Can a Russian woman just travel to U.S.A and marry a man?

by John
(Ohio, USA)

I have been in contact with a Russian woman who would like to come visit me. Can she do that? And while she is here and if all is well could we just get married?

Bob's Answer:

Disclaimer: I am not an immigration attorney and you should not make any decisions that rely on this advice being true. But I have dealt with USCIS before and have some experience with their policies. I recommend verifying everything I say at the USCIS Website.

I have two answers to your question, one to the exact, specific question you are asking, and one for the question you probably should be asking.

First, the literal answer. Can a Russian woman "just" travel to the U.S.? Not "just"... Not like U.S. citizens can "just" travel state to state, or to the U.K. or France. A Russian woman needs a visa to enter the U.S. And unless she is one of the rare recipients of a work visa or student visa, the remaining options are tourist visa, fiancee visa, and spousal visa. The Fiancee visa requires that you have already met her in person and are already engaged to be married and can provide a TON of evidence proving this meeting and engagement. The spousal visa requires that you are already married (like if you traveled there to marry her and want to bring her back) and can provide a TON of evidence proving your marriage is real.

But, the closest thing to her "just" coming over is the tourist visa. I know tourist visas for Russian/Ukrainian women are a little less rare than they used to be, but they are still fairly rare.

I strongly suspect that if you met a Russian woman who legally came to America (using one of these visas), you could marry her, and there is a method to allow her to stay here and apply for residency and then citizenship. I'm quite certain that this would be a much more complex immigration process than if you met a girl in Russia, got engaged there, then applied for a fiancee visa (and that process is already very complex).

Now the "other answer". I hate to rain on your parade, but if your case is such that you met a Russian woman online and have been emailing back and forth for a few weeks or months, and she sounds very in love, and is very eager to finally come be with you, and is saying that she has (or can obtain) a visa to visit America, BUT she needs you to wire her money for flights and/or visa fees, there's a 99.9999% chance that it's a complete fraud (and that's an optimistic estimate ;-) and you would never see her or your money again. Well, you might see her emails again if she feels she can get even more out of you!

Have you seen her on a video call (like Skype)? Have you met in person? Have you seen her friends?

My whole site is all about the subject of meeting and marrying a Russian woman and avoiding the ubiquitous scams that plague the path.

Since you are already in communication with this one, I recommend you start by reading my page on Russian Dating Scams and every link referenced in it, especially the sections and pages about Email Scams.

THEN I would strongly recommend you read the questions other readers have posted and my answers about scams at Russian Scams Q & A.

If you can get through that "assigned reading" and have no doubts that your girl is the real deal and there's no chance that it's a fraud, then you may be one of the lucky ones!

I hope that answers your question.

Good luck!

Comments for Can a Russian woman just travel to U.S.A and marry a man?

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a ? i need to be awnserd
by: kyle

I received a random email from a Russian girl. I played along for a while, then she said she took a train to go to the embassy to get a visa. She sent me a pic of her holding a paper with "I love you Kyle" written on it. I kept playing along, and a few emails later she called me saying she needed $500. I never sent the money, but I was wondering if this is a common Russian marriage scam.

[Bob's Comment:]

Short answer: Yes, extremely common.

I could say this all again here, but just read my comments at Russian Dating Scams and Russian Scammers: Email Scams.

Even when they start out assuring you that they ALREADY HAVE their visa and already have travel plans to come to your country, if it's from an alleged Russian woman who contacted you randomly, it's still a scam. The day of the trip she'll contact you with some contrived cash-flow crisis, and only needs you to wire her $800 so that she can resolve some last-minute problem at the airport, etc.

Yes, but be careful
by: Anonymous

I met my wife on-line; I then Traveled to Her City 4 times, and then she had success getting a tourist visa. Arriving in the USA, we sought out the help of an attorney to navigate the tricky process of change of status: I-130. If we would have Married and request this too soon... the I-130 would have been denied. What is too soon? 1-2 months absolutely! 3-4 Months possibly. 5-6 months not usually. The key is to develop a progression of circumstances that provide evidence of a true change in her life plan. In My case, she arrived in June, I awarded her October Cruise tickets at her July birthday, (asking her to extend her Aug return date). On the Cruise, I proposed Marriage, We planned the wedding in Nov, and Married in Dec (Filled I-130 just before her 6-month stay was to expire)

[Bob's Response:]

Wow, great tip! I have never explored how to turn a tourist visa into a change of status because the tourist visas used to be so rare, but this makes sense... If you fill out the change of status too soon, it looks like she came over planning to marry, but she needs to look like she was just coming for tourism and fell in love in the process. Thanks for the post!

