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Global Love and Relationships- Immigration and Bringing your Life Partner to the United States

The internet has changed the way we “do life”.  Amongst one of the greatest changes, is the way we socialize and form new relationships.  Today nearly 50% of couples who marry initially made a connection on line.  Many U.S. Citizens are expanding their horizons to build relationships with individuals from other countries.

If a U.S. citizen desires to bring his or her fiance to the United States, this requires patience and planning from an immigration standpoint.  There are several considerations and steps involved.

First, a foreign national from a visa waiver country, such as England, Australia, or Japan must consider opting for a K-1 visa.  A foreign national who is not from a visa waiver country needs to insure their immigration intent is very clear before entering the U.S. If the intent is to marry before entering the United States, they will also need to have a K-1 visa approved for travel.  However, other options are available if both the U.S. citizen and the foreign national fiancé now want to marry and both are already in the United States. It is important to consult with an immigration attorney before marrying, in the later case, to ensure there are no adverse immigration consequences.

Travel back and forth for foreign nationals from visa waiver countries to visit their fiancé or boyfriend/girlfriend can present unique problems with Customs Border and Patrol (“CBP”).  Frequent visits by the foreign national fiancé will eventually be stopped as CBP tends to believe that the visa waiver program is being misused.

Generally, the steps for acquiring a K-1 visa for individuals from visa waiver countries or standard visa countries are the same.  First, an I-129F petition must be approved here in the United States by the U.S. Citizen filing.  Once the case is approved, the National Visa Center sends the case for processing at the respective consulate or embassy.  To ensure faster processing at the consulate it is important to be aware of the information needed in advance such as police clearance reports.

To have a K-1 visa approved requires demonstrating a clear plan to marry, evidence of  bona fide relationship, and complying with the U.S. federal regulations.  For further questions you may contact us at (703)955.7998 or (202)296.0122.

Glendia Rice-Mondesir

Attorney-at-law

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