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The Fiancee Visa Comes to Tabloid TV

| Feb 8, 2024 | Firm News

I work with a lot of couples who are going through the fiancee visa process.  I actually only take cases where I help the couple from beginning to end – from filing to obtaining conditional residence – to make sure that they will be ok.  Knock on wood, as far as I know, all of the fiancee visa couples I have worked with are still together and many have children.  Many of these couples were together long-term before deciding on the visa.  Some of them met online, but I have noticed throughout the years that meeting online is becoming the norm across the board, especially for younger people.  Go figure – you would think that they would have the most opportunities to meet people in person through school or new employment – but I guess in the age of on demand everything, why not an on-demand soulmate?  I’m not knocking it, though.  When it works, it works, and I’ve seen some very good matches.

When I was working on one of my fiancee visa cases over the spring or summer, I got wind of this tv show about fiancee visas.   The couple I was working with is charismatic – made for tv.  They were in the interview process for the show, but I advised against it.  After viewing the trailer in the linked article, my suspicions are confirmed!  When casting, the show was seeking fiancees from Eastern Europe and Latin America, so I figured that the women would be painted as mail order brides.  Being half South American and half Filipino by ethnicity, this made me cringe.

I was also worried about that the producers might encourage drama and fighting, or highlight negative things about the couple.  USCIS officers are people, too, and watch tv.  Besides still having to go through the adjustment of status process after the couple marries, down the line when they petition to remove conditions on residence, or when the beneficiary applies for citizenship, I do not want the specter of a tabloid tv show hanging over them.  I can’t front – I like tabloid tv occasionally.  Recently, I recorded a tv show on the E! channel about Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag.  I watched it yesterday morning while I was having my coffee.  I dvr these things to make sure I can watch them while my daughter is out of the house or sleeping as I don’t want her to see trashy tv or Barbie-doll type women.  While Heidi and Spencer are culpable for agreeing to do outrageous things on tv or in front of the media and have issues, they had some fascinating insights on pop culture and confirmed my fears about what producers made them do.  So while the idea of my clients being on tv was fun for all of 20 seconds, it was obvious that it was a bad idea and should go nowhere.

So I am curious to watch this show, even if it will make me cringe.  And while I am, in an odd way, helping to promote the show by blogging about it, I do also want to do some damage control for the image of the fiancee visa in general by reminding people that this is Hollywood’s version of the fiancee visa process!  In real life my couples are sweet, desperately in love and desperate to be together, and in it for the long haul.  And not mail-order-y.  That would creep me out.

Grace Alano is an immigration attorney at The Law Offices of Grace R. Alano in San Francisco, CA. Find Grace on  Google+Twitter and Facebook.