Can I Get a US Visa to Help My Pregnant Daughter?
Many people want to invite their parents or in-laws to visit the US on a tourist visa to help them when they are expecting a baby. However, it is important to note that visiting the US to assist with a pregnancy or new baby may affect your ability to get approved for a US tourist visa.
While it is not true that you will definitely not get a visa if you say you’re going to the US to help your daughter or daughter-in-law with a pregnancy, it does reduce your chances. There are many people who have still received a US tourist visa after mentioning pregnancy as the reason, but the situation must be handled carefully to be successful.
This article aims to provide guidance to people preparing themselves to travel to the US to assist with a pregnancy. Please note that this website is not for or against using this reason to invite relatives to the US. We have no bias or personal opinion on the issue. The guidance is not meant to be anti-immigrant, anti-family, or anything of the sort. It is strictly provided from the perspective of US immigration law for a tourist visa.
Why American Culture Matters with Tourist Visas
In the US, family is defined much more narrowly than in other countries and cultures. An American family is considered the parent(s) and their minor children under 18 years of age. For most purposes, grandparents and in-laws are not considered part of the immediate family.
This is an important distinction, because it influences how American culture regards pregnancy. In the US, most females get six to eight weeks of maternity leave from their job. After that period, they are expected to report back to work. Their parents or in-laws do not generally stay with the family to assist in delivery, or care for the new child. There is simply no concept of a joint family, where the new mother’s parents or in-laws would assist in childcare. In fact, many single parents in the US deliver and raise children all by themselves.
From the US perspective, it does not seem necessary for a mother or mother-in-law to be present during or after the delivery of a new child.
Babysitting and Maid Work on a Tourist Visa
If your relatives are visiting the US to take care of you and the baby, you won’t be hiring the services of a daycare provider. Therefore, you are considered to be depriving US workers of jobs. Working on a tourist visa is not allowed, so your relatives babysitting is considered work. Babysitting is considered a job and the baby sitter is considered to be working, whether the person is getting paid for it or not. In other words, the grandmother is working for free, which is not allowed.
If your relatives are helping you to take care of housework, you are depriving US workers of their maid jobs.
If the intention of the relatives is to indeed help with babysitting and the housework, many of them end up extending their stay and want to come frequently and stay excessively. All of these factors are against the actual intentions of a tourist visa, and the consular officers know this. That is why it is a bad idea to mention a pregnancy as the reason to visit the US.
The consular officer is looking to improve the US economy through people spending money on tourism and shopping, rather than a loss to the economy in terms of babysitting and maid work. There is also an additional concern about unauthorized work.
Arguments in Favor
It is completely understood that no matter what babysitter or nanny you hire, she can not provide proper moral and emotional support, and will not be present 24/7 with you. This is where the mother or mother-in-law can provide what you need. If the infant is awake all night or wakes up a dozen times, you are not going be able to use the daycare service providers for that. Close relatives like a mother or mother-in-law cannot be compared with professional providers.
It is also understood that no matter what cleaner or cook you can hire, it is not the same as family members living together in a joint family. It simply can not be compared with.
However, such cultural and social matters have no place in US immigration law for a tourist visa.
A tourist visa is primarily for tourism and visiting family. It is best to maintain that as the reason for applying for a tourist visa. There is absolutely nothing wrong in spending quality time with the family, including the newly arrived baby. You would like to share the joy of the new arrival in your family. It allows the grandparents to develop family bonds with the grandchild and to give their cultural values to them.
If the consular officer asks whether your daughter/daughter-in-law is pregnant or asks about their kids and their ages or any related questions, you can not lie. Otherwise, it will be a major problem, your visa will be rejected, and you may have a very difficult time getting the visa again in the future.
Even if the question of babysitting arises during the interview, the parents should maintain the position that babysitting may be considered a job in the US, but not in their country. Spending quality time with grandchildren should be allowed and it is invaluable family time that can not be measured in terms of money. In our culture, it is customary to provide all types of support and be present during and after delivery because the expectant mother is generally nervous and scared, being inexperienced with this. That is the reason it is customary in our country for the expectant mother to go to her mother’s house for the first delivery. If the expectant mother cannot do that due to work, career issues, herself, or her husband, it is the duty of mother or mother-in-law to travel to the US and help them out.
Also, while staying in the same place, it should not be considered a job, if the visitors help occasionally to clean the house or cook food for everyone. You should firmly say that you are visiting your family as prospective grandparents, not as a daycare provider, cook or healthcare employee.
In other words, you should stress that your primary intention is to visit the US is for tourism. If you end up occasionally helping with household matters anyway, that is not the primary intention for visiting the US.
Pregnancy or even high-risk pregnancy is not a valid reason for getting an emergency visa appointment.
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