Many people would like to invite their parents or in-laws because they are expecting a baby. They would like their mother, mother-in-law, sister or similar close relatives to come and help with various aspects of the pregnancy.
This article tries to provide guidance to such people in preparing themselves for it. Please note that this web site is absolutely not against or for using such reasons for inviting relatives. We have no bias or personal opinion on this. The guidance provided is not meant to be anti-immigrant, anti-family, or anything like that. It is strictly provided from the perspective of the U.S. immigration law for a visitors visa.
It is not true that if you say that you are going to the U.S. to help your daughter or daughter-in-law with a pregnancy, you will definitely not obtain a visa. However, the chances of getting a visitors visa in such cases are greatly reduced. There are many people who have received a visa even after mentioning the pregnancy as the reason, however, you would have to handle the situation very carefully in order to succeed.
In order to understand it better, you should consider the difference between American and other cultures. In the U.S., the family is much more narrowly defined as the spouse and the minor children under the age of 18 years. For most purposes, parents or in-laws are not considered as part of the immediate family.
Many females who work get six to eight weeks of maternity leave and are expected to report back to work after that. A mother or mother-in-law (or generally parents or in-laws) does not stay with the married son’s or daughter’s family. There is no concept of a joint family. Most mothers or mothers-in-law would not stay with the daughter or daughter-in-law during or after the delivery. Moreover, there are many single parents who deliver and raise the children themselves.
Therefore, from the U.S. perspective, it does not seem necessary or mandatory for a mother or mother-in-law to be present during or after the delivery.
Baby Sitting and Maid Work
If your relatives are visiting the U.S. to take care of you and the baby, you would not be hiring the services of a daycare provider. Therefore, you are considered to be depriving the U.S. workers of their work. 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 the U.S. workers of their cleaning job.
If the intention of the relatives is to indeed help with babysitting and the housework, many of them would end up extending their stay and would want to come frequently and stay excessively. All of these factors are against the actual intentions of the visitors visa and the consular officers already know this. That is why it is a bad idea to mention a pregnancy as the reason to visit the U.S.
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The consular officer is looking to improve the U.S. 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 baby sitter 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 that mother or mother-in-law can provide that which 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 thing 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 the U.S. immigration law for a visitors visa.
A tourist visa is primarily for tourism and meeting 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 also 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 baby-sitting arises during the interview, the parents should maintain the position that babysitting may be considered a job in the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 health care employee.
In other words, you should stress that your primary intention is to visit the U.S. is for tourism. If you end up occasionally helping with household matters anyway, that is not the primary intention to go to the U.S.
Pregnancy or even high-risk pregnancy is not a valid reason for getting an emergency appointment.
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