Russian lady coming for visit
by: Mike

While this may not sound normal, I met and exchanged emails, Skype, etc, with a Russian lady. Now she is taking the opportunity to come visit me. Rumor has it that they cannot just come to any destination of the U.S. Likely tourist destinations, New York, Vegas etc are usual places. Toledo Ohio would be more suspected as they are just coming to meet a man. So this lady told consulate that she was coming to New York. But she also bought tickets to come to my town. She is 54 years old and coming on her own money. What if any are the risks of a scam with her coming here? She is coming for two weeks. We never spoke of love. I regard this as a "friend" coming for a visit. We will see what the future brings.

What do you think?

[Bob's Answer:]

For future reference, please post bigger questions like this as a question rather than a comment on a previous post... The system I use only allows very limited space for comments. If you have any follow ups to this, make a new question.

Now to my thoughts... Until she's already on the ground in the U.S., the fact that she's allegedly coming on her own money is meaningless. The reason: It's a normal scam practice for them to claim that they're paying all their own expenses, but then on the day of travel (or a day or two before) they encounter a major last-minute emergency cash-flow crisis and need immediate help.

So be prepared for that.

But at 54 years old she'd be the oldest Russian dating scammer ever.

So as long as you make sure you're resolved to not be manipulated into any major emergency cash needs - either before she arrives or after - then I'm not really very sure what you have to lose.

Am I Being Scammed
by: Anonymous

I met a girl on from Russia. She is younger than I by 14 years. She had told me some personal stories about her life. And how other guys would want her to e-mail them nude photos of her. I told her that I would not take advantage of her like that. She told me about her father dying when he was in the military. She said IF she were to come here to U.S. she would not hesitate to do so. She said she had to talk to her mum and close friends. She had asked what type of jobs are similar to hers here. She sends me photos of her and friends and mum or mother. She has not asked for money. She describes her life in detail to me. How she walks to work 30 minutes and walks home and stops at the library to e-mail me. I asked if I would come there to see her and where would I stay for 4 days. The response I got was that we should not hurry up, and that we will be together soon. Am I being scammed?

[Bob's Answer:]

It's not really possible to know based on this information if you're being scammed... The fact that she hasn't asked for money doesn't mean anything. But you're on the right track about visiting her... first meeting MUST be in her city. If she resists that, you should be concerned.

lady walking to library
by: Anonymous

I have been emailing a lady in Berezniki and she tells me the same things. Her dad was killed in the army and her mum and aunt live in pystor. The pictures are of a young blonde who says that she is 29. I'm glad that I read the comments before making any decisions. She has also not ask for any money and states that men ask her for nude pictures.

We met the same young woman, I believe!
by: Bobby

Dear Anonymous, I read your account of meeting on a young Russian woman. The details that you mentioned are precisely the same as for me: the Father killed in Afghanistan, she calls her Mother "mum", she walks to work about 30 minutes, she stops after work at the Library to email me, and was not in a big hurry for me to visit for awhile. Let me add a few details to see if there is further synchronicity. Did you receive photos of her: ice skating, with her mum and grandparents, with her mum, at some public square in a mini skirt. Did she have on an address in Wyoming? Was her real name Yuliya and is she a piano teacher?
I can't get over the amount of detail between what you mentioned and what I've experienced. I hope whoever runs this site will get this note from me to you.

Update on the Internet at the Library lady.
by: Bobby

After quite a bit of personal exchanges and me warming up real fast to this 27 year old beauty, she did say that she checked with the "travel agency" and found out that the cost of "transcontinental " travel was way above the few hundred USD that she thought. She informed me she only makes $180 USD a month teaching at a music school in Kirs from 8am to 7pm and consequently would be unable to come as she had hoped to do. Also, when I suggested that she Skype with me she said the person at the Library said that their Interned was not "strong" enough to carry Skype but that they are working on getting it up to speed in the future. I mean Internet is Internet as far my technical experience goes, there isn't any particular Internet speed/power for Skype to work. Correct me if I'm wrong. Right now I don't buy it. I copied and pasted Anonymous' comments and posed to her the uncanny similarities between his experience and mine. I haven't received a response yet. I wonder why?

[Bob's Answer:]

Some thoughts to consider:

- The "internet is the internet" isn't really the case. It is a matter of connection speed, and it is true that a substandard internet connection speed can make Skype video a big challenge. It doesn't mean you shouldn't be concerned, just be skeptical about the right things :)

- The answers to all this are in other posts and articles on this site, but generally when the woman is talking about getting prices from a travel agency to come visit you in the U.S. (the system doesn't tell me your location), it's usually a scam, no matter what price they quote you.

