(This article is meant for general information only. Prior to making any decisions we highly recommend you contact an attorney with substantial experience in immigration law.)
Although this article deals primarily with the laws of the United States as they relate to immigration, some of this information will apply to many other countries. Thus, even if you do not reside in the US, you may find some of the information relative.
We are asked time and time again, “Why can' t I just send her plane fare and have her come over to visit me?” Many men are under the mistaken impression that it is her country that is holding her back. Actually, it' s the INS and United States Immigration Policy that dictates how and when she can come into the country. If the woman is residing in Russia, the Ukraine or any South American country, she needs no special permission from her government to travel to the US, or any other country for that matter - she is free to come and go as she pleases.
In order for anyone from Russia, the Ukraine, or most South American countries to enter the US, they must first obtain a US Visa. There are many different types of Visas available, Work Visas, Student Visas, Fiancée Visas, Tourist Visas, etc. etc. For our purposes we are going to focus on the Tourist Visa and the Fiancée Visa.
The Tourist Visa process is much simpler and faster than the Fiancée Visa process, as a matter of fact it only takes one day. All that is involved is an interview and a decision is made right there on the spot as to whether or not to issue the visa. The problem lies in the fact that Tourist Visas can be very difficult to obtain for many Russian, Ukrainian, and South American residents. They must first prove that they will return back from the United States per the terms of the visa. While this is difficult, it is not impossible. The consulate will look at many factors such as the travel history of the person applying for the visa, ties to the community, employment, and children, among many others. It has been our experience that most women applying for a Tourist Visa are denied. This is especially true in the case of women coming to the United States in order to build a relationship with a man. In these cases the Fiancée Visa is the more appropriate visa to use. The! Fiancée Visa is an immigrant visa while a Tourist Visa is not. There are also potential problems with the woman applying for and receiving a Tourist Visa, and then marrying while here on the Tourist Visa. Therefore, if you are considering a long term relationship and marriage, we recommend using the Fiancée Visa over the others.
The Fiancée Visa is intended as an immigrant visa for those wishing to marry. It allows for the woman to travel to the US and stay for a period of 90 days, during which time she must either marry the person who petitioned for her to come over, or return to her country. One of the requirements of the Fiancée Visa is that there must have been a face-to-face meeting prior to applying for the visa. This means that you must actually meet, in person, and cannot just apply for a fiancée visa with someone you have been writing to but have never met.
The Fiancée Visa process is fairly straightforward. Once you meet and both decide to go forward, there are certain forms that must be filled out by both parties. The man must then file the paperwork with one of the four regional service centers, here in the US, depending on your place of residence. The service centers do vary in the time they take to process the paperwork. At the time of this writing the process times are running anywhere from 14 days to 4 months, depending on the service center. Once it is approved from the service center, the woman is contacted from the appropriate US embassy (for Russia it' s Moscow, in the Ukraine it' s Warsaw, Poland) and a package with complete instructions is sent to her. She will have to do a few things prior to her interview, such as have a medical test done and a police background check. Once she has accomplished these items she will have her interview and, in most cases, will be issued the K-1 or Fiancée Visa. If she has chi! ldren under the age of 21, she can include them in the process, they will receive a K-2 Visa.
The Fiancée Visa is a wonderful tool and one we highly recommend. It allows time (90 days) for both of you to get to know each other better and for her to see what life is really like here in the US and with you. It' s an immigrant visa and, unlike the tourist visa, if you do marry there is no reason for the woman to leave the country. We also recommend this method over marrying abroad. With the recent changes in the law regarding marriage abroad it can now take up to twice as long to bring someone back if you do marry abroad. Furthermore, you are not giving the woman a chance to see what everyday life will be like once she arrives here, or allowing for the extra time to get to know each other better.
One word of caution about the Fiancée Visa: It is a SINGLE ENTRY visa! This means that once she comes she cannot leave and then re-enter the country before or after you marry. No trips to Mexico, Canada, Europe, or anywhere outside of the US. So if you are planning a honeymoon it must be within the US. Once you marry you can apply for an Advanced Parole, which will allow her to come and go during the Adjustment of Status period.
Again, this article is meant for general information only. Prior to making any decisions we highly recommend you contact an attorney with substantial experience in immigration law. We recommend Maria V. Jones. Our Romance Tour clients are entitled to a discount on the already low fees Maria V. Jones charges to prepare and file the Fiancée Visa application for you. For more information concerning this matter and his services you can click here
We also offer an Do-It-Yourself Fiancée Visa Kit, written by Maria V. Jones. It is a very informative book, about 100 pages, containing all the information and forms required to prepare and file the Fiancée visa application yourself. Click here for more information
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