WAIT–What’s a 90 Day Fiancé?
If anyone has watched the TLC show, they have some notion of what a 90 day fiancé is. Except, if you’ve watched the show and know nothing else, your idea would be very skewed, melodramatic, and scripted since the way those couples were portrayed–their relationships and finances–wouldn’t pass the sniff test at the interview to even be granted the visa to enter the country. But I digress.
A 90 day fiancé is the colloquialism for a K1 visa holder, who is an international fiancé(e) of an American citizen, who upon arriving in the US, has exactly 90 days to get married to said American citizen and file for an adjustment of status (AOS) to become a permanent resident (i.e. a Green Card holder). Essentially the 90 days is a deadline where if you do not get married and officially file an AOS before that date, which is the date the K1 visa expires, the visa holder essentially can be deported back to their home country, as he/she will no longer have legal status. Filing an AOS before that date allows the visa holder to stay in the US legally, pending the processing of that (Green Card) paperwork, even though the visa stamp will technically have expired.
It sounds simple enough. TLC portrayed it as that simple. And lots of people with strong opinions on immigration but with ZERO experience with it, will make it seem as such.
And–all of those people would be DEAD WRONG!!!
By the time you get to the 90 day countdown, you will probably have already gone through anywhere from 5 months to over a year of submitting paperwork to, and waiting to hear from, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the National Visa Center before a K1 interview is even scheduled to determine if you’ll get the visa. Luckily for me, I stumbled across Visa Journey, a web forum of people all over the world going through the same process, with step-by-step guides for which forms to use, how to fill them in, what to include, what NOT to include, where to send them, how long the wait will be, what to expect, tips for the interview, what to do if something goes wrong, answers to any and all questions, and general support for those inevitable freak-outs.
So since the blog is supposed to be about my life’s journey and its constant evolution—and because this past year has probably been one of the biggest journeys of my life—I’m going to share the firsthand account of a REAL (not reality) 90 Day Fiancé — all of the elation and all of the tribulation.
This is the story of my real 90 day fiancé: the timeline, (some of) the associated expenses, the legal hurdles we had to jump, the frustrations we encountered, and the reality of our new lives together as a young couple with not only all the issues relationships themselves bring, but with the compounding weight of his culture shock, and then all the legal processes we had to endure in order for him to gain permanent residence in this country.