- 99% of the time you can detect a scam by following advice on my site. Sorry to sound so sure of myself, but once you've done this for a while the patterns become pretty easy to recognize. Like what site did you meet on? Did she contact you first? You said she's 27 and a "beauty". That's a pretty good signal right there, especially if you are over 40-45 and not such a beauty :)

- But you really need to detect whether you believe it's a scam before confronting her with your evidence. That's always a losing move. The irony is that if she was real, she will cut off contact because you insulted. If she was a scammer she'll usually submit to the questions/tests, and PASS.

translation fees (scam?)
by: Rocky

Here is a new twist--perhaps. After several email exchanges, my Ukrainian "girlfriend" advised that she could not afford the translation fees and need help with them. I replied by writing her back in Russian, but she replied that she could not understand my email (saying it was only words with no meaning). In fact, I know my Russian language email was correct, so am thinking that the whole contact may have been under the control of the translation agency. Anyway, I dropped the contact . . Rocky

[Bob's Comment:]

Good call, but it's not really "new". It's a long-time strategy where a girl engages you in correspondence, then after they sense you're invested, they hit you with "My balance with the agency who translates my letters is depleted and I can't afford to pay for more..." gag. And, if you offer any alternative to using her "agency", there's always a reason that won't work.

Young Blonde Anna
by: Anonymous

I have been talking to a young russian girl. She contacted me we have talked every day for 45 days......

[Bob's Note:] I have moved this question to Is this a Russian Scam? and added my answer there.

Yuliya's real name is probably Boris
by: Anonymous

"Yuliya and is she a piano teacher?"

I almost got fooled by a scammer running this same 'script'. And that is exactly what it is. There is a scam system that can be bought or shared and it includes all the needed pictures and about 50 letters that are sent in sequence to lower your defenses, build trust and then hit you up for the chump that you have become for all the cash you are willing to send.

I use Google to search some of the more unique phrases in her emails and I found a scammer warning site that had a copy of every letter that she had ever sent, and I read the next letter she was going to send and did. I knew it was a scam after about 2 weeks, I suspected at about 1 week. The landmarks in her pictures were not located in the city she lived in (thanks Google maps), she often never answered direct questions, she couldn't ever send me a photo with just her holding up 3 fingers, and she had the same story about using the PC at the library. But I checked the email header and she (Boris) was actually using a popular email client, not a web browser.

Top Tour Travel Agency
by: Ted

Do you have any in formation about a Travel Agency in Russia called Top Tour? Are they legit? They were asking for $900 to have the woman I have been writing to come here. Is that right? Any info would be appreciated....

[Bob's Answer:]

I would need a lot more information in order to provide detailed guidance here, but you're almost surely being scammed. No, I have not heard of this travel agency.

Usually the way it works is this... you get into correspondence with a Russian woman (almost always only written messages, no phone or Skype), and she wants to come see you, and can get a visa through some agency.

Please read through all the other questions and answers at Russian Women Questions and Russian Women Advice, and everything at the Scams section (see left menu bar).

This is a cookie-cutter scam.

She's the one
by: Anonymous

I've been dating my Russian girlfriend for about 8 months now and she's been having trouble trying to move to California. She's 18 and I'm 19, she was supposed to move last July but her papers never got approved and supposedly got lost. So far Russia hasn't really been kind to her. Her parents live here in California and she told me that they petitioned for her to be able to get a visa since she's their daughter but she got denied. They tried it again and we're hoping she gets approved. Can this petition from her parents work? Is there anything else she or I can do?

[Bob's Answer:]

First the direct answer to the direct question: You'll have to speak with an immigration lawyer to really know the answer regarding her parents' petition - I have no idea how that works. But you can get a "Fiancee Visa" (K-1), but there are requirements... You have to have met in person in the last two years, you basically have to prove a REAL relationship (pictures of you together, receipts for your visits and dates, etc.). You will also need to show that you have the financial means to support her. Just Google "fiancee visa" and you'll learn more than you could ever want to know.

But dude, what do you mean by "dating"? Have you ever met her? Have you met her parents? How did you meet her?

Of course there has to be more to this story than you've included here and maybe everything is on the up-n-up, but I ask because the oldest scam in the book is when a girl one knows only through email wants to come visit. The whole thing with the parents already here is different, but even that is odd. How does it happen that her parents are already citizens (I'm guessing, otherwise they couldn't petition) when she is only 18 years old? If they are citizens, then they've been here at least three years, so they would have left Russia when your GF was 15 or under. I'm not buying it.

Another questionable thing... "her papers never got approved and supposedly got lost. So far Russia hasn't been kind to her"? Do you mean Russia didn't approve and lost her papers? If so, that's also very fishy... Russia doesn't need to process any papers for her to come to the U.S., only the U.S. does.

Anyway, hope that helps.

It might help to check the origin
by: Anonymous

A decent way to get a good idea is to check the origin of the email. I have been approached online many times by "Russian" women looking for a good American man who will not treat them badly. I have found that as soon as I see... "I am living in Russia..." that if I do an IP address trace the email is originating somewhere in the U.S. Currently I am being scammed by two women. Both emails are coming from Mountain View, CA just outside of San Jose. This website will explain how to do this, ABSOLUTELY FREE>>> no personal information needed.

However, if you're like me, Have fun with it. They send lots of beautiful pictures (until you tell them you don't have the $), and they make you feel good about yourself. LOL

[Bob's Reply:]

1) Instead of stringing them along and then telling them you don't have the money, play along and SEND THE MONEY... Not real money, of course. They're always going to ask for a Western Union transfer. Just send them a fake WU claim number.

