… note: Visa photo above is for illustration purposes only, it is borrowed from the website Being an Au Pair …
After I had received my 3 year Russian Visa, Alana and I began to make plans for this year’s time together. We decided that I will make a trip to her home town and we will spend some more time together in Russia and we also decided that it would be nice for her to come to America to meet my family. And, as many of you will find out, the biggest obstacle to dating Eastern European Women is the whole visa process.
Luckily, for Americans, the process has gotten a LOT easier. AND, for Russians coming to America, the process has ALSO gotten easier.
We submitted visa applications for Alana and her entire family thinking that it would be nice to make a family holiday of it and allow our families to have a chance to meet. She submitted the visa applications a few weeks ago and had she and her family had their interview at the local consulate a few days ago. Probably, the hardest part of getting a US visa is the requirement for a live face to face interview at the US Embassy or Consulate. If you have one in your town, no problem. If you live in middle Siberia, this can be a difficult obstacle.
Alana’s family was notified at the conclusion of the interview that their visas were approved and their passports would be delivered via DHL in a day or two. Two days later, she emailed me a photo of her new American Visa, and get this – IT IS GOOD FOR 3 YEARS! Yup, a United States, 3 year, multi-entry Visa.
As I have a 3 year Russian multi-entry visa, we can now come and go from the US to Russia at our pleasure.
I researched quite a bit on the internet about getting a US visa and this is the condensed version of what I found out:
A “fiance visa” can take months, if not a year or more for approval. That seemed like too long so we went the “tourist visa” route. She and her family applied for regular tourist visas. I had read a few incidents of American Men trying to bring the in-laws over for the holidays and the visas were denied. It seems that if the American is funding the vacation, the US immigration officials find it suspect that the Russian (fiance) or family will return to Russia. The US gov.gov assumes that if you can afford your own airline ticket, hotel and expense money and you have a job and home to return to, then you are a tourist.
Following that logic, I had Alana bring bank statements showing that she had sufficient funds to finance this trip. All for not ~ the visa approval decision was made before she and the family arrived. The ONLY question that seemed to be important to the American immigration officer was whether or not Alana and her family had previous visa-required travel. She and her family have visited Europe and this seemed to a big factor in getting the US visa approvals.
So, if you are considering bringing over your girlfriend or fiance on a tourist visa, I’d recommend you make a visit to Prague or somewhere else that requires a Shengen Visa.
I can’t begin to say how delighted I am. We’ve since moved to purchasing airline tickets and planning some visiting and travel in the US. I think that this year is looking up each day :-)
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