I am married to a Colombian woman and we would like to invite her 78 year old mother to visit us in the US. What steps do I need to follow?
Answer Dear Mr. Greg:
This is what I think would happen, but this is just my personal opinion.
Since your wife is not petitining her for a resident visa then her mother will need to apply for a tourist visa. She can use a letter of invitation from both of you that says that she is going to visit both of you. The letter will say that you will take care of her travel and living expenses for her trip and stay at your house. She is going to need to apply online for an appointment for the visa review. There is a fee involved for the visa application. She will need to get a Colombian passport or have one with at least 6 months before it expires. Then when the date comes for her appointment she should go to the US consulate in the morning and show her documents and visa application (they give her a form to fill out at the consulate). They might ask for a medical exam at a local doctor's office that is approved by the US consulate. She will have the interview and then they will decide if they approve the visa or not. If approved then they will stamp her passport with the tourist visa and give her the latest date she should travel before the visa expires. They could give her a single or multiple visit visa. She should not be carrying any correspondence or belonging that would indicate she intends to overstay her visa. If they doubt her intentions they will check all of her belongings and even read her letters. If a letter says things that indicate she plans to stay in the US permaently then that is grounds for the denial of her entry. If her flight reservations are for 2 weeks, but she carries luggage for 6 months then they could think she is going to stay longer than the 2 weeks. If she is going to travel alone then you and/or the family in Colombia should make arrangements with the airline so that the staff at the airline will escort her when she needs to, such as when she has to change planes, etc. You should check with the US government if she needs to show paid plane tickets when she goes to the visa petition at the consulate. It used to be that way, but that could have changed. You could see if you buy the reimbursable plane tickets, but those are expensive. Mid November and December are high season and plane tickets become expensive to very expensive very quickly. They go back to normal prices past mid or the end of January and even past that. You will probably be late or almost late for cheap tickets since mid November is almost here and you should buy them with at least two weeks in advance and it takes time to get a visa appointment. The US goverment will probably ask or ask for roundtrip tickets.
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