2) That email address tracking doesn't really work :( They even kinda say that on that site where they say they can't detect "forged headers". But they also can't detect the IP address of the actual sending computer for most web-based mail systems (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.). Just read the scams sections of this site for far more reliable methods of detecting scams.

Not sure what to think
by: D.l

So I found a girl on match she had a pic of her with an email address, I sent an email and got a reply within a few days. Since then we have been emailing back and forth for 2 months, sending pics along the way. I know of the whole scam thing.

I can't tell if it's a scam or not, she says she has no phone, uses the library to email. I have offered to send her a phone...she refused, I offered to get her a ticket and she again refused. She looked into the process of getting a visa and was sad due to the cost of it, but did not ask for any money. So like the topic I'm not sure what to do? I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt but just don't know what to think. Any advice would be greatly appreciated


[Bob's Comment:]

Context seems to indicate that this is supposedly a girl from Russia, but you don't say it.

It's a scam, guaranteed.

"she had a pic of her with an email address"? Do you mean in the picture she's holding up a sign or something with the email address on it?

If it's anything like that, that's the first hint of something suspicious.

Second, ALL women in Russia/Ukraine/Belarus have cell phones. ALL. No exceptions. Seriously. Further, practically all cell phones in Russia/Ukraine/Belarus are prepaid cellular and ALL incoming calls and texts are FREE, even incoming international calls.

Third, the whole "she uses the library to email" thing is fishy too... Maybe 15 years ago this could have been plausible, but now nearly everyone there has a computer and internet at home. Not all of the internet is fast and reliable enough for a Skype video call, but all of it is good enough for email.

FOURTH, visas don't cost that much, maybe a few hundred dollars for the application fee. And she DID ask for money... "I'm sad cause it's expensive" = "please offer to send money". But it's very unlikely that a single Russian woman could get a visa to the U.S. See my answer to the original post.

There really is no doubt that this is a scam. Eventually she will tell you of some service that can get the visa for her. She'll tell you it's expensive... maybe $2500, but that she has savings that will cover most of it, and her parents will help her with the rest. But then, something will happen... some problem with her savings account... she can't get the money now but will pay you back later if you can wire the money now. Or, she'll find out that it was $3000 instead of $2500, and she can't get that extra $500. Or, she'll tell some story about how Russia requires a "deposit" for departing citizens in order to ensure her return, etc., etc.

You say you know about scams, but if you didn't see this coming, I would have to question your expertise :) Read Russian Dating Scams and every page it links to and THEN you'll know all about scams!

Not sure what to think
by: D.l

Sorry to be clear it was like a professional type pic with a pasted email address on the pic. Yes she is from Russia, ip address shows Moscow when she says she lived in Novodvinsk. She has not asked for money and has actually shot down and idea of me buying her a ticket. She is up to the idea of me coming there. I asked for a pic of her showing the peace sign if that checks out green light or still be leary??

Thank you

Still say scam
by: Bob (Site Owner)

What about all the other indicators of dishonesty I mentioned? She does have a phone, and she does have internet at home. She shoots down you buying her a ticket because she can't get money that way. She doesn't want you to send her a phone because she already has one, and she doesn't want to have a phone at all anyway (she DOES have a phone, but she needs to keep you thinking she doesn't, because if you thought she did, she'd have to spend time continuing the facade in a much more time-intensive way). And a smartphone would even enable her to speak on Skype...

She's probably going to send the pic you requested, but what exactly do you hope that proves?

It doesn't seem like you read what I suggested... One of those linked pages points out the absolute necessity for your first meeting to be in HER city. It takes all the guesswork out of it.

I'm not new to this... Trust me... (1) you met her on match, (2) she claims to not have phone, (3) she claims to not have computer/internet at home, (4) she's in love and wants to visit, (5) she "researched" and found that visas are expensive (which they're not), (6) if you suggest meeting her in her city, she will decline, etc. etc. etc.

Just one of these things would be a little red flag, but she's firing on all cylinders. Just send me the money and we'll call it even ;)

Not sure what to think
by: D.l

Haha rad, OK I'll play along with her game . Thanks for the insight. I'm not an old guy (36) and I'm not gross looking lol. I was just curious about a woman from abroad since American woman suck....including my ex wife. I appreciate your answers and will keep you informed.

Thank you

Talking with a girl in Saransk
by: Anonymous

I did the IP lookup from the e-mail header. And it has the IP going through a server in Mountain View Ca. Is that a normal route out of Russia or is it indicative of a scam.

[Bob's Answer:]

I think I removed discussion of tracking IP addresses from my site... And I can't find that discussion now, so I probably did.

IP addresses now are almost meaningless.

First, if you aren't really fairly knowledgeable about how to read them they're meaningless anyway.

Second, although most email systems used to report the IP address of the sending computer, almost none of them do that any longer. Like with gmail accounts... All the IP addresses in those headers are from servers, not computers where the message originated.

