Author Topic: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?  (Read 3976 times)

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Offline MrsNorton

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Hi all,
 
I'm a USC who married a Brit, and I have just finished the process of getting a Married Partner visa to stay in the UK.
 
Now that that's over, my husband and I want to travel to the US so he can meet my friends and more of my family. He hasn't been to the US during our relationship, and he's wondering what he should say when he goes through customs.
 
I'm thinking obviously he shouldn't say "I'm here to get married," even though we are indeed going to stage a vow renewal for our American family. But should he go with the safe answer of "tourism"? What if they start to ask questions?
 
Also, should I go through the visitors line with him in case they start asking questions? Is it possible to take him with me in the US Citizens line? (I'm guessing not.)
 
Do let me know your experience if you've ever brought your spouse to the US for a visit. Thanks.

Offline geeta

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2014, 03:50:29 PM »
I'm not sure why you're so worried. There is no reason to be anxious about your spouse coming to the US for a visit.  Just be honest and say why he's there. He's there to meet friends and family. Simple.

Offline KFdancer

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2014, 04:03:55 PM »
And ask the person directing people to the appropriate line.  Tell them you are a family and one USC and one UKC.  They will want you to go through the line together but may have you go through the US citizen line or All Other line.  My husband and I have had both and they had us go through together even when we were just dating.

Offline alisonr

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 04:49:09 PM »
Since no one else has mentioned this, he will need to do the visa waiver program online beforehand. Not sure of the exact site though. Someone else might be able to provide that.
April 11, 2012-Began talking online
June 2012-Officially dating
August 2012-Met in person
Aug 2012-Nov 2012-Tier 4 (General)
Aug 2014-present- Tier 4
Oct 2015-Wedding!!! and spouse visa sometime after that and before the Tier 4 expires

Offline alexpkeeton

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2014, 04:59:48 PM »
He has to gt an ESTA. It's at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ and costs money (though not a lot I don't think) and it good for awhile...like he can enter multiple times if you're planning more trips in the next couple of years

Fruitgum

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2014, 09:47:36 PM »
You're on vacation, pure and simple, no need to say anything other than that, no need to offer further information except if asked for more detail. There's no need to offer information about a vow renewal service.

People do worry about immigration but, if you have return tickets more than likely you are just on a holiday!

Offline candyann

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2014, 03:41:35 PM »
My civil partner is British and we live in the UK. Even though we are not technically married, we always fill in one customs form as a family and go through the US citizen line when visiting the US, as I'm a US citizen. If you are married they definitely want you to go through together. Sometimes the people directing traffic don't really know--but consular officials have advised us that immigration officers want you to go through together, as then, they have the complete picture in front of them.

As at any border, just answer questions truthfully. You are American, visiting with your British spouse. My partner just gets the fingerprint treatment like anyone else with an ESTA, but at least we're at the same desk together and I'm not waiting for her for hours at the luggage carousel.

Have a great trip.
7/2000 - Emigrated USA to Canada
4/2008 - Met British partner
9/2009 - Moved to UK on Proposed CP/Fiance visa
12/2009 - Civil partnership
3/2010 - FLR(M)
2012 (? it's all a blur, but "old rules") - ILR
9/2013 - Naturalised/Right of Abode
2/2017 - Cannot leave UK until Canadian passport returned by the Home Office!

Offline Beatlemania

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2014, 09:38:30 PM »
I returned to the US with my new husband in October and had absolutely no issues going in.  Obviously the degree of questioning you will receive depends on the IO on the day but I cannot imagine that you two will have any issues.  We went through the visitors line together after asking the person directing new arrivals in the passport control hall which line we should use.  We did fill out two customs cards because we do not have the same last name.  I had our marriage certificate and a print-out of our booked return ticket with us but the IO never asked to see them.   We were even having a blessing ceremony and reception in the States, much like you guys!  You are already married so you're not going there to get married; just tell them that you are there to visit.

Have a great time!
Met Mr. Beatlemania: 20 Jan 2010
Tier 4 Visa Approved: 17 Sep 2012
Married: 22 Jun 2013
Spousal Visa Received:  22 Sep 2014
Ohio to Essex: 26 October 2014
FLR(M): 10 May 2017

Offline Andee

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 07:14:47 AM »
We did fill out two customs cards because we do not have the same last name. 


We did as well but the IO put a red line through one of them--he only needed one from the both of us.
Met husband-to-be in Ireland July 2006
Married October 2007
Became a British citizen 21 July 2011
Separated from husband August 2014
Off on an Irish adventure October 2014

Offline TykeMan

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Re: Visiting the USA with your British spouse - what do you say on entry?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2014, 08:52:00 PM »
He has to gt an ESTA. It's at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ and costs money (though not a lot I don't think) and it good for awhile...like he can enter multiple times if you're planning more trips in the next couple of years

It's about $14 and is valid for 2 years (or until passport expires, which ever comes first). Can do it anytime up to about 72 hours before travelling. Last year I actually did it the day before as I had to get an emergency passport renewal to go over unexpectedly. Don't need to print anything as they can see the detail but I've always had a copy printed with me in my passport holder (that way I can always check if it's still in date as well)
Just mention when approaching the line that you are US citizen and your spouse is British and which line should you go in. We've had both (one time they told us to go through the diplomat line, that was a breeze!), and the questioning as always been minimal when travelling with DW, just asking purpose of visit (just say visiting family) and how long staying.
"We don't want our chocolate to get cheesy!"

Offline little_geoff

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Like everyone else said, you won't have any issues if you are on holiday.
 Actually it's something of a plus and we actually look forward to always using the shortest queue!  ;D
-since one of you is USC use that line when entering the US, and as one is UKC use that line when coming back!
We married and applied for our UK visas in advance of an official wedding in the US, so when i flew out to attend my own wedding. I was a little concerned as on paper i was already married. After stumbling through the reasons why i was visiting, and showing my return flight the IO just said..."Hey you're visiting family, why didn't you just say, have a great wedding" - It was a lot easier than i had made out in my head.

Offline 4426120

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Like everyone else said, you won't have any issues if you are on holiday.
 Actually it's something of a plus and we actually look forward to always using the shortest queue!  ;D
-since one of you is USC use that line when entering the US, and as one is UKC use that line when coming back!
We married and applied for our UK visas in advance of an official wedding in the US, so when i flew out to attend my own wedding. I was a little concerned as on paper i was already married. After stumbling through the reasons why i was visiting, and showing my return flight the IO just said..."Hey you're visiting family, why didn't you just say, have a great wedding" - It was a lot easier than i had made out in my head.

If you were already married, you entered the US for a party, blessing or celebration.  Your official wedding had already occurred.