Love and Borders: U.S. Executive Struggles to Get Visa for Chinese “Peasant” Wife

Love and Borders: U.S. Executive Struggles to Get Visa for Chinese “Peasant” Wife
Jun 08, 2015 Translated by eChinacities.com

Editor's Note: A visa officer from the United States could not believe that a wealthy U.S. executive chose to marry a poor Sichuan women and refused her a visa on the first try. The original title of the article calls the woman “illiterate,” because she cannot speak any English, and a “peasant.” In the end, the couple is able to prove that their marriage is not fake. Why would a well-off executive need a pay off for a fake marriage in the first place?

Chinese nationals often emigrate to the United States for business and investment reasons. They also often go to reunite with loved ones.

Sometimes, Chinese spouses emigrating to the United States are looked at with suspicion by immigration officers. Officers will even occasionally accuse incoming Chinese spouses of fraud. 

Ms. Zhang's husband is an American citizen, but her visa application to the United States was refused. The visa officer rejected her because her income was vastly lower than her American husband's. The officer suspected that the marriage was fake.

Ms. Zhang is from rural Sichuan and is divorced with two children. Her only source of income was from odd jobs in the tiny restaurants in her town. Then, she married an executive from P&G who managed offices in southern China.

Because of the couple's unusual background, the American visa officer suspected that Ms. Zhang planned to enter the country illegally through a fake marriage. Her application was rejected.

“During the interview, the visa officer wanted to know the story of how we met and got married. They wanted specific details about our circumstances. I am so nervous and uncultured that I made mistakes when answering the questions. I couldn't say anything in English. So I was refused a visa,” said Ms. Zhang.

Ms. Zhang said the consulate told her that if she wanted to apply again she needed to provide more material to prove that her marriage was real, and show the consulate how she communicated with her husband.

The couple was very upset. How could they get the visa officer to believe them? Ms. Zhang's husband had lived in China for a long time, and knew enough Chinese for everyday communication. He could also write a few simple characters including his wife's name.

“When we communicated in our daily life, my wife would correct my pronunciation and teach me new words. I even learned how to speak in a Sichuan accent and use Sichuan slang,” Ms. Zhang's husband said. The two made a plan to make a video of their lives and give it to the visa officer as proof.

However, in the midst of the visa drama, Ms. Zhang's husband had to be hospitalized because of appendicitis. While he was in the hospital, his wife cared for him so carefully, that he was deeply moved. “I decided to write the visa officer a letter of explanation to show him why I chose this Chinese woman as my life companion.”

He wrote in his letter, “Every day, she makes meals for me to take to work. After dinner, we take walks, watch TV or work together to tutor her kids. I do not need a highly educated wife, she does not need to speak very much English. We have our own language that only we can understand. She is very simple in her life and education. Her children are kind and simple. With them, I am very happy.”

Her husband's letter was a total of nine pages. The heartfelt letter moved the visa officer and he issued Ms. Zhang a visa.  

Source: Wenxue City

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Keywords: China marriage visa China U.S. visa interview

32 Comments

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1

Sponge_Bob
comment|72455|1632030

These immigration laws is to protect Americans. So i agree with immigration officer. The couple need to show proof that the marriage is real. Simple a marriage document is not enough

Jul 25, 2016 12:50 Report Abuse

2

Gina84
comment|63911|1595950

Just got my CR-1 visa after 21 months. Interview goes like this: 1Who petition u? 2 wots his name? 3 how did u 2 meet? 4 from which website? 5 wot does he do? 6 do u recall his birthday? 7 wot r his parents' names? 8 wot do they do for a living? 9 wot r their names? 10 how old r they? 11 does ur husband have any sisters or brothers? 12 wots his sister's name? 13 where does she live? 14 when did u get married? 15 When did ur husband come visit u the 1st time? 16 how many times? 17 wot specific dates? 18 where does ur husband live in Austin? 19 did u bring ur old passport? 20 how old were u when studying in NZL? 21 how long were u there for? 22 wot do u do? 23 did u bring any photos? 24 who's this man in the photo w/ ur husband? 25 have u been to the States b4? 26 r u a member of Communist Party? 27 were u a member of Communist Party? 28 r u telling me the truth? Can't recall some other questions Window 19 asked. In by 9am, out by 10, feels like he's new& got other 2 VO assisting him the entire time.

