(Closed) American Bureaucracy is ruining my wedding :(

posted 5 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
853 posts
Busy bee

I have always wondered about this same issue. America is a great country but their immigration laws verge on the absurd. It’s extremely difficult to get an American visa in my country and the application fee alone is $825 (app. 140USD) which is not reimbursed if your application is denied.

How far along are you in your planning? Is it possible to hold a small destination wedding in a neutral location? Just invite your family, his family and your closest friends. It may not be ideal but it could be very romantic and your BIL’s attendance will not be an issue. There are actually a lot of pros to that proposal as you can purchase a wedding package, which depending on your current plans, can actually be cheaper and is a LOT less work. The cost of travelling to your guests may be an issue but since it sounds like a lot of your FI’s family will be travelling to the US anyway, maybe that part will not be a huge issue.

Post # 4
8464 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

Ugh, immigration laws are made to be confusing.  I don’t know any advice, but to suggest an immigration lawyer who will know the ins and outs of the system.  Best of luck, sorry you’re going through this.

Post # 6
1399 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

I can’t offer much advice, but I hate U.S. immigration laws, too! We’re going through the visa process with my Fiance… so stressful. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. All I can say he needs to lawyer up and do as much research as possible to know his rights in this situation.

Post # 8
706 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Ugh, that’s horrible and infuriating!! It doesn’t make rational sense from any standpoint, since holding people in jail (wtf???) is a hugely expensive and unnecessary measure. Double ugh.

I’m so sorry. If I were in your situation, I might wait or do a destination wedding in a neutral location, as suggested by some of the commentors. Good luck!

Post # 9
1399 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Minnow:  I am the U.S. Petitioner, and he is the ALIEN FIANCE haha. He is in his country (as am I). We’re going through the U.S. Embassy down here. Next step is medical exams, affidavit of support, etc.

Post # 10
3 posts

I totally understand your frustration. I’m legal immigrant as well. My sister was denied visa 3 (!) times with no clear explanation (1 for study visa with university acceptance letter and twice for visitors visa).  And all 3 times with no clear explanation! One of them was  just because the counselor was a b***. She  asked a lot questions about me and made a comment how clearly I didn’t have plans to come back since I have been in US for so many years! I held H1B visa at the time which clearly says that this is dual intent visa!  I have all legal rights to stay as immigrant as long as my visa is valid and I’m not doing anything unlawful. But this woman decided that my status in US should affect my sister’s visa.  She clearly didn’t understand the law in the first place and denied the visa because she felt like doing that…


I was so afraid that my sister and her husband will get rejected for visa again to come to my wedding. They cannot come for some other personal reasons, so I would never know… But she gets refused again next time with no clear explanation why, I’m going to make a big deal out of it. I will go to local congress or senate if need to. I’m a lawful resident, I pay taxes. My sister should be allowed to visit me unless they prove that she has intensions to stay over (which she doesn’t not).


Don’t get me started on visa application fees J They charge so much and not even partially refund it if you get refused. They also charge fees for infants. I heard the same amount as adults (around $140 which is lots of many for many countries), but I haven’t confirmed it myself… I hold green card now, but just to change my last name to my future husband’s, I have to pay $450 again and wait again for God knows how long and have the same risk of getting rejected as the initial green card application. This is crazy!


I recommend contacting your local senate or congressman to see if they can help with your situation. But I’m afraid if he was denied once, he might get denied again if you leave everything up to local consulate….

 Good luck!

Post # 12
889 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2015 - Diplomat Country Club

@Minnow:  I know he hasn’t “propose” yet but how about the girlfriends apply for a fiance visas for him to come? He would need to come and get married within 30days if i’m not mistaken. Or he just gonna have to get married and start the residency process that’s the only thing i could think of 🙁 I know how you feel my Fiance is also not a us citizen buthe is us resident and right now we have no idea if his family will be able to come for the wedding

Post # 13
1670 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I second writing to your congressman, I had a friend for whom this worked (boyfriend stuck out of country, wedding, etc)

I just went through the most nightmarish process with my SO’s visa (he is here on a work visa) – he ended up getting it in the end, but we went through periods where agents were screaming at him that he was going to be banned from the United States, that he was a lazy, filthy drunk, that “you people” are cheating the Visa system, etc – and I can think of nothing that would have provoked this except that they were looking to get a rise out of him, which they didn’t. The process is horrific. I developed ulcers during it and started grinding my teeth.

