Immigration Law

Immigration law questions? Ask an immigration lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Basic Travel Allowance from South Africa to USA. Have dual…

Customer Question
Basic Travel Allowance from...

Basic Travel Allowance from South Africa to USA. Have dual citizenship for Mexico and USA. Traveling on Mexico Passport.

Lawyer's Assistant: What is your official status? Do you have any pending applications or petitions with USCIS?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a lawyer yet?

No

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Being told by Immigration at airport in Johannesburg to pay the Basic Travel Allowance or can't fly.

Submitted: 8 months ago.Category: Immigration Law
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Answered in 5 minutes by:
11/24/2017
Immigration Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 31,867
Experience: 18 years of criminal litigation experience.
Verified

Hi,

I'm Zoey.

I've reviewed your post. Please be patient as I may need to research for you, and it also takes time to compose and type a reply.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Immigration Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

I'm sorry to tell you that your online romance is a scammer. There is no such thing as a BTA. It is a ruse you only find in online romance scams. It sounds sensible enough so that you want to believe it, but it's just a means of getting a couple thousand dollars from you. And then, she's not even going to get on the plane.

The scam is so popular that the US government warns against this on the Department of State website. Their warning says this:

"Beware of anyone who requests funds for a BTA, or Basic Travel Allowance, as a requirement to depart another country for the United States. There is no such thing as a BTA. In other cases, your Internet friend will claim to need a travel allowance, or travel money, to be able to travel to the United States. Again, there is no such requirement under U.S. law."

This woman is a scammer. She has asked you for the something that the US government warns that means she is a fraud. Don't send her any more money. She won't be on the plane. She will have an emergency such as a so-called arrest at Customs or an accident en route to the airport for which you will be asked to pay even more money and she'll never get an inch closer to the plane.

Cease all contact with her. She is not who, what or where she says she is. She's a group of thieves, generally teenage boys, hiding behind the photo of a sexy woman and a fake profile and looking only to steal your money.Report your scammer to your police, the FBI at IC3.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov

I know that you would rather believe her rather than me or the US government. So if you have photos of her that you can upload to this question thread and documents she has sent you, I will be happy to look them over and show you that they are fake.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
the idea that my friends might be blackmailed is not a consideration? I have found these same comments that you right. I was looking for more than this.
Immigration Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

Sorry but there's no blackmail here. If you google "Basic Travel Allowance" you'll see nothing but scam warnings. The reason that everyone is saying what you've heard is that it's true. Here's the quote I gave you which is on the US Government's own website.

I already offered to look over photos and documents that you have gotten from her. If you are really looking for more, then please upload any pictures and documents she has sent you, so that I can check out whether they are fake.

The BTA, however IS fake. Even the US government says so and it doesn't get more official than that.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
There was not an offer to review documents. I will not any further services from you. I already had these answers and want a legal opinion.
Immigration Lawyer: Zoey, JD, Lawyer replied 8 months ago

You've got a legal opinion. I've been practicing law since I passed the bar in 1989. I also did offer to look over photos and documents. It's the in the last two sentences I wrote on my full reply to this thread.

However, I'll be happy to opt out of this question so that you can get another opinion from another lawyer.

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Thank you for your time. I ultimately want to look at the possibility of the immigration scamming also.
Immigration Lawyer: Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer replied 8 months ago
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,050
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
Verified

Sir, that is a very unfair reply to my colleague suggesting she is immigration scamming!

http://ghana.usembassy.gov/romance_scam.html

We work hard, we have professional licenses at stake. Your Ghanaian love interest is using you. You will see. And the funny part is you are most likely communicating with a MAN!!!!!!!!!

Judith Ludwic

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
Judith,This is the perfect example of the issue I have raised. The question I had was not regarding the immigration lawyer scamming but rather the Immigration service itself. And the country is South Africa, not Ghandi and I am a woman not a man (never stated either in my original questions). I was able myself to find information online that has been provided by you and your colleague. That is my issue.
Immigration Lawyer: Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer replied 8 months ago

First, I want to thank you and tell you I appreciate your clarification that you were not suggesting JA or the expert of scamming. We truly do this to help people.

Your gentleman friend as a US citizen can contact the US Embassy Citizen Services and tell them they are being held hostage and not allowed to leave SA. That is the job of consular officers, to be of assistance to it's citizens in foreign countries.

https://za.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/

It doesn't matter what country they tell you they are from. This is organized crime which generally originates in West Africa. The communications are generally initiated by some gender other than the person being scammed it is men who have these organized networks and they pull off pictures from the internet and say they are the ones in love with you.

If you are saying that the immigration service in the country is demanding $ it is not. Again, they create paper, phone calls, IMs, chat to saying they are from immigration but they are only part of the organized crime network and it is not a t from the government.

So if you think it is an immigration officer from Joburg making the demand it is not.