Mountain View is probably a giant Google/Yahoo/MS server farm through which billions of emails pass.

You should be able to detect whether it's a scam by virtue of what you learn at the Scams section of this site.

by: Vincent

Ok, like many other readers I'm quite suspicious and I've been playing along. She wants me to send her money to pay for her visa and plane ticket, but when I said I'd pay for the ticket on my end she says that's a red flag with the State Dept. I think it's BS but I'll defer to you...

[Bob's Comment:]

On the one hand, I actually suspect that it could be true that a Russian/Ukrainian woman applying for a TOURIST visa to the U.S. would arouse suspicion at the State Dept. if a man in the U.S. was buying her plane tickets. It would suggest to them that she isn't really coming for "tourism".

The thing is, I'm almost certain that when they APPLY for the visa it is not required that they have already bought a plane ticket. Maybe they'll be asked to show sufficient resources to get to America and back and have some tourism money to pay for accommodations while here. NOTE ALSO... this "show sufficient resources" is at the time of APPLICATION, NOT THE AIRPORT (I add this because a common scam is the good old "I must show money at airport to be allowed to leave..."... that's never true).

I hate to tell you this stuff though, because it IS A SCAM! Just because something she says is actually true doesn't mean she's not a scammer. As I say repeatedly elsewhere on this site, any time a woman you have never met in person asks you to send money it's a scam. It's really THAT SIMPLE.

Read Russian Dating Scams and every page to which it links and follow all of that advice and you'll be scam-proof!

Note especially that one non-negotiable is always YOU VISIT HER IN HER CITY FIRST. That takes 98% of all the scam potential off the table at the outset.

Heart Throb
by: Anonymous

Great site, I've been in the game about two weeks. Sudden emails from beautiful blond woman. I've played along to see if I got lucky, or the set up? Was called yesterday, and hit up in two hours for the money. Story she's giving and inconsistency in prior emails are transparent. Of course; She's Russian! So; OK, question...

I like to know what I'm dealing with. Is what these people are doing illegal? Their game runs the nearly full gamut of emotions on the victim. But is there a law against their actions? Any one or any where to post the photos and letters/emails and addresses to warn others? I feel these chicks are working up to 10 guys per 1-2 weeks. Would you agree with that? Or feel it's excessive? I've time lined my little hustler. I'm willing to put up a site in fact w/advertising so other men can check out known scammers? Or is one out there now? Thanks, my first time on here, and my first Russian BS woman. And Last, lol. It's better than TV, give ya that one girl!

[Bob's Answer:]

Read my whole section on Russian Dating Scams (that page and every page to which it links). It will have answers to some of that.

But "Is it illegal?" Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer or a cop, but....

It depends on the scam. Google "Bernie Madoff". When someone overtly defrauds you to extort money from you I'm pretty sure that falls outside the boundaries of law in most countries. I'll let the DAs in the audience deal with the specifics (of course of the perp is actually in Russia it should be a Russian DA).

But that kind of charge would only have a chance for certain kinds of Russian dating scams (mostly those I call "Email Scams" in my Scams sections).

But once you get into the more involved scams, like when there is an actual girl behind the communications, and her name, location, age, and description are "real". This could be someone with whom you develop a "real" relationship ("real" in this case simply meaning she's writing, talking on Skype, and maybe you even meet her). Maybe you even file for a fiancee visa. But she needs an apartment until the time the visa is approved.

So you buy/rent her an apartment. Maybe you even visit her twice while she's in the apartment while you're waiting for the visa to be approved.

But, at some point the "relationship" starts to fail. And, maybe the apartment only cost half what she says. Or, maybe she was truthful about the cost of the apartment, but also asked if you could send money to help her.

In any case, I assume that no prosecutor would ever touch that since it would be nearly impossible to prove any intentional fraud.

As for "scammer workload", I'm sure there is a wide range. For the pure email scams I'd guess that its almost automated such that one scammer could have ongoing correspondence for months with 300 men. These are the ones where the messages you get don't exhibit any evidence of them having read your last message. And that range extends down to the one-man-every-year kind of "scam" (in quotes because the whole "the relationship just failed" defense makes the charge of truly scamming a little subjective).

Site for known scammers: I don't know of any reasonable site that does that, and I don't think one would be successful. Here's why: Scammers and scam agencies are among your audience and they will game it. And, as soon as a scammer's pics, description, and letters get on to such a database, they'll steal other pics, change the description, and alter the letters. Approaching it from that angle is a fool's errand if you ask me.

It's a fool's errand mostly because there's an infinitely better way! From my observation AT LEAST 95% of the scam reports/questions I see are so obviously scams that one really would need to be -- ah, what's the word here -- not playing with a full deck!

And for the remaining 5% that are a LITTLE less obvious, a site like mine just describes them so you'll just KNOW without needing an extremely ineffective catalog of known Russian scammers!