We are eager to adjust his status here as soon as is feasable. I’m so sorry this is happening to you, keep us updated. They should have some compassion on his brother!


Post # 14
2874 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

God this is a nightmare. Problem is i think visa stuff is like a vicious circle. they refuse a visa for a stupid reason,then when he applies again its like “well we refused last time, must have  had a reason” and are then doubly likely to refuse than the first time

it sucks they dont refund the fees if they reject the application as well. people have to pay money for a possibility

@Minnow:  a destination wedding might be the answer unfortunately, if the visa stuff doesnt work out

talking to your congressman/senator would be a good idea, BUT i think (im assuming, im not american) its hard to get a politician to pay attention. any chance of starting some kind of campaign? getting as many people as you can behind you – the bigger the splash, the more attention will be paid. a petition/website…whatever

Post # 15
3886 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I’m not at all saying the detention centers or the process overall isn’t broken— it is– our immigration system is horribly broken on lots of levels!  But I can see at least a few red flags, mainly with Future Brother-In-Law not having a job and not having any intention to return to his native country.  On paper, this makes him look very risky for overstaying his visa, because he’s not got any documentable reason to leave the US.  I strongly recommend you work with an immigration lawyer, and that he get some kind of actual job in some country other than the US, which will help increase his chances of getting a visa on the next attempt.  You have to show that he has a reason to go home at the end of his visa period, and if “home” is in a country where he’s not a citizen, and he’s not got work waiting there for him, well you can see how it looks on paper.  Just bringing this up so he has a better chance on the next try.

In the mean time, I’d go on with the wedding as planned, as traveling to a different country may present some or even all of the same challenges. Many countries will not issue you even a tourist visa if you’ve been denied entry into the US or denied entry anywhere.  So you may be trading one country’s bureacratic nonsense for another country’s.

Post # 16
9955 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

First off (( HUGS ))

Cause I can tell this is very very stressful for you.

YES, a Country’s (any country) Border Control Agents / Customs & Immigration have a lot of powers… more so than any police department (sadly, a lot of folks don’t realize this, until they find themselves on the “recieving end” of things)

You could certainly consult a US Immgration Lawyer… that would be what I would do… but you should be aware that these folks do not come cheaply… infact they are down-right expensive (super expensive) but I can tell you that they do do a good job… and in the end things will most likely end up being resolved with the least possible of consequences

I don’t know your BIL’s situation with regards to his home country…

BUT IF he has managed to live in transit around the world for a long period of time, I’m guessing that has worked for him, up until the point that he tried to come to the US on visit (and ended up in detention)

A US Immigration Lawyer can probably sort thru the mess and get the detention “expunged” from his record especially so as he didn’t do anything “wrong” to end up in jail (otherwise, once on the US Border / Immigration Computer it will live there forever)

I’m not an expert, but I know abit about US Customs & Immgration (aka US Border & Protection Services / Homeland Security) and my “gut” tells me that your BIL should not go back to his home country if that runs the risk of getting arrested / imprisoned there.

First off… Lets face it NO ONE wants to be in prison

But most importantly, although US Intelligence is good… it isn’t necessarily perfect or reliable (as you’ve already discovered)… I would think that your BIL’s arrest & imprisonment in his home country might end up “partially recorded / noted” on the US Computers (or worse he’ll just be asked HAVE YOU EVER BEEN ARRESTED when he is being interviewed for entry to the USA)… in either case, that junk will come out… and the US will see him as a GREATER RISK to the USA

And you don’t want that to happen… then he’ll literally never ever get to visit the US

So as I see it your choices at this point are…

Hire an Expensive US Immigration Lawyer… OR opt for a Destination Wedding in another country.

Hope this helps,

EDIT TO ADD – I see that fishbone: has posted in the time it took me to draft my reply… excellent info there.  Indeed getting into any country that “shares” Immigration Info with the USA as part of the Western Hemisphere Initiative… might be problematic… that would include… Canada and any US possessions such as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.  And YES no matter where one visits, it is always imperative to show “intent to leave”… that typically includes a Return Air Ticket, a Home / Permanent Address, and typically a Job to go back to.

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