Aug 12, 2015 10:48 Report Abuse

3

Sairaab
comment|61359|1582888

May be it is easy. because China is offering Green card.

Jun 14, 2015 13:27 Report Abuse

4

slide38
comment|61306|45322

This story is typical of an American trying to get a visa for a Chinese wife. My wife has tried two times for a visa, and been refused both times. We own a house in Wuxi, and I plan on retiring in China. Her English is ok, she has a rural background, but changed her residence to the city, many years ago. One thing, I should make clear is she that only wants a tourist visa, not a green card. I personally want to remain in China, this is my home now. We only want to visit my family. The bad thing is they don't give a reason for the refusal. Only that she is married to an American, so they think she will stay illegally. Now my wife is frustrated with the system and don't want to try again.

Jun 13, 2015 08:41 Report Abuse

5

ManGod
comment|61201|1586775

Most of these comments appear to be made by people wearing blinders who can not see the moral in the story or are totally uneducated regarding the US VISA process and the specific requirements of the US Consulate Office in Guangzhou. 1) The only US Consulate or Embassy who can grant a CR-1 or K-1 VISA to a Chinese National is the Guangzhou Consulate. 2) Guangzhou is the only US Consulate that requires 3 years of prior income proof for VISA (all the rest of the offices require only 1 year prior income verification) 3) Guangzhou also the highest rate of denied "marriage VISA's" in the world with approximately a 49% denial rate. 4) The majority of denials are due to missing or incorrectly answered documents and or failed interviews. 5) Proof of a valid relationship within a marriage goes beyond just presenting a few photos and a marriage license and the applicant and beneficiary are well aware of this before they apply. The single most disturbing fact of this process is the rate of denials based are arbitrary and biased according to many US Immigration Attorneys and support groups. I am very happily married to a Chinese woman. We were married in October 2014 in Shihezi Xingjian province. We have spent thousands just getting the necessary documentation for the CR-1 VISA and have just received the I-130 Authorization approval letter from USCIS. The next step is the interview, proof of marriage validity, and income verification in Guangzhou. We have every intention of providing the Consulate with all the necessary proofs, documents and medical history they request and require. As an American citizen, I too, have used the American Services branch of the US Embassy for various tasks and clarification of requirements along with the USCIS branch in Beijing. So before you speak about the process you should really educate yourself on the process; and if you despise the Chinese culture and their ethics so much....why are you even in China, surely not for the money as that would make you extremely bigoted to go along with your ignorance.

Jun 11, 2015 08:44 Report Abuse

6

LumeneJ
comment|61170|1589658

Why almost every chinese-foreigner couples wants to move out of china? Why can't they stay china then there's no problem. Is china not enough good to stay?

Jun 10, 2015 15:20 Report Abuse

7

The-Final-Say
comment|61179|233182

China is a very nice country to live in. The only problem with this country is that they do not have a policy in place for married couples where the expat spouse is entitled to earn while living here. One MUST have the work visa or else they cannot work. In a culture where men are still considered "bread winners" this causes a huge pressure. Not to say that immigration to countries like Canada and USA are any easier but the issue of a man providing for his family may be a deciding factor. I wish China would change this law to allow expat spouses to earn just like other countries. They fear we will take their jobs but if we take foreigner specific roles, we can actually create jobs and help kick into the social security here.

Jun 10, 2015 18:56 Report Abuse

8

LumeneJ
comment|61181|1589658

Ok, in the case when both already have jobs they still want to move out. I don't get it.

Jun 10, 2015 20:12 Report Abuse

9

Guest2781358
comment|62716|309039

Just my two cents but a lot of guys will not be okay with sitting unemployed whilst the wife is working, I know some people are okay with that but I for one like to contribute, I feel useless when I'm unemployed.