And, FYI, if you've been chasing this for only two weeks now and have encountered that many scam attempts you're doing something wrong! Read my scams sections and find out what!

Heart Throb 2
by: Anonymous

I did not really understand the last paragraph of your answer? However THANKS, you got me thinking on a few extra points. I do wish to find a European or Russian woman. I likely misconceived part of my original questions.

Just so I'm clear on one point. The idea of a web site was a thought, not a serious plan. I agree with you that It wouldn't be effective most likely. I envisioned taking pieces of the scammers letters/emails and dissecting their tricks to help others form personal plans while searching for a Russian lady for example.

I got out lucky. 1 phone call likely cost me 50 cents, LOL. Moreover I had a new thought that is truly scary. It hit me like a ton of bricks. If a woman is scamming guys. I believe its not a matter of if? Rather WHEN? Helga to invent a name decides a few hundred bucks is small time.

Just think if she paid her own way. Came to you. 2-3ird trip and she goes for the GOLD. Slaps you around, calls cops on you. Fakes a nice fall down the steps. Eventually people become products of their environments. If Helga gears her brain pan long enough and thinks of some outrageous way to GO FOR GOLD!! You'll be funding a mailbox check for life? This is unlikely but possible wouldn't you think?

Also I've started wondering what degree of guys are in on these scams. I was contacted by a second Russian woman. I ask? Where did you get my email addr? Olga said, "Guys in internet cafes sell women lists on burnt CD's". So I'm curious if the girls actions may be forced in some cases just like a pimp is the real one working you?

We'll I've learned a lot from my close call, and this site. Thanks for this site. It's a really great place to ponder and gain knowledge. I'm forming a new plan. Obviously we require ridged planning to stay afloat, avoid BS, and insure that our time management is going into genuine women.

On the 1st lack of consistency and fair play? Stay on that point with her and be a gentleman, yet let her fair, or she plays elsewhere! I feel getting a real phone number for example would be a great ice breaker, but we're really breaking away from bad odds. Moving into realistic ground off the git go eh? Thanks again.

[Bob's Answer:]

You mean the "last paragraph" where I say if you have encountered so many scams in two weeks you might be doing something wrong? Basically it means that scams are fairly easy to avoid, and it isn't really as complex as people often make it.

It's VERY easy for a guy new to this particular pursuit to over complicate it.

"Over complicating" it means wondering how much of this is driven by men functioning more like pimps, and where the girls get the email addresses, and how many men a scammer works on at a time and for how long... all possibly a little interesting just as an intellectual exercise, but of little real value.

If you read and follow all the advice at Russian Dating Scams and that whole section, especially Avoiding Russian Women Scams none of those kinds of questions come up.

You shop at reputable sites (I'm seriously guessing that the site you're using isn't what I would consider reputable). You pursue it in a way that never leaves any possibility of cash landing in the scammer's pocket. That means you never send her money. If you visit, you never use HER translator, and you never send her money to arrange your accommodations. You never use HER agency to deliver letters or flowers or gifts (usually the agency works in collusion with the girls).

The instant all potential for cash is off the table, all the scams go away.

As for that long-range scam potential (i.e. the fake fall down the stairs thing, etc.), a Russian girl can't pay her own way because it isn't just a financial thing. America (and most of the West, like Western Europe, Australia, etc.) doesn't just let Russian/Ukrainian come here. They need a visa, and visas, especially to enter America, are hard for Russian/Ukrainian women to get.

That's partly why almost any communication involving a woman wanting to visit a man in America is a scam. The INSTANT I read a question from a guy starting with "I met this Russian girl online and she wants to visit me..." I hardly even need to read any further.

But, I'll shoot more for the spirit of the question of a "long con". That's where maybe they come here on a fiancee visa and then while here pull some of that stuff you mention, like getting some domestic violence business started, faking a fall, etc. Well, that's a lot harder to predict. And it DOES happen.

But even there common sense would help. Frankly, as I get to know a girl either everything "fits" or it doesn't. And as long as a man's wishful thinking isn't trumping his judgment, the indicators of who someone really is are fairly easy to see, ESPECIALLY in the case of Russian/Ukrainian women.

The reason for "especially" is because of the language barrier (even for fluent English speakers). Someone whose first language is not English has a harder time faking things.

by: Anonymous

I put my foot down gently and respectfully with a supposed Russian woman. She just hit the point of asking me for help with money! $600.00 to be exact. I could not even get her to acknowledge me in asking her last name. So I told her I would not help her with money, and also told her not to come see me. I caught on to her SCAM as it grew along. I also managed to control when and how it ended.

She goes by the name Svetlana. Blond, shoulder length hair, parted in center top. Slender. Age approx. 35 years old per her words. She claims she graduated in 1999.

She's very slick and fully believable in the beginning. She uses the analogy of the Prince, or Prince and Princess to inject emotional interest into her email letters. She uses Svetlana at a yandex com address.

