What are my options for getting a Belarusian guy into the U.S.?

He’s about 24 and a dude, so I can’t marry him. He’s in the Belarusian army right now, but wants to join the American army. Does the U.S. army take foreigners?

I think America has restricted immigration from Belarus, so the only way I know he can get a green card is through a lottery. Is there any other option available for him or is his only shot to win the lottery?

In case you don’t know anything about living conditions in Belarus, I’ll give you a brief rundown. The average income per person is about $300 a month. Furniture, clothes and electronics cost about twice as much as they do in America and they don’t even have the latest brands. Plus, unless you live in Minsk (their capitol), there is nothing for you to do. You also have no money for the few clubs and restaurants available to you. Most kids spend there time online, using a 56k modem, the fasted speed available to them.

I hope you can see why the kid wants to leave.

Any help?

Does he have any martial arts background? Andrei Arlovski is Belarusian, and now fights in the US. A friend of mine talks to some of the UFC fighters via their MySpace pages and other online sites. Perhaps Andrei would be kind enough to respond to an email about getting one of his fellow countrymen out of there. It’s a super long shot, but I don’t see why it’s not worth at least a try.

Has he looked into getting a visa through the US embassy in Minsk?


I know that foreigners can join the US army (Tripler told me), but they cannot rise to officer status without becoming US citizens.

Would working as a local for the US government or a US company be an in?

Maybe you could hire him as your housekeeper? I think it’s easier to get a work visa.

As far as joining the military:

I’d definitely call a recruiter though. I find it hard to believe a citizen of just anywhere can enlist. We’re not the French Foreign Legion.

His dad applied three times with no success. They don’t give you a reason for refusing a visa so there is little reason to think a fourth try will work. It’s $100 a try and a two hour drive to the embassy, so you can’t really try a lot.

The US Armed Forces accepts Resident Aliens for enlistment. The prospective enlistee must first be admitted to the US on an immigrant visa, though. Besides being restricted from being Commissioned or Warrant Officers, they may not be promoted or advanced to Enlisted paygrade E-9 without Service Secretary approval. No, our Armed Forces are not the French Foreign Legion–which, by the way isn’t what the popular perception of it is either–however, we do accept foreign nationals who are Resident in the US. It’s a good program which benefits the Enlistee, the Armed Forces, and the country as a whole.

What some people consider to be an automatic path of entry into the US–marriage to a US citizen–is not. The prospective immigrant must still pass a background check. Marriage merely removes the prospective immigrant from the quota line. If there is a disqualifying factor (such as being on parole for murder), the person will still be ineligible for immigration.

Bring him over as a Nanny or camp counselor and try to get him in the army? That might work. It would cost you $215 to find out.


More far fetched does he do anything useful to the U.S. in the Belarussian Army? Does he have any special or unusual information or skills the Government may be interested in?

Yes they do. All of the branches of the US Armed Forces accept foreign enlistees. Immigrations statistics and the Green Card issue aside, he’ll have to go through a routine security/background check, and assuming he’s not found to be a threat, he’s good to go. As I did mention to Sunspace the other night, there are plenty of enlistees that use the US Military as a way towards permanent citizenship. I swore in and reenlisted several of them myself.

Now officers must be citizens. One good friend of mine was a Canadian-born citizen by birth (his father is British–currently rebuilds Spitfires from the war in Colorado! :cool: ), and was naturalized before/while going to school in Colorado.

Beyond that, I would talk to a recruiter, as well as someone from Immigration & Naturalization. Write down their comments on paper, and then hold both sheets together up to the light and see what lines up–having worked for the government, I know that nobody seems to know the actual way to do things, so take both sides with a grain of salt. :smiley:

I even read a story of a former Soviet conscript being naturalized and coming into the Air Force as a lieutenant.

So I guess besides teaching him Arabic and contacting Belarusian athletes, talking to a recruiter might be my best shot.

I should be able to find one hanging around my college campus soon enough.

Talking to a military recruiter won’t do your friend much good if your friend’s not already admitted to the US as an immigrant.

Has he considered contacting the U.S. Embassy and asking if anyone there is interested in what he knows about the Belarussian army? Perhaps they know someone in Belarus who would be willing to arrange a trade of sorts – an expedited visa in exchange for a series of quiet but detailed interviews in a windowless building in scenic northern Virginia.

After that, I imagine getting him into the Army wouldn’t be a problem.

How about finding a female who would be willing to marry him?

How about a sex change so you can marry?

Do Belarusians need a special tourist visa to visit the US? Most of the people I know who are in his situation (not from Belarus, but equally hard up places), just came here as tourists and never left.

It ain’t legal, but it’s better than what they came from.

Almost certainly. Citizens of Poland do. As mentioned above, it requires a $100 non-refundable application fee. He would also have to prove that he has sufficient ties to his home country to ensure his return. This can include showing he has a job, family, or sufficient assets in the country. A friend from India was required to show he had $10,000 in the bank.

Uncle Sam makes an assumption that when you apply for a visa you are trying to emigrate. The burden of proof is upon your friend to show that he is leaving behind enough that he will want to return.

So if he has a wife, children, significant property that all counts in his favor. When my in-laws came over to this country for a visit, they were told that having evidence that you have traveled elsewhere and return home is a plus. So prior to applying for a visa, they went on package trips to Spain and Italy.

But I will tell you that a young, single guy with no apparent attachments will have a very difficult turn at getting a visa. I don’t know what he submitted for the previous three applications, but the embassy must have determined that he did not meet this burden of proof.

There are somewhat underhanded means that one of which someone has already alluded to, but I won’t recommend anything like that.

One thing that might help is a copy of orders from his Belarussian army commander stating that he is expected back at an army base on such and such date.

Of course, this will only help for a tourist visa, not for permanent immigration.

Belarus is far better off than Georgia (not the US state) was when I lived there. We only had electricity 6 hours a day and the average wage was about $30/month.

Almost evey Georgian I met was in one way or another trying to move to the West. Does your friend even have a passport… in Georgia, you had to have connections and money to get one, tho I am sure it is better now. Perhaps he could get admitted to a university, get a job and eventually become a citizen?

A common way for the rich to “sneak” into the US is getting a student visa. He registers into whatever classes he needs to (I think he has to be a full time student) and thus gets a few years to figure out a better plan (marrying an American, getting a job, etc). It has the additional advantage that, if he does it smartly, he ends up with some kind of degree on something from a US institution that will help him to get a job.

Getting a student visa, though, is not easy at all. You need wads of money to convince the US that you can support yourself while you study (the visa won’t let you work, except for very minor crap arranged through your school), and that you will want to go back home.

Still, with a student visa, you can stay in the US for longer periods than with a tourist visa.

For a first time tourist visa, expect them to ask you what your plans are and give you a single entry visa that expires in a few weeks. After several of those, you start getting better visas, but I don’t believe that such a long process is what your friend has in mind.