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The 90-Day Fiance TV Show
The TLC channel recently had a TV show called, The 90-day Fiance. It was a reality of sorts show showing what couples went through on the K1 Visa, which is a US Visa that allows a foreigner to come to the USA for 90 days and either get married or go back home. Each season followed 4-6 couples who went through the process and usually begins with the arrival on the foreigner in the USA and adjusting. Most couples have only met once before and were together anywhere from 1-4 weeks and decided to get married in the USA.
Of course, the couple could have got married in the foreign country and then applied for a spousal visa at the US Embassy and get a conditional status to stay in the USA. It takes about the same amount of time, but usually what happens is that the US citizen has to leave the country because the Visa expired and they become separated for more months. With the K1, after the marriage, the couple stays in the US and the foreigner gets their status change. So, the advantage is there is no separation under the K1 visa.
The TV show follows each couple as they adjust to each other and hoe the foreigner adjusts to the US environment. In one case, the US man was 58 and was marrying a 19 yr. old Filipina. They had met in Cebu and both knew immediately it was “love”. The K1 Visa took a good five months from start to finish and with the filing fees and medical exams, cost the US man almost $1000. He had met her parents, both around 40ish. The man also had his own daughter from his first Filipina wife. She was the same age as the fiancé-19! Another couple has a 40 year old US woman falling in love with a 25 year old Tunisian man. The woman had three teen daughters and was not attractive. The man said he could accept that!
The episodes show some of the problems and anguish the couple goes through. Some visas were delayed longer than five months, adjusting to American life and family was not always easy and they were homesick. The show only realistically can capture a sliver of the reality, however. Since life goes on even when the fiancé arrives, it does not really mention how isolating it is when the US citizen is at a job for 8 hours a day and the fiancé is left alone in an apartment etc. It just skims over this as was the case in one episode.
Another item glossed over is money. The costs of getting K1 Visa (fees and med exam) is $1000 or so, that is just to get the foreign fiancé into the US and does not include the airfare (another $1000 or so). If there is a marriage (and nearly all do in the series) the cost to adjust the status to a conditional 2-3 yr. visa is another $1000. After the 2-3 yrs in USA, there is the Removal of Status (of the 2-3 yr conditional) to get a 10 year green card and additional costs. The other thing not mentioned in the series is that the foreigner fiancé cannot leave the US during the 90-day and come back and after marriage cannot leave the US until after conditional status is granted. All kind of important to at least mention in commentary.
The 90-day Fiance is not really a competition at all. Couples are not competing who gets married first, although a few get married only after a few weeks after the fiancé arrives. Nearly all episodes in its three seasons end happily. The real question is the follow-up after two years, are they still married? That would be interesting. The show is addicting in its own way because the show reveals the key moments for decisions the couple faces and nothing of the mundane things. There is some reality to it but overall it is just “skimming” the surface of how it is day to day.
The TV show continues with season 4 in 2016. Most notable from the first three seasons are what they are doing since 2014. The most startling is that Nikki and her 58 yr. old husband, Mark, may be in rough water with the discovery that Nikki has a boyfriend in his 40's (maybe husband!) back in Cebu, Philippines. Whether it is over or not is the question. The woman who was 40 who married a 25 yr. old Tunisian, this couple have filed annulment papers because he moved out and moved in with another woman. One young couple, a USC Mormon who married a Russian woman, are expecting their first baby!
While getting a Green Card is valuable, it is not the end to all means. At best, when a foreigner marries a USC, they get a 2-3 year conditional Green Card to stay in the USA. At that interval, the US Immigration interviews them to see if they are still married when they apply to remove the condition for a 10-yr. card. Those who are not married after the conditional status interview must leave the country.