Thanks to two friends I ran her by on the net, and this site I did not get screwed on money. But Svetlana is really good at what she does. I nearly got taken.

NOTE: If you're contacted by this one block her. Who knows, I got the standard one quick phone call. The voice was a woman. But yuck, was I corresponding with a woman each email or who knows?

If I'm wrong please inform me but; I assume posting her info here could assist a number of brothers down the line?

For my part I learned tons by just slipping her the rope, and she hung herself up. Too many lies to keep it all straight eh. In the end I got the pic with her holding an "I LOVE YOU" sign up. 2 hours latter we suddenly needed money.

If you run into this one she is FAKE, and a SCAMMER!!! Good luck guys.

[Bob's Answer:]

I would disagree about posting details about particular scammers so others can avoid them is a complete waste of time and effort. Besides the fact that there are HUNDREDS of 35 y.o. blond Svetlanas in EVERY major Russian/Ukrainian city, scammers like this CHANGE their names, descriptions, and steal new pictures every few weeks (so may no longer be blond).

With no list of known scammers I could tell you in one second if a Russian/Ukrainian woman is a scammer by simply knowing:

  • The site where you met
  • If the site operates on a pay-per-letter basis
  • Her age, looks, description
  • Your age, looks, description
  • Who wrote who first

That much info can usually get to a 98% confidence level in my evaluation. Seeing the actual content of the first email/message or two can get me to 99.9%... All without a scammer database!

And that's not because I have superhuman powers. Everything I use to come up with that is written right here on this site.

Just getting that first bullet-point right can get you 90% scam-free. Use one of these sites:

Scammers do get into those sites because anyone can post a profile, but those sites are very good at quickly identifying the scammers and deleting and blacklisting them.

Use those sites combined with the common-sense scam prevention concepts I recommend and Russian dating scams will be a non-issue!

Russian Women
by: Marc

Hi I have two topics, and or questions...

[Editor's Note: We try to keep this organized, and this was posted as a comment on the page "Can a Russian woman just travel to U.S.A and marry a man?". Since this is a long post with many helpful questions, I have posted it as it's own page at Questions about meeting Russian Women. Please read the full post there along with my answers.]

Dating Site Profile Question?
by: Anonymous


On Russian Ukrainian Women in the profile options there are a few choices concerning travel expense.

1. I'm not ready to pay.
2. Each pays for themselves.
3. I agree to pay.
4. (It appears it can be left blank)?

OK; So question is simple. Any magic to choosing one of these? Obviously 3 is OUT. Then if my point of view were 100% we could reverse that so??

Basically none of the choices look good to me. But I'm brand new at this. What's your advice on this point please?

[Bob's Answer:]

I think those choices were added after I joined. On my profile I'd pick 4. At Avoiding Russian Women Scams and elsewhere on this site I make a very strong recommendation that the first meeting MUST be in the girl's city.

Read that linked page for more details (and because it's really one of the best one-page scam defense plans out there), but if you follow that plan the only "travel expense" involved is yours, and you'll obviously pay that.

The only reasonable exception might be when a girl lives in some ridiculously tiny village. In that case (if we're talking Ukraine) you agree to meet her in Kiev, and you should pay for her travel expense (PAY the travel provider, NOT her)... Hmmm, but there's an exception to that too. If the girl takes a bus or train the round trip shouldn't cost more than $25, which is low enough to just let her pay then you reimburse.

Oh, the beauty of meetings in Kiev is that if things should happen to go south, you'll have many other options and the trip won't be lost.

Is she real?
by: Anonymous


I was on your site and saw very similar things from other people that Russian women had told them such as going to the library after work to email me, dad died in Chernobyl, etc. She told me that we couldn't speak on phone because it was another country which I don't believe.

But I'm 47 years old and thought I can see through a scam quicker than that. She said she wants nothing more than to come to America and be with me. She said she's a teacher and has been for 9 years, which begs the question if she's a teacher why does she have to go to the library for computer?

She told me that she would do whatever it takes to get to me and she never had ask for money, but lo and behold the very next day she said that she went to travel agency and they told her the cost, it was too much money. She still didn't ask for money from me but wouldn't that be the last thing that she would do is go to a travel agency first?

[Bob's Answer:]

About that last question: She's just deeply in love with you and was so eager she was just investigating the options for traveling to come see you.

I'm joking, of course.

I don't even have to ask
by: Anonymous

I don't remember how we started talking, but she said if I sent her money for a visa she would borrow money for ticket. Then she said had trouble with money and needed me to pay. She said if I don't send money for tickets her visa will be denied and she won't be aloud to come for 5 years. If I think she is beautiful and want her to come I should send money. But can't buy ticket with credit card cause they will find out about me. She calls herself Elena. Tell me

[Bob's Answer:]

The long answers are all throughout this site, so the short answer will do for here: It's all a scam. She can't "just get a visa", and if she DID have a visa yo COULD just buy her a non-refundable, non-transferable ticket with a credit card.

