many Russians speak or at least read and write some English.
Learn a few words or phrases. A small effort on your part will pay dividends later. Take an English/Russian dictionary or an electronic ttanslator if you can afford one. The Pimsleur Russian language tapes are excellent. I would also advise that you hire a translator for part of your stay, unless you are certain that you and your girl can communicate effectively. Should any difficulties or misunderstandings arise between you and your girl an interpreter is worth their weight in gold.
Other tips. Bring photos of you, your family, friends, and of where you live. This girl and those who love her will be apprehensive about her possibly leaving Russia to go abroad. They will have heard horror stories of the bad things that can and do happen to Russian girls overseas.
Try to avoid materialistic things in your photos. A few good photos can put much anxiety to rest. Bring small gifts for her and her family, especially any children...nothing used or old. A bottle of brandy or some wine or something unique to your part of the country would do well. Bring good shoes and at least one good suit or a coat and tie. First impressions are important. If she is meeting you at the airport, be dressed up. You will also score big points with most Russian women if you have flowers for them when you arrive (most flight attendants will help you if you bring flowers on the plane.) More formal attire is also good to meet her Mom and Dad. Yes, they will understand you wearing jeans and such, but save thst for later.
Remember to be a gentleman always. Offer her your arm when walking, open and hold doors for her, make much of whatever she does for you. If you dine with her at a restaurant, be attentive to her. She will notice you noticing if the waitress is a knockout. The same thing goes for passersby on the street. The expectation is usually for men to have wandering eyes and to be unfaithful. Be different.
Also, in a restaurant it is your duty as host to keep the glasses of your guests filled, whether it be juice, wine, soda, beer or vodka. If you are not a drinker, it is perfectly acceptable to decline a drink for health reasons. Also, Russians know that we cannot keep up with them in any sort of drinking contest. If a lot of toasting is going on, you can sip your drink rather than downing the shot. One tradition is that the third toast is a "love toast." Say something romantic and/or complimentary about the women present and hold the glass in your left hand.
Dancing. Russians love to dance. If you have two left feet, try to take a lesson or two before you go. If the opportunity arises to dance with your girl, then do it.
Buses, trams and other public transportation also have rules different from here. Give an elderly person your seat. Help with small children when needed, i.e. a young woman struggling to get a baby carriage on or off a bus. Planes can be a different story. If you are sure that you are in the correct seat, do not get up unless directed to do so by the flight attendant.
Indoors, do not whistle or sit at the corner of a table. Take your shoes off immediately after entering a home.
Problems. You will be judged on how well you keep your temper when things do not work like they should. In Russia, there will be difficulties arising from time to time.
MrBill: I wish that I had read a post like yours before I visited Ukraine. Having been there, however, I can vouch for everything you said except the "love toast". I have no doubt that what you say is true, I was just not aware of that tradition until I read your mention. I met a young woman in Odessa who voiced a concern that was startling to me at the time. She told me point-blank that she did want to visit America because she feared she would be sold as a sex-slave. Shocked, I assured her that I had no such intentions. Still, her cautiousness and unwilliness to consider application for a fiance-visa continued. It is only now that I am back in the US and we have had quite a few telephone conversations, that she seems much more trusting and is now asking me to get the fiance visa process started.
KR, the embassy website, as well as teh BCIS slogan "Open Dorrs, secure borders" is, well, bueraucratic nonsense. The girl will have to prove, without even the slightest bit of doubt, that she will be returning, even then it is a long shot. Another thing to consider, is if she applies for a tourist visa, and is declined (which has a 99% chance of happening) she will not be allowed any visa to the US for 10 years.
Chipster: Sooner or later I have faith that you will dispense some visa advice that is real. An applicant does not have to wait ten years to reapply for a visa after being turned down (where do you get this stuff?). The process can be started again at any time. Its best, however, to ask specifically why the initial application was not approved and to address those issues during the reapplication. And its easier to start fresh than to try any sort of appeals process. There is something called a ten-year-time bar that prevents one from being granted any sort of visa entry into the US but that refers to people who have overstayed a visa and lived unlawfully in the US for more than one continuous year (and have subsequently left and are applying for a visa overseas). A three-year-time bar applies to those who have similarly overstayed for more than 180 days.
I am glad to be of help. Yes, I am something of a Russophile. The country and the people fascinate me. Like you, I am also searching for a Russian bride. I have nade virtually every mistake possible. If you have questons or concerns, ask me. If I do not know the answer, certainly my Russian friends do.
Also, I am a volunteer with the Nadezhda Fund or Children's Hope Chest as it is known here in the states. We work with Russian, Ukrainian, and Romanian orphans. This past June, I helped run a Summer camp for the kids at Ostrovskoe. The children there have stolen my heart. Will be returning to visit with my kids in March, and again in June. A Russian wife will be a huge asset in doing this type of work.
I got that information from a lawyer. I do not know if it is publicized, or a BCIS "undercover policy" but I was told that it is like that because it would show a person is only trying to enter the united states for alterior motives.