This is my legal opinion, but you can easily enough call the Home Affairs office and ask them if SA demands BTA:

For residents of Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia:

The South African Consulate General in New York City
Attention: Home Affairs Section
333 East 38th Street, 9th Floor
New York NY 10016
Tel:(###) ###-####br />Fax:(###) ###-####br />Email: *****@******.***
Website: http://www.southafrica-newyork.net/consulate

Visa, Immigration and Passport Sections are open for applications and inquiries from Monday to Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 pm only.

For residents of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin:

The South African Consulate General in Chicago
Attention: Home Affairs Section
200 South Michigan Avenue, 6th Floor
Chicago IL 60604
Tel.(###) ###-####br />Fax:(###) ###-####br />Email: *****@******.***
Website: www.southafricachicago.com

For residents of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming:

The South African Consulate General in Los Angeles
Attention: Home Affairs Section***** Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Tel.(###) ###-####br />Fax:(###) ###-####br />Email: *****@******.***
Website: www.dirco.gov.za/losangeles/

For residents of Alabama, District of Colombia, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands:

The South African Embassy in Washington, DC*****NW
Washington, DC 20008
Tel:(###) ###-####br />Fax:(###) ###-####br />Email: *****@******.***
Website: http://www.saembassy.org

It will be easier to reach a human at one of the consulates above than calling the Embassy in WDC.

If they still do not convince you, pay the BTA and then this is most likely what will happen:

They pull at your heartstrings by telling stories of hardship or tragedy that they have suffered in their life. At some point they want to come visit. They may ask you to send money for a passport and/or plane ticket. They may tell you that they have money, perhaps even that they are wealthy, but their money is tied up in gold or something like that, perhaps they tie it into a tragedy or something. Then the next step is when they supposedly have the passport and plane ticket, they suddenly come up with this Basic Travel Allowance or (BTA) which is supposedly to show authorities that they have enough money to fund their trip. This is a lie. There is no such thing. They ask you to send that money so they can put it into a bank account to show the authorities. This is just another method to steal money from you. Then the next part of the scam would be when they are supposed to arrive. You wait for them at the airport and they never show up. A few days go by, you get extremely worried, none of your methods of communication work, and then suddenly a "friend" or "relative" of the scammer contacts you to let you know that she has been detained/arrested by authorities for carrying something illegal, I have heard of unregistered gold and they say it would have been a gift for you (perhaps to pay you back for the money you sent). The friend or relative of the scammer then asks for you to send money to bribe or pay fines in order to have the scammer released. From there, I have not heard of how else they are able to get money out of people. Of course there are variations to the scheme, but that's pretty much how it goes.

I will gladly offer to review the documents for you. Specifically I want to see a copy of their US visa. I can tell in a heartbeat if it is a visa created with software or if it is a genuine visa foil issued by the US.

And in fact, I am going to offer to do this for you at a 50% discount of what I generally charge for document review because I hate to see people hurt, trust me we are not in this for the money. I cannot even know your name or personal contact info unless you accept the offer and then a special box appears where I give you my personal email and only you and I see this.

I'm here if you need me but if our legal opinions above are not satisfactory then my legal opinion on the bona fides of the visa should help. There are certain characteristics on the visa foil that only an experienced immigration lawyer or a consular officer would be able to spot.

Judith

Ask Your Own Immigration Law Question
Was this answer helpful?

How JustAnswer works

step-image
Describe your issueThe assistant will guide you
step-image
Chat 1:1 with an immigration lawyerLicensed Experts are available 24/7
step-image
100% satisfaction guaranteeGet all the answers you need
Ask Judith Ludwic Your Own Question
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 30,050
30,050 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.

Judith Ludwic is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem.

TonyApopka, FL

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Ely

Ely

Counselor at Law

4,009 satisfied customers

Private practice in several areas, including immigration

Wilton A. Person

Wilton A. Person

Immigration Lawyer

3,597 satisfied customers

Knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer.

Law Girl

Law Girl

Lawyer

451 satisfied customers

My law firm practices immigration law.

Gintare Grigaite

Gintare Grigaite

Immigration Attorney

186 satisfied customers

Expert Immigration Attorney

TheLeadCounsel

TheLeadCounsel

Immigration Attorney

17 satisfied customers

Immigration and Naturalization

Charlotte E. Viener, Esq.

Charlotte E. Viener, Esq.

Lawyer

12 satisfied customers

Over 10+ years handling all aspects of Immigration Law.

Guillermo Senmartin

Guillermo Senmartin

Immigration Attorney

51,402 satisfied customers

Principal Attorney at Guillermo J. Senmartin, P.A.

