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How do I help my Chinese SO come to USA without a marriage visa?
March 24, 2012 12:41 PM   Subscribe

How do I help my Chinese SO come to USA without a marriage visa?

I am an American guy who is in a serious relationship with my Chinese SO. We don't want to get married any time soon, or even get a "fiancee" visa, but we want to stay together as I am moving back to USA soon.

Is it at all possible for her to get a 12 month, 6 month, or 3 month visa to USA? She is a college graduate, and would stay with me in USA. She could do college in USA and come on a student visa, but that seems very difficult, are there any other options??? Long tourist visa, or something?

I know as a foreigner in China lots of foreigners live in China for years, doing visa runs every few months. Is there something like that for Chinese living in USA? I'm interested in any and all options other than marriage visa, and fiancee visa.

She graduated from a mediocre university in China with a major in English, and her English is 82 on a 1 to 100.
Maybe she can get a work visa?
Thanks a lot.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Eh, this doesn't really work in the way you imagine.

US immigration officials would look askance at your relationship with her, especially since you're not married and have declared an explicit intention not to get married prior to her applying to come to the US.

People can't just acquire work visas; they need to be sponsored by an employer.

Your best bet is to contact an immigration attorney in the US, describe to them what you've described to us here, and have them tell you the answer. Be forewarned, though, that the answer the immigration attorney tells you is likely not the one you want to hear.
posted by dfriedman at 12:55 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I know as a foreigner in China lots of foreigners live in China for years, doing visa runs every few months. Is there something like that for Chinese living in USA?

the reason it doesn't work the other way around with chinese people traveling or working in america is that china is incredibly poor and literally millions of people would give their right arm to live in america. the job of the consulate staff who grant visas is to keep these people from getting them. i don't work in the foreign service but i've talked directly with people who are in charge of the visa vetting process in east asia.

if you want her to live with you in america your best option is the fiance visa. i know you mentioned you don't want to do that, but could you explain why?
posted by cupcake1337 at 1:18 PM on March 24, 2012


She could get a multiple-entry US tourist visa, and she can stay as long as three months each visit, but that's the best you can hope for. Technically speaking, she CAN apply to extend her stay at the end of a three month period, but it is not something she should risk at all. If she overstays, she will be barred from entering the US for a really long time; if she has multiple three-month visits every year, she could also attract the attention of immigration officials who could cancel the visa. Folks at the US embassy are generally helpful and friendly, but nothing is guaranteed. I didn't have a problem getting one, but a couple of my friends were roasted at their embassy interviews even though they were working professionals who just wanted to go to Disney World on their own. Visa fraud is not uncommon, so embassy officials are always on their guard. They may not look kindly on a single Asian woman applying for a tourist visa so she can visit her American boyfriend.

During our five-year long-distance relationship, I used my tourist visa to visit my partner a few times a year. I obtained the visa before I met him. But we got tired of being apart and using our vacations to visit each other, instead of going to new places together. So guess what? We decided to take the fiancee visa/marriage route. We didn't want to end the relationship, and that was pretty much the only way to be together, so we did it. If I were an American citizen living in the US, we really would've just moved in together and become de facto partners.
posted by peripathetic at 2:18 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


"They may not look kindly on a single Asian woman applying for a tourist visa so she can visit her American boyfriend."

This. And if you travel together into the country with her on a tourist visa, the officials could see that as fraud.

I have a relative of a relative who lives in India with her daughter, her mother, and grandmother. She has a stable job at a bank there. She has tried several times to get a visa to just visit her brother here in the states. She has been refused. Her brother has applied for a green card for her so she can visit (but that may take a decade to get).

Getting a green card through marriage is a lot less hassle- relative to the other legal methods. They like to see a ton of evidence for a "bonafide" marriage/relationship. It might be a good idea to start gathering that now, just in case.
posted by Monday at 3:32 PM on March 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Your girlfriend probably doesn't have much chance of getting a tourist visa, unfortunately. I applied for one of those from an Asian country a few years ago, and it's not your level of English proficiency or your academic qualifications - what they're looking for is proof that you have "strong ties" to your home country and are not likely to disappear into the US as an illegal immigrant.

When I was at the embassy I overheard many young professionals with steady jobs get rejected on grounds that they weren't married, or they didn't have kids, or they didn't have property, or their salary wasn't high enough compared to what they might get in the US (proof of salary was asked for) ... therefore they were a risk and rejected. (I was lucky; I was applying jointly with my mom for a family holiday, and we've been into the US before and obviously didn't overstay.) A Chinese woman with a degree in English with an American boyfriend is probably considered high risk for overstaying.

The student visa is probably your best bet if you don't want to get married. Alternatively, maybe a working holiday visa?
posted by Xany at 5:58 PM on March 24, 2012


Does your friend even have a Chinese passport? I understand that obtaining one can be nontrivial, particularly if you are an unmarried female.
She graduated from a mediocre university in China with a major in English [...] Maybe she can get a work visa?
Not a chance. All the top tech companies - Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Yahoo!, Facebook, etc. - are expert at hiring Masters and PhD students from the best of the best Chinese universities. The pipeline is full of highly qualified candidates who have high-paying jobs waiting for them on the other side, and a lot of them still get denied. Microsoft even has a staging area in Vancouver, BC where they park employees who are waiting for a work visa.

Of course, everyone who comes over for a job wants to bring their spouse or SO, so they are filling up whatever other visa slots are open.

And an English major? Native speakers who are English majors are hard pressed to find a job these days, much less non-native speakers.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:45 PM on March 24, 2012


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