k1 visa guidance

LDR Meeting in Person

Memorable Vacations and how to Validate the Moments?

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Long-distance relationship meeting in person for the first time, tips to get the most out of your trip and document everything you do as a couple for immigration purposes.

Did I say immigration purposes? Not every one that meets for the first time in person is quick to make a decision about becoming engaged to marry. Often times the first meeting in person is just another step toward becoming a couple.

For some couples, LDR meeting first time is another way of deciding if they will either take the relationship to the next level or part ways? But today we will talk to the couples that are still undecided?

LDR Meeting
LDR Meeting in person

First, let’s discuss LDR Meeting First Time:

When I was communicating with my pen-pal in the Philippines back in 2002, I had very little information about how to prepare for my trip and what things to bring or what to expect being in another culture?

Internet Age:

Americans that have a Long-distance Relationship now are able to “learn more, faster” and gather a whole lot more information about their new girl/boyfriend through live chat, pictures, and the internet as a tool to learn about each other and the culture they were raised in.

In the pen-pal days, I used libraries and Barns and Nobles book-stores to gather information about the Philippines. But do I have regrets? Actually sometimes I do because the internet was already available since 1991.

I guess I was somewhere still living in the dark ages šŸ™‚ but all honesty I enjoyed what I had at the time but would gladly take the internet now.

No matter which country you or your future partner are from an LDR meeting in person should eventually happen and from that point, a couple can really determine if they where met to be or not?

Preparing to make an international trip:

With the internet providing tons of information about every country in the world on google searches and YouTubes a person can be much more prepared while making an international trip.

Below is a list of items that you should consider gathering in order to make the journey a lot less stressful. For some people, you may need more or less depending on your destination?

Items that I needed for my first trip to the Philippines:

ā— If you don’t have a passport then you should work on this first thing.

ā— Make photocopies of your passport biographic page in case you lose your original passport.

ā— I like to travel kind of lite, so I got a nice carry on luggage that was suitable for my needs.

ā— In my case, I was traveling to the Philippines so I brought shorts and t-shirts, light clothing.

ā— It’s always a good idea to carry at least one black ink ballpoint pen to fill out immigration cards in flight.

ā— If you plan to bring a credit card or bank card you must inform the bank at least two weeks in advance of your international travel so that your card won’t be red-flagged as stolen?

ā— Best to bring some brand new crisp one hundred dollar bills because money exchangers usually do not exchange with you if the bill is getting old. Also many will not exchange your smaller bills like fifties and twenties, they only prefer 100’s.

ā— Be sure to have either your smartphone or a camera to take lots of pictures together with your special someone.

ā— If you are allergic to anything then be sure to have your bracelet or necklace that describes your allergy condition. or keep a note attached with your passport to inform others of your condition.

ā— If you need to take medication daily or are diabetic, you need to be sure to keep everything in its proper container as this might get you held up with customs officials in the airports?

ā— I always like to carry back-up copies of flight itineraries in case my originals got lost, so I will keep a back-up copy together with my passport photocopy. Also, a couple of phone numbers and addresses from your hometown just in case there is an emergency with you.

ā— Last is gifts for your special someone and maybe her family also? I suggest small gifts like watches or bracelets, souvenirs anything small but not too cheap. For the Philippines chocolates that came from America seem to be the most valuable gifts.

Getting the most out of your trip:

Taking their relationship to the next level: Earlier I had mentioned that there are LDR couples who will meet for the first time, but not as a trip to propose marriage, but as a measure of seeing if the couple both have chemistry and to determine if they have what it takes to get along for a lifetime?

Since 2003, I have consulted with guys from all walks of life many of whom have been married before some who have not. I have learned that each one has their own story and their own reasons for doing what they do?

In my consulting with each one, I get a feel for the kind of person they are? Many of them share with me their life’s experiences good and bad. The majority of them are older gentlemen but still, I get to consult with young men as well.

Consulting with the foreign women: Though rare I do get a chance occasionally to consult with the foreign girlfriend a lot more these days on facebook and private calls made to my Philippines mobile number which is linked to Viber and WhatsApp.

Like the guys, many of them have their reasons as to why or why not move quickly towards a marriage? Here are some of the most common reasons why some are willing to move into marriage with their American boyfriend?

Ultimately the goal with each one of the couples is to eventually get married.

Why are some ladies willing to marry after the first LDR meeting?

Because he takes good care of me and my familyBecause I don’t want to lose him
I love him and want to have children with himBecause he really needs me to help him
I never been married before and am getting oldHe and I share the same religious belief
He is the only guy that is serious with meI have been searching for many long years
I can feel he is very sincere toward meHe accepts my kids and loves them too

Why do some women prefer the LDR Meeting to be the next level only?

