- 5 years ago
- Wedding: October 2013
Sorry that this is long, but there’s some backstory that’s probably needed to understand what’s going on. I’m SO upset that a country I love for so many reasons has been so crappy to honest, good, upstanding people.
So my fiancé is not an American citizen, but 3 years ago he won the green card lottery and was able to come to the U.S. as a permanent resident. He will be eligible for full citizenship in 2 more years (and will not achieve citizenship through our marriage.) He was extremely unhappy with his way of life in his home country and left because of it. Due to their laws, he can’t return until he is a U.S. citizen or he faces a potential jail sentence.
He has a twin brother who left his country almost two years ago for the same reasons as my fiancé and came to stay with us for 5 months. (A tourist visa allows you to stay for 6 months.) He isn’t able to go back to their home country either, but again it is not for any criminal reason. He was incredibly unhappy with his life there and chose not to return, so he went to stay with his sister and brother in law in Dubai after he left America.
He’s a very smart and hardworking guy with a master’s degree in Aeronautical Engineering, but as you may have guessed work visas are very hard to come by in any country and he hasn’t been able to find a job since he left his home country. He’s never overstayed a visa in any place, going from Dubai to other countries to fulfill entry and exit requirements, and the family shared the responsibility of his small living expenses.
Fast forward to last summer, when he was going to make a trip to the U.S. to ask his girlfriend (whom he met in his home country but who is an American citizen) to marry him. In Texas on his layover, he was denied entry to the U.S. They said that they “had proof” that he had worked illegally while he was here visiting us for 5 months, which is an absolute lie. (And immigration officials are allowed to lie to get you to “confess” to doing something illegally.) Naturally he denied everything and had resigned himself to getting back on the plane and going back to Dubai when they asked if he had a reason to not want to return to his home country, to which he replied yes. They explained the asylum process to him and he agreed to apply – but then he found out that the processing time averaged 6 weeks and…get this…you have to wait out those 6 weeks in a detention center. Yep, you go to jail while they process your paperwork. So he said “never mind”, that he didn’t want to do it after all, but they told him he had no choice and wasn’t allowed to stop the process once it was started because it would look like they had talked him out of applying.
So for 6 weeks we basically had a lawyer slaving away trying to cancel his paperwork and get him out of the detention center and back to Dubai. He never completed the asylum process (since he didn’t want to do that option in the first place), but in order to get out of jail and send him back they cancelled his visa, and on the paperwork it looks like he was “removed” from the U.S. instead of leaving under his own volition – which is a big difference when it comes to re-applying for a tourist visa.
Fast forward to today, he went into an interview to get a visa to come to the U.S. as a tourist for our wedding. We did everything we could, writing letters of invitation for him stating that we would assume financial and personal responsibility for him while he was here, but he still got denied. Since he doesn’t have a job or a home, the U.S. official he interviewed with said he didn’t have a reason to want to leave the U.S. and that he could try to remain in the U.S. after the wedding (or after his tourist visa expired.)
This is such a blow to us…it’s FI’s twin brother, so you know they share that special “twin connection”, and he is a dear friend to me as well. We would be without a “best man” and even if the rest of his family gets their visas approved (their interviews are next week) it would be a conspicuous absence.
It just makes me SO ANGRY that one person, on no suspicion of wrongdoing whatsoever, because they are having a bad day or feel spiteful, can ruin one person’s life so easily. The power of this bureaucracy seems wildly abused to me. This is a man who is not a criminal, has never worked illegally in the U.S., wants to contribute to society, has people willing to take personal responsibility for him, and yet they still deny him entry. I understand that they do deal with people often who are not all these things or who do want to overstay their visa or work illegally, but they seem to treat everyone that way – “guilty until proven innocent.”
So now what do we do? His brother will return to his home country and face whatever consequences await him there, but there’s still no guarantee about him getting a visa at any point in the future (especially not until he finds a job, which could take six months to a year after his return in the worst case. Best case he could have a job in a few months.) I don’t see much of a problem for the rest of his family getting a visa since they have jobs and no history of coming to the U.S…but it just won’t be the same without my fiance’s twin.
Do we postpone the wedding in the hopes that his twin’s situation will improve and he will have a better chance of getting a visa? We haven’t paid for anything yet – venue, plane tickets for his parents, nothing. Do we have the wedding and just feel bummed the whole time that his brother couldn’t make it, and not have a wedding party and not have him in the pictures? The upside to postponing it would be more time to save and plan – Fiance and I have some big bills coming due in the new few months that would put a crimp in our wedding budget so more time would be appreciated but not necessary. We also have a close friend (the twin’s girlfriend, in fact) who wouldn’t be able to make our tentative May date. On the other side, it would be postponing our wedding for one person (albeit an important person) with no guarantee that he would get a visa the second time around.
Please help bees, I’m feeling so frustrated, angry, and embarrassed at my own country’s policies that are ruining the work I’ve put into planning this wedding already. And this news on top of the huge bill we received a few weeks ago and learning that our preferred venue is out of the question for our May date.
Fiance’s brother/best friend/best man was denied a tourist visa to visit the U.S. for our wedding. What do we do?!