As I enter my seventh year of practicing fiancee visa law I have a number of observations to share with prospective and current clients.
#1 MOST FIANCEE VISA RELATIONSHIPS ARE LEGITIMATE
There is a common misconception that marrying a foreign woman is somehow unseemly or less real than marrying an American woman. canada pr process
We have all heard the term “mail order bride” which would describe a situation in which the American man has not met his foreign fiancee but rather has picked her picture out of a catalogue and ordered her to be delivered. Immigration law does not in fact allow for “mail order brides.” A chief requirement of the fiancee visa is that the American petitioner and foreign beneficiary have met in person within the two years prior to the filing of the fiancee visa petition. Opponents of the fiancee visa who speak of mail order brides are only revealing their ignorance of the law and procedure of the fiancee visa.
In my experience the relationships between foreign woman and American men are every bit as real as any relationships involving American men and American women. Furthermore, the divorce rate among my clients is negligible as compared to the typical American divorce rate. I am in contact with many of my early clients and I know that they are happy with their marriages. My clients, both the men and the women, tend to be loving and sincere. Contrary to myths about the fiancee visa the men are rarely abusive and the woman are rarely fraudulent or dishonest.
#2 THE FIANCEE VISA PROCESS IS LONG AND STRESSFUL
It is exhilarating for my clients when I file their petitions and they get the receipt from the USCIS showing that their case is under way. The exhilaration is infectious. Even after all these years of practicing immigration law I still excited for my clients when we get the initial USCIS receipt. Unfortunately, the filing of the petition is just the first step in a long and complex journey.
People need to be realistic and manage their expectations when they file their fiancee visa petition. The process is long. You will be very unhappy and disappointed if you expect that your fiancee will be here within a few weeks of filing the petition. Some USCIS Service Centers are faster than other and some foreign consulates are faster than others. With the right combination of a fast USCIS service center and a fast foreign consulate a fiancee visa can be obtained in 4-6 weeks.
A case filed at the Vermont Service Center and processed at the American Consulate in Mexico would be the fastest combination. A fast time line is not, however, typical. The USCIS California Service Center can be slow and consular processing in China is very slow. I have an attorney who works for me in China and helps my clients navigate consular processing in China and still the process is very slow. Consular processing in the Philippines is faster than in China but still the process can take several months. If you have realistic expectation of the time line of the fiancee visa process you will be delighted when the visa is granted. The process is slow, but if the case is done correctly the fiancee visa will be granted.