He’s been married a few times beforeHe does have some criminal records
He struggles financially or is unemployedSometimes he doesn’t act as if he loves me
I’m still trying to get annulled from a marriageLately, I have seen a pattern of to busy for me
I am in College and that has priority for nowI am working overseas under a contract
Currently, I’m the breadwinner to my familyI believe a good relationship takes a lot of time
LDR Meeting
LDR Meeting in person

Each couple has their own reasons:

LDR meeting first time from what I have seen the majority of couples make the decision to become engaged the first trip. Right or wrong, many of those couples are still married all these years later. Below is my list of observations as to why many do it this away?

Myself included after communicating with my pen-pal for a few months decided she was the one for me and decided to propose marriage to her. After three months of writing and calling then two weeks in the Philippines, I propose marriage as we both felt the same love for each other.

Observations that I have compiled since 2003:

Why do some couples decide on marriage after their first LDR meeting?

ā— Love is a powerful feeling. Such feelings can be felt in postal letters, packages, in an email, text message and certainly while in a live video chat. But sometimes it’s just not there at all! I experienced love through postal letters when I saw that my pen-pal was making her own envelopes and writing on flowery paper then spraying some nice smelling cologne spray on the letters.

ā— Newly developed pictures often times will do one of two things? Either captivate your heart or scare one of you away? With today’s online dating many sites will allow members to populate their profile with lots of pictures. For me and much other physical attraction is important.

ā— Loneliness turned into happiness is also feelings of love. Some guys but the ladies also have been alone for so long that they feel as if they will grow old and never get married? When you have met a person that removes that loneliness, you never want to let go of them.

ā— Getting a vacation can be tough for some. Not everyone has a lot of vacation coming to them and waiting a full year until you get another week can really be painful. Especially if you’re flying to the other side of the world. I’ve none many who made the trip and only could spare one week.

ā— Roundtrip airfares and hotel accommodations make this nearly impossible. I have spoken to numerous fellows who said this was going to stretch their budget pretty hard? So saving for a trip like this would take a lot of discipline and sacrifice. For many after the trip, it was worth every penny.

ā— This last reason for some isn’t a laughing matter. I’ve heard of some woman wanting to have a baby and they felt the time was running out for them? For some men, they were getting older and the need to have a woman physically in their life as soon as possible was important to them.

ā— My reason which I know many couples go through is the desire to have a warm person beside them in the bed and someone to wake up next to each morning. I came from an abusive and very unloving marriage of thirteen years where my ex deprived me for years while having extramarital affairs outside our marriage.

LDR meeting that do next level only.

Couples of an LDR meeting for the first time to see if the relationship is ready for the next level only?

In a world filled with divorce, annulments, break-ups, domestic violence, false accusations that often times can lead to an arrest not to mention paying child support and in many cases alimony, is it any wonder a guy would want to quickly jump into a relationship that leads to marriage?

For the woman of another country whom many either have experience violence in past relationships or know someone else who has gone through it and had boyfriends or ex-husbands of their own country cheat on them come home drunk or on drugs and beating on them.

Is it any wonder they too would want to quickly trust a man? As I have said earlier “Love is a powerful thing” a man or woman can quickly change the way they think and fall in love if all of the right ingredients are there? But not all couples are so easily moved in this way.

  • The American man: Numerous times I have heard this line, “I have too much to lose”
    Referring to a successful business, home, land, retirement, savings, they don’t want to be cleaned out if they get married then suddenly or unexpectedly the misses wants a divorce?

    The truth is with so many U.S. laws and judges in favor of the women, divorces can get nasty and a man can lose everything. So it’s not unusual to do a prenup before the marriage takes place.
  • I get a lot of guys who have gone through a Long-distance relationship before some even sponsored a fiancee to the U.S.A. using a K1 Visa only to get dumped by the woman a short time after she arrived.

    Some guys have been in and out of Long-distance relationships a few times getting scammed, cheated on, or lied to about the woman being single when in reality she was already married to another guy. Or telling him she never had kids when in reality she does have kids.
  • Some couples that I have worked with where both the man and woman are working overseas and can’t be together on U.S. soil for months or even years due to contracts that prevent them from being able to get married right away.
  • A very common event that prevents Long-distance relationship couples from quickly going through with marriage is one of them is still not free to marry? In many cases, it’s the woman who still needs to get an annulment.

There are many valid reasons why some couples get married after meeting on the first visit and others choose to wait or have no choice but to wait.

LDR Meeting
LDR Meeting in person

So what is the common goal of this LDR Meeting?

Confident couples: Now whether or not the couple is both in agreement about marriage, later on, having an engagement party and presenting her with either a “promise ring” or “engagement ring” is and should be considered taking the relationship to the next level.

This doesn’t mean the couple has to act right away on getting married in her country or filing for a K1 Fiancee visa to get her to the USA for marriage. It does, however, obligate the couple to be more loyal to one another. And the man should visit his fiancee more than only one trip.

