Travel agent

by Gar
(High point, NC. US)

I have met a girl on an American dating site and I have read the majority of the scams from others and I am still on the fence.

First, use has never asked me for money. She has told me about a travel agent that would help and I have reached out to them. They were informative about what is needed and they didn't like it very well when I questioned them about their integrity.

So here is my question. I said I was willing to come to her city to meet her and she wasn't opposed to it but she said she studied visa K1 under this visa it is necessary that it would take place through one personal meeting. The travel agency explained if I arrived, we cannot receive visa.

It also would cost 2450 dollars. Cost includes process of consideration of the application in USCIS and embassy of the USA: preparation of forms and submission; consultations and constant updating of the information on the status; interaction with USCIS and with embassy of the USA; consultation and preparation for interview, assistance in reception of information. As additional charges which are paid by the client: the duty on consideration of application USCIS - 455 dollars, medical examination - 55 dollars, consular gathering for issue of visa - 160 dollars.

The total cost will make 3020 dollars. As the ticket which cost of 1072 dollars. I am looking for a good travel agency in Noyabrsk that would be legitimate. At least give me the right answers. Again, she has not asked for any money and she has offered a travel agency that I contacted personally.

I have not spoken to her on the phone or through Skype. Even the agency said there are sanctions between US and Russia and they are a small outfit that they mostly take care of travels from within their own country. They do specialize in Russian people traveling outside of the country but don't get much business from others traveling to their country.

I guess that makes sense. I wouldn't use a Russian travel agency if I live in US. The agency didn't have a problem if I decided to use another agency either. I just don't know of any.

So does this Russian person know what they are taking about with the K1 visa? What is the normal cost for a fiancee visa? Is the process what she claims it is? I have not sent her money nor will I and the agency is willing to provide me updates as each process has been completed. There are things in question. Like the fact we haven't talked. She says she has no need for a phone. I wish I could find out more information about her city so I can investigate it better. Anyone know how to do that?

Bob's Comment:

You don't state it, but I assume you met a Russian girl on an American site.

It is true that the K1 (Fiancee) visa requires an in-person meeting before you can apply for it (so the agency's claim that "if I arrived, we cannot receive visa" is false).

There are services that can help with some of the steps of getting a fiancee visa on the Russian side, but this is all unnecessary at best, fishy at worst. The total cost of everything on her end (not counting her airfare, which is 8 months later anyway) isn't over $500-$600.

The way it really works (and I have done it) is that you meet - in person - and propose marriage. It should be real. You keep every shred of documentation to prove that you have met and have a real relationship. That means copies of airplane tickets, restaurant receipts, scans of the Russian visa in your passport showing the stamps, the receipt for the ring, a pile of printed correspondence, a pile of printed pictures. The USCIS requires lots of documentation showing that you actually have a REAL relationship (which you actually don't yet).

After you propose, YOU file a fiancee visa application and pay the fee (I forget the amount, but around $400). Then you wait 8 months or so and if it's approved, THEN she petitions for the visa. Your application basically says to the USCIS "Hey, I'm a citizen and I want to marry her, so please let her come." When they say "Yes", then SHE has to say "May I come". Then she fills out paperwork similar to that you filled out. And yes, there is the medical exam. But she can do all that herself and doesn't need a "travel agency".

But here's the thing... This is all surely a waste of time. This is a scam. No authentic situation involves a Russian woman willing to talk marriage before even speaking with you by phone or Skype.

And DOES have a phone. No one in Russia is without a cell phone. And even better, almost all cell phones there work on a pre-paid basis and only pay for OUTBOUND calls. In other words, she has a phone and it can take unlimited incoming calls/minutes free.

Also, any time a Russian woman suggests a travel agency, it's a scam. The agency may exist, and may even be legitimate, but the situation is a scam.

I looked up her declared location (Noyabrsk) and I'm not buying that either. It's too in-the-middle-of-no-where, like it was picked for it's remoteness so that men wouldn't want to visit. Do you have an IP tracking evidence validating this location?

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