Jul 09, 2015 00:46 Report Abuse

10

The-Final-Say
comment|61155|233182

I understand why America is very thorough about who they let in the borders but sometimes they go a bit too far with their judging. Chinese are not likely to be using pressure cookers at marathons for anything except maybe giving runners some nice stew after the races. Chinese bring books and laptops to universities, not AR-15 assault rifles. I do not think a simple interview is enough to judge one's character, as if they were applying for a job or something. But the executive is smart, he did what must be done and fought for his love. I admire his effort and success. Congrats to the couple and I wish them a happy future.

Jun 10, 2015 10:53 Report Abuse

11

Guest2369108
comment|61147|263234

I wonder how same sex couples would fair in the immigration interview. Do you think the officers would be traditional bigots or uphold the US Government's support of same-sex marriage immigration....?

Jun 10, 2015 09:33 Report Abuse

12

knightly
comment|61087|85631

This story is obviously a modern twist on a homily to show how dedication in marriage can overcome bureaucracy. True love prevailed and the couple lived happily ever after... Of course Mrs peasant couldn't drive, couldn't communicate with anyone and got fat sitting on the coach all day eating bonbons and watching reruns of Dynasty but she was in the land of milk and honey and all her peasant friends back home were so envious. When her husband got killed in an seven car pile up on the over pass in peak hour she mourned dutifully but gleefully in the secret knowledge that she had she got everything a Chinese woman could possibly desire. Her life of bliss and ignorance was now complete. This is the modern day Chinese fairy tale.

Jun 09, 2015 10:03 Report Abuse

13

sorrel
comment|61042|246226

this article smells strongly. Why be coy about naming the American involved if it is true? We all know that Chinese news outlets are not shy about naming people, and they are hardly going to 'respect' someones privacy on an issue like this.

Jun 08, 2015 20:08 Report Abuse

14

royceH
comment|61060|27883

The same. I mean, what's really real? Not much, if you ask me. But, we read it.

Jun 08, 2015 21:31 Report Abuse

15

Guest2781358
comment|61062|309039

I agree with you sorrel, something's fishy

Jun 08, 2015 22:30 Report Abuse

16

fada
comment|61032|99977

Wait, so you used corruption to get around the system designed to do exactly what it did?

Jun 08, 2015 17:48 Report Abuse

17

fada
comment|61059|99977

You are ridiculously angry. Maybe thats why the consulate said no in the first place, cause they didnt want you bacK on american soil

Jun 08, 2015 21:29 Report Abuse

18

fada
comment|61068|99977

Also, why do you think corruption is limited to bribes?

Jun 08, 2015 22:52 Report Abuse

19

Guest388182
comment|61080|43131

Wow! neoshtreacher can spell troll!

Jun 09, 2015 07:51 Report Abuse

20

Chairman_Cow
comment|61019|310610

She must be one hell of a lay!

Jun 08, 2015 09:38 Report Abuse

21

silverbutton1
comment|61018|227751

Couples marrying one another with a huge language gap baffles me. I'd never do it, but for this chap and his wife... whatever floats your boat, and GL.

Jun 08, 2015 09:22 Report Abuse

22

royceH
comment|61055|27883

I agree with both your sentiments.

Jun 08, 2015 21:23 Report Abuse

23

Samsara
comment|61011|239770

"While he was in the hospital, his wife cared for him so carefully, that he was deeply moved." I want to vomit. Can someone please teach Chinese people how to write (i.e. not sentimental shit). It would be of great benefit to their TV dramas and "news" stories.

Jun 08, 2015 00:50 Report Abuse

24

fada
comment|61012|99977

I know, i get sick in My throat every time i read a chinese article, its like a six year old just finished watching a disney princess show and then forgot how to write

Jun 08, 2015 02:54 Report Abuse

25

royceH
comment|61054|27883

I've been trying to do that for 5 years. It's difficult, and quite a challenge. I'm prepared to admit that 95% of my efforts have resulted in failure. But I try nevertheless. You know, when a student hands me something that is actually English...I chubby up.

Jun 08, 2015 21:18 Report Abuse