Immigration Issues/multi-entry visitor visa : length of stay during 2 visit
my mother has a multi-entry visitor visa, was issued a 6-month length of stay, and we want her to stay through the entire period. At the US Embassy in Ukraine, she was told that within a calendar year she needs to stay longer in Ukraine than in the US. While i realize that she won't have to deal with the Embassy until her visa expires, I was curious to know the following:
1. To what extent is this rule reinforced by immigration officers at ports of entry in the US? In other words, if she goes back to Ukraine after staying with us for the full 6 months, can she come back, say, within 3-4 months?
2. How likely is it that they won't let her in? that they let her stay only for a month?
3. What do the Embassy mean by the calendar year? When do they start counting? At the point of entry to the US?
4. What can we do (my husband is a H1 and I'm F1 visa holder) to ensure that she can come back and stay with us for six months again?
Thank you very much for your time and advice,
I can only discuss your case generally since the outcome really depends on the mood of the officer at the airport who has to decide whether to admit your mother for one month or 6 months.
If your mother stays for a full 6 months and enters the U.S. again within 3 or 4 months, there will be questions at the airport about the purpose of her entry and how is she supporting herself (employment is not authorized, of course). She can respond that she is visiting her son and that all her expenses are taken care of, which are minimal anyway since she is staying in your home. Since you are not yet a U.S. citizen who has filed an immigrant petition for her, this response should be satisfactory. However, depending on the mood of the entry agent, he may authorize her to stay in the U.S. for only one or two months.
Since your mother already has a valid multiple-entry visa which is not expiring for some years(?), she at least will not have another interview at the U.S. Consulate in Ukraine for a long time, but entry into the U.S. can still be problematic if she is spending more than 50% of her time (starting from her entry into the U.S.) in the U.S., and that is why she may be permitted to remain only for a month or two the next time around.
Since neither you nor your wife can actually sponsor your mother for an immigrant petition until you are a U.S. citizen, there is really nothing that can be done to ensure another 6 month permission to remain in the U.S. unless she stays outside the U.S. for a full six months, preferably longer.
Ajay K. Arora, Esq.