< Previous | Next >

Related Immigration Law Questions
He thinks he can't. I was talking to him tonight. He was
He thinks he can't. I was talking to him tonight. He was suppose to come home on March 2 but we had a misunderstanding. Now he tells me their belated. Can they still b used… read more
Jenny Imm Law
Jenny Imm Law
Immigration Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
I am an American born citizen, married a Filipina (going on
I am an American born citizen, married a Filipina (going on 12 years) who now has a dual citizenship (Philippine/USA) Can I obtain a dual citizenship? (US/Philippine) … read more
Jenny Imm Law
Jenny Imm Law
Immigration Attorney
Doctoral Degree
4 satisfied customers
Can an undocumented immigrant travel from San Diego
Can an undocumented immigrant travel from San Diego California to West Hartford Connecticut via airplane?… read more
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Immigration Lawyer
J.D.
30,050 satisfied customers
My son is 24 years old and was born in the U. S. as I was. s
My son is 24 years old and was born in the U. S. as I was. His mother was born in Mexico and obtained U. S. citizenship some 30 years ago and has a U. S. passport. Recently she obtained a Mexican pass… read more
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Immigration Lawyer
J.D.
30,050 satisfied customers
Hi there, I am a New Zealander living in South Africa, my ex-
Hi there, I am a New Zealander living in South Africa, my ex- partner (South African Passport is living in the USA with our 4 year old son (new Zealand Passport) on an H visa. My 15 year old daughter … read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
51,402 satisfied customers
Hi There, .My name isXXXXX am a New Zealander residing
Hi There, .My name isXXXXX am a New Zealander residing in South Africa. My South African girlfriend and I have 4 year old son, who is travelling on a NZ passport She moved to the US last March on a J … read more
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Immigration Lawyer
J.D.
30,050 satisfied customers
Can being deported from South Africa affect my fiancee from
Can being deported from South Africa affect my fiancee from travelling into the US? If so, is there anything that could be done?… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
51,402 satisfied customers
Dear sir , Im a refugee of USA before 3 years ago and
Dear sir , I'm a refugee of USA before 3 years ago and I hold US travel document I traveled outside US to Netherlands for 2 weeks and when I wanted to return to US they didn't allow me to travel to US… read more
Franklin
Franklin
Immigration Attorney
621 satisfied customers
ghana $3000 $4500 to show you when flying to the USA
Is their a $3000 $4500 to show you when flying to the USA that you can care for yourself from Ghana to the USA… read more
Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD
Lawyer
31,867 satisfied customers
A.Dual citizenship country of birth USA , country of residence
A.Dual citizenship country of birth USA , country of residence is Grenada . Intended dual citizenship is Grenada, is it legal to hold dual citizenship? We are told that is is not prohibited but is not… read more
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Immigration Lawyer
J.D.
30,050 satisfied customers
Hello, I was born and grew up in Japan with a South Korean
Hello, I was born and grew up in Japan with a South Korean passport and a Japanese permanent resident status. I am currently living in the US, acquired my permanent resident status here in the USA in … read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers
My Children have 2 passports USA & Namibia. How do they enter
My Children have 2 passports USA & Namibia. How do they enter the USA (on holiday) knowing they have to return to Namibia with thier Namibian Passport? I can not get a US visa in thier Namibian Passpo… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
51,402 satisfied customers
My father was born in Oaxaca Mexico in 1902. He was also a
My father was born in Oaxaca Mexico in 1902. He was also a USA citizen later in life. I am his daughter and wanting to obtain dual citizenship, USA and Mexico. What is the process to obtain a mexican … read more
N Cal Atty
N Cal Atty
Doctoral Degree
59 satisfied customers
I was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. I met
I was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. I met and married my US American husband 35 years ago and my children were born in Florida in 1977 and 1978. Our family moved to Australia in 1988 f… read more
Guillermo Senmartin
Guillermo Senmartin
Immigration Attorney
Juris Doctor
51,402 satisfied customers
I am a missionary in Malawi, Africa working under my Temporary
I am a missionary in Malawi, Africa working under my Temporary Employment Permit, which is current. Five years ago I adopted a Malawian orphan girl, who has been coming with me to the States under her… read more
socrateaser
socrateaser
1,031 satisfied customers
I and my ex-wife desire to bring our 9 month son into the US
I and my ex-wife desire to bring our 9 month son into the US - WITHOUT accepting/establishing him as a US citizen - from her native country of Ukraine where chose he be born. We are both US citizens; … read more
Rebecca White
Rebecca White
Partner
J.D.
768 satisfied customers
My husband has a Fijian passport and an American green card.
My husband has a Fijian passport and an American green card. He has traveled in and out of the US, to Fiji, Central and South America. Recently he was traveling to So. Africa, and he was stopped, and … read more
Judith Ludwic
Judith Ludwic
Immigration Lawyer
J.D.
30,050 satisfied customers
My girlfriend is a Chinese National visiting me from Beijing.
My girlfriend is a Chinese National visiting me from Beijing. She arrived to San Francisco on March 19, 2009. Her USA Visa was issued to her in Beijing on March 11, 2009. It expires on March 9, 2010. … read more
BizMatters
BizMatters
J.D.
666 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x