Canadians are accustomed to having free access to the U.S. when visiting. However, when there is a romantic relationship with a U.S. citizen, visiting privileges can stop.
Below is an example of a couple who innocently thought they could simply move the Canadian to the U.S. to be married. This violates the rules and can result in a bar from the U.S.
I met my fiance online over 8 months ago and we got along from the 1st day. I went up to meet her last week in Vancouver and she wanted to move here with me. We packed up all her things and headed for the border. The border agent pulled us aside and grilled us for over 2 hrs. They said she should have had a K1 visa. Earlier, she stayed in the U.S. with a friend for 14 months. She didn’t know that she could only stay for 6 months. We want to be together and want help. We’re not sure if she is barred. We want to proceed with the k1 visa but know they will ask if she has ever been here and how long. We’re afraid she will be denied. Please help. Neither us are rich. Thank you very much.
Richard, Thank you. It is not clear whether she is barred based on what you wrote. There is the possibility of a bar for overstay, but there is likely a good argument she is not barred. Canadians have visa free entry to the U.S. and there is no time limit on a stay. If she entered without a visa, then she is very likely not barred for overstay. (If she entered with a visa, I need to know the type of visa and some details in her passport.)
However, a problem arises when a Canadian stays so long it looks as if she is a resident, not a tourist. If it appears that a Canadian is not just visiting, then a border agent can accuse the Canadian of violating the terms of the visa free status. In this case, there is the possibility of a bar based on summary deportation at the border. A border agent has the power to summarily deport and bar a foreigner. Whether a bar exists depends on what the border agent did. I would like to screen the case to rule out this possibility.
Your fiance can very likely immigrate on a K1 fiance visa. You are not finding an easy solution because each case is different. There is not enough information about her status on her prior stay or what occurred during the recent attempt to enter the U.S. under the Canadian visa free program. A phone discussion is required. When calling, it would help to have a copy of her passport pages and any documentation provided her by a border agent. It will also help to have appx. dates of entry and exit as well as manner of entry (car or plane).
I realize you simply did not take her immigration matters into account. Even so, the U.S. requires that people know the laws and follow them. It is not easy to gain the sympathy of immigration officers. They are trained to enforce the rules. When you call, I can help work out an immigration plan.