Esta visa — The Bump
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Esta visa

My step-son and his fiancee are coming the US to visit from Germany.  He is a US citizen as well so we have never had to worry about visas.  We know she can come here for 90 days to visit, but they are wondering about an esta visa and what it entails, and how hard it is to get a fiancee visa if they decide they want to stay here.   Our step-son would eventually like to live here in the US, but wants his future wife to love it here as much as he does before they make any decisions.  Thanks for any help. 

Re: Esta visa

  • The esta visa is fairly simple you must fill it in online (preferably a few days or weeks) prior to departure. You must pay the fee with a credit card. The company that you bought the ticket from should provide you with the link to the website to apply for it if not I'm sure you can google. It is good for, I beleive, 3 years as long as the paspoort is still valid. That means that you can use it for multiple trips not that she can stay for 3 years!

    Check out the state departments website for requirements on finace visas. In most countries (permanent) visas of a kind are pretty hard to get. The usually require proof of a real relationship and proof that the citizen can support the person, that the visa is being requested for, financially. It is not impossible but it is time consuming and sometimes frustrating. I doubt that she would be able to stay in the US while applying for the visa. 

    My situation was oppisite so I'm not completly sure how the US system opperates but I have heard stories of very intamite questions and extensive interviews.

    Good luck to you all.

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  • For the fianc visa, it can be a lengthy wait for approval but once she is in the US, they must get married within 3 months or something like that. However, that seems preferable to having to apply for and wait for a spousal visa. That process can take over a year or two.
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  • I've found the US embassy in Berlin and the consulate in Frankfurt to be very helpful in answering questions about visas that I've e-mailed them in the past. DH is German, and while we live in Germany, last summer we went to the US for 5 months so DH needed a visa. I had some questions in advance about which visa he should apply for and they were very prompt in answering (within a few business days) and gave fairly informative answers, as well.

    Just make sure that you first really read through the website: so you're not asking questions that can be found there, as they then tend to just send you the link to the page they think fits best and then ignore any other specifics you've given or other questions you've asked. Also, ask very specific questions. Something like: "I read on your website that it's possible for xyz with the fiance visa, but in our situation abc is the case. Would you still recommend a fiance visa or would a visitor's visa (B1/2) be more appropriate?"

    Good luck!

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  • I'm just seeing this now, so I'm it sure you'll even read this, but I just want to let you know that if his gf enters under the visa waiver program (ESTA) she will not be able to adjust her status while in the states- she must leave and then request the proper visa class to re-enter. If she chooses to get a B2 visitor visa there is a chance she will be denied as an intending immigrant, which is what it sounds like she is, and then she will no longer be eligible to use the ESTA program in the future. These are non-immigrant visas and they should only be used for people who WILL retun to their home country. 
  • FYI if they do enter on an ESTA this is the correct website:

     The fee is US$14 per application.

    i work for an airline and we regularly have to help passengers arrange ESTA's before they travel, we are unable to uplift them for travel without one (if they are elgible) or have a physical paper Visa in their passport.

      It is still really important they meet eligibility requirements or they can be refused travel by the airline, refused entry at the border or deported.


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