Regardless if they will act right away or not, the most important is that they both feel more committed to one another. They love each and want to honor each other by staying loyal and acting as if he or she is right there next to one another even when they are both back in their countries?

Can an LDR last or fail?

If someone asked me if a Long-distance relationship can really survive I would definitely tell them “Yes” it can survive. It is possible as long as two people truly love each other and they have agreed with each other on a long term plan that eventually will have a light at the end of the tunnel.

Communication is essential to keeping a Long-distance relationship alive. I talked about this in another post that treating your LRD like a potted plant is a must! Every plant needs a certain amount of sunlight, water, fertilizer, and cultivation to withstand the long term.

Each one of us needs to sacrifice a certain amount of time daily in order to nurture the relationship even though we both live across the seas, by being on time to chat appointments, being sure our phones are charged and always turned on, shows loyalty.

Long-Distance Relationship Addiction and Sacrifices.

Personally, when I was comfortable with my relationship with my pen-pal girl, I had taken the time to study about Philippines culture, their history, their religious beliefs, the foods they ate and some about their government. Of course, my girl also shared a lot over the phone with me.

The two of us shared pictures with each other in letters that we sent back and forth. We would talk for hours on the phone every week. Our conversations had a lot of interferences from choppy lines and lousy connections that made it very challenging at times.

We had good days and bad days but we would at least feel good just to hear each other’s voices. I knew and she knew that we had something special developing. Neither one of us hid anything from each other she was an open book and I learned from her how to become an open book also.

She taught me that I could share anything with her and she would be alright with it. For me, these were all key ingredients that made for a great relationship. I would have to say that we talked on the phone an average of fifteen hours a week. She was like a drug to me back then.

I was addicted to hearing her and had such a burning passion inside of me that I just knew I had to be with this woman every day for the rest of my life. I knew that somehow someway I had to marry this woman and that became my goal.

As part of my preparation for my first trip to the Philippines, I didn’t mention any of this to her but I had been shopping for an engagement ring to bring to her. I was old fashion and had a plan to ask her parents first if I could marry their daughter. I was determined to it right.

I purchased a gold solitaire diamond ring to take to her and bought her parents each a gift that had made in America on it which is what they like to see. I got my passport, roundtrip airline tickets, film for my camera, a Philippines map in case I got lost? I was prepared.

How I made the best of my time in the Philippines?

Flying from Orlando Florida to Detroit Michigan onward to Nagoya Japan and finishing the trip into Manila Philippines. Long trip indeed lasting about 26 hours to get on the other side of the world.

The trip wasn’t finished yet because now I have to catch a domestic flight down to Mindanao which was another two-hour flight before the vacation officially started. Growing up in the USA and reading a number of culture shock books for the Philippines couldn’t prepare me enough.

I had two solid weeks to get to know my girl and touch her, meet her friends and family and to fight the urge to sleep during the daytime and force myself to sleep at night time. It was a roller coaster experience for me but I loved every moment of it.

Tips* One of the ways I made the most of my trip was to save every single receipt I accumulated during my trip. The other thing I did was had her friends or family members take pictures of us together as a couple. These where things that I did know would be part of immigration.

Required receipts if you file for a K1 Visa.

Your trip itineraryGrocery receipts
Your US Passport visa pages with stamps in itMoney exchange receipts
Your boarding pass stubsATM receipts
Hotel receiptsGift receipts
Food receiptsEntertainment receipts

Required couples photos to prove we were together.

You have to be sure to have plenty of good quality photos taken of you and your girl together. USCIS wants to be certain that you spent all of your time together with just her and that you both are at least happy together. You will be required to send in at least 10 good quality photos to USCIS.

We were able to get all of the pictures developed in her town and made them on glossy film paper size 5×7. I made sure that each picture we wore different clothing to appear that we spent quality time together. And mostly whole body shots to show Philippines landmarks in the background.

LDR Meeting
LDR Meeting in person

We had some pictures outdoors at the beach, some at the dinner table, some at the store, in a park, some of me putting the engagement ring on her finger. All in all, we took about two hundred pictures and selected the best ones that we felt USCIS would like from us?

I was able to also bring back with me a true original copy of her birth certificate. Had I known earlier about the type of visa we would get her and all of the requirements, I could have had made while I was with her 2×2 passport-style photos for her and of me. [See 2×2 Specifications…]

And I could have had the G-325A form ready for her to put her signature on which was required at that time but is no longer used at USCIS. Also, I could have had her Fiancee Letter of Intent made and ready for her to sign also but during my visit we did not know about hose forms?

For me and my Filipina wife, things were handled by INS and, not USCIS back in 2002. So many changes have been made since then and requirements also have changed with new forms and new supporting documents that must be gathered up while you visit your girl in her country.

Are you going to meet your girl or guy soon and want to learn how you can get the most out of your trip? [Read More…]

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