Internet Dating and The Fiancé Visa

Meeting that “Special Someone” is always remarkable. However, some United States Citizens encounter problems when the fiancé is from another country, especially when the couple meets over an internet dating site. In order to bring that special person to the U.S., the U.S. Citizen will have to “run the gauntlet” that is the U.S. Immigration System.

Now, meeting a Fiancé on an online dating site is not automatically an issue. However, there is a possibility that USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) may assume the dating site falls within the scope of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, or IMBRA for short. If an internet dating site is considered an “International Marriage Broker,” then the I-129F (which is the first step of the Fiancé Visa Process) requires the petitioning U.S. Citizen to provide certain documentation.

An Internation Marriage Broker is not inherently bad. IMBRA requires that the Fiancé sign a consent form prior to providing their information to a foreign accountholder (aka U.S. Citizen). IMBRA was created to protect people on the dating sites from being mistreated or placed in dangerous or unknown environments. The Fiancé Visa program has had a history murder and human trafficking, and IMBRA was enacted to stem that horrific outcome.

So, the common issue is most Internet Dating Sites do not class themselves as “International Marriage Brokers,” partly because they deal with the “dating portion” of a relationship. The online dating site connects people, it doesn’t go so far as to set people up for marriage. However, (1) USCIS may not necessarily know whether a dating site falls within IMBRA, and (2) most Fiancé don’t sign the “IMBRA Consent Form” that the I-129F requests.

The solution is to determine whether the dating site is indeed an International Marriage Broker. Most International Dating Sites will provide a “terms of use,” which usually state that they are not a Marriage Broker. Additionally, if the terms are not clear, individuals can always email the internet dating site and ask for a statement if IMBRA applies to them or if they offer IMBRA Consent Forms.

The concept of online dating is commonplace and USCIS knows this. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call Fickey Martinez Law Firm at (910) 526-0066 or email us at attorney@fickeymartinezlaw.com.

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