Girlfriend visiting USA from Argentina during COVID

Travel Forums North America Girlfriend visiting USA from Argentina during COVID

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1. Posted by oriooctopus (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

My girlfriend, who is from Argentina, is going to be flying into LA to see me at the end of October. We met online during the pandemic on a language exchange website (she was learning korean), and we really don't want to wait another 5 months to see each other.
Our biggest worry is immigration. Argentinians are not banned from visiting the US during COVID, but I'm still worried that they will block her entry for some reason.

Does anyone have any advice on what she should say or tips on how to avoid problems? Any help would be very much appreciated

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1622 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

I assume your girlfriend either has her US visa or is in the process of obtaining it?

She will initially be questioned about the purpose of her visit, how long she intends to stay and...possibly...where she will be staying (standard questions for all non-citizens on entry to the US). If border officers are dubious they can take her for secondary questioning, where more details are required and which may be a lengthy process. Make sure she knows that's a possibility, however small it may be, and make sure she understands she must remain calm, courteous and truthful throughout any questioning.

All border officers, not just US ones, want to be sure that a) the person fully intends to leave before their time is up b) the person will not be a drain on the country's resources (e.g. by not having funds to support themselves) and c) the person does not intend to engage in any illegal activity during their stay.

Imo, it's best if she doesn't refer to herself as your 'girlfriend' (nor you refer to her as such, if asked) and just says she is your friend. If questioned she should be honest about how you 'met' but shouldn't give the impression that she's doing anything other than meeting you IRL. Saying she's your 'girlfriend'...especially when you haven't even met each other yet.....may raise suspicion about potential overstay and/or her intention to remain/work illegally.

Paperwork:

She should carry:

a) Proof of a return flight booking. Not having a return flight booked can look very iffy and I wouldn't advise an open-ended first visit anyway.

b) Either proof of funds to support herself during her stay (e.g. bank statements, credit card statements) or written proof from you that you can financially support her during that period (e.g. a letter stating it plus some documentary proof that you actually have the funds)

c) Proof that she has somewhere to stay (written proof from you?)

and d) Ideally, proof of 'compelling reasons' to return to Argentina e.g. proof of employment, proof of a property rented or owned, proof of family.

Not being able to provide sufficient proof that she fully intends to return after her visit may well cause difficulties.

You need to make sure you are contactable by phone during the period she is likely to be entering the US.

Good luck!

3. Posted by 55vineyard (Budding Member 110 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Since Argentina is not on the list of countries approved for the Visa Waiver Program, she will have to apply for a regular B2 tourist visa which costs $160 plus any other fees, is good for 180 days and she has to go for an interview at the nearest US Embassy (not sure if consulates also do visa interviews).
She will have to bring documents with her like Leics said, such as bank statements to show she has sufficient funds for her stay, copy of a lease on her apartment (flat), maybe a letter from her boss (to show she has a job to return to), etc. And I also agree she should just say the purpose of her visit is to see friends, not her Boyfriend.

4. Posted by alicemia123 (Budding Member 5 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Well said.