Russian woman loves but needs $640 to obtain a tourist visa and travel expenses.
by: Anonymous

I had a 34 year old Russian woman send me a message on a dating app. We've been chatting through email for a couple of weeks now, and fallen in love. She asked for $640 to obtain a tourist visa and for travel expenses for hotel in St Petersburg, then a flight to the US (Miami). She wouldn't talk to me over the phone, because she said that she doesn't have a phone. She also wouldn't Skype with me, because she claims that the Internet Cafe computer so can't provide the service. When I told her that my mother questions if she is real, she immediately got serious saying that she's not visiting someone that doesn't trust her and sent a photo of her passport. We then made up after I explained that I told my mother that I trust her. She then started saying she loves me, and needs the $640, so we can be together as soon as possible. Am I getting scammed?

[Bob's Answer:]

Have you read this site? Yes, you're getting scammed. NO Russian women are without cell phone. Maybe 0.1% of them are without their own computer and internet.

It's also not a simple matter of paying $640 for a tourist visa. Most likely she doesn't have one and won't be able to get one.

russian love
by: Anonymous

I have been talking to a Russian woman for about 2 months now. She never asks for money. I told her up front I have no job, no money and am looking for work. She gives me suport saying I will find work. She is 28 (claims), beautiful, and now in love with me and wants to come soon to visit. She says she is working on it. But now I read all this here and see it most likely a scam. But I am having fun with it. I am 53 and haven't had a good relationship in years due to liars and cheats. So I figured it was a scam weeks ago, but playing it out. Same story. She is a nurse, she goes to internet cafe, not open on weekends, she has no cell phone, she doesnt know her parents, or siblings. She has model like photos, but she pays attention to what I write and answers like a real woman in love. What first raised my suspicion was that she ignored several things I said or asked, even when that is all I included in short emails. I'm just seeing how far she (or he) goes. It would be a dream come true if she was real. Hell, I'd even think of marriage, but... NOT. I'm just waiting for the last minute need money to come. She says she is getting all the money for this and I don't need to pay or do anything except pick her up from the airport. I refuse to send money if she asks, and I only gave the airport where she would fly into to me. I give no info, my name, phone number, address. Seems this is a common thing. She says she lives in the small town of Kubinka. Thanks Google Maps. Do any of these end up for real? That is my question.

[Bob's Answer:]

No. None of it is real.

Meeting a Russian woman on language app
by: John

I have been talking to a Russian girl for about five months, she has been my girlfriend for about two months. She is 21 and I am 19. I met her on a language learning app. I messaged her first. I have Skyped with her multiple times and we talk everyday. I am 99.9% sure that she is not using me. I plan on visiting her soon but wanted to make sure everything sounded good to you.

[Please enter a name for reference - it doesn't have to be your real name, just stick with it so we have something to call you - You'll be "John" for now]

RE: Meeting a Russian woman on language app
by: Bob (Site Owner)

WOW, an inquiry that isn't an immediate sure scam :)

OK, certainly I can't KNOW, but nothing you've said above causes me any suspicion. You didn't even meet on a dating site. You talk on Skype, you have voice calls EVERY DAY, FOR TWO MONTHS, YOU are visiting HER in her country first (most typical email scams start with the girl wanting to visit you first -- just send money).

Nothing here LOOKS like a scam from what you have reported.

Read my site... Two pages in particular, Avoiding Russian Women Scams and Travel to Russia.

The first one won't apply 100% to your specific situation, but there are good things there about watching for subtle tricks.

The second one is just a lot you'll need to know about visiting Russia (travel tips).

Good luck!

Bringing a Russian Girlfriend to the USA for Marriage
by: Rick

I am a Russian Orthodox Christian. I know in the past the Russian Orthodox Church has assisted people in bringing their loved ones to the U.S. with Visa's and also in my case an older lady I met online on a free website and we have been communicating for over two months now. She has never asked for money and actually has quite a bit of her own. I am a Greek Orthodox Christian and though Greek, the Russian Orthodox Church I worship and belong to is only 5 minutes from my house. I know in the past the Greek Church has brought Greek people here to the U.S. on visa and have eventually become U.S. Citizens. I believe this to be true with the Russian Orthodox Church. Please correct me if I am wrong.

[Bob's Reply:]

To be perfectly honest I know nothing about this church angle, but my spidey senses always kick into overdrive when I hear any version of the "We met online and I want to bring her here to get married..." story.

Sorry man, but that's almost always a scam, and even if it's not a scam, surely there is no simple route to a church helping her get a visa.

If this is the real deal why not "just" travel to meet her? Take tons of pictures, keep all your trip receipts for documentation purposes later if needed, and then if things go well apply for a fiancee visa.

That's by far the least risky, most reasonable approach.

none can be trusted
by: ralph

When was this done and from where ?

[Bob's Answer:]

What was WHAT done? And WHAT can't be trusted? Come on man, full sentences please.

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