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Sheryl
Sheryl

Does anyone have personal experience of or know any foreigners who have married prisoners and have any firsthand knowledge of US visas. I know I can get legal advice but am looking for more personal thoughts.


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LawDog
LawDog

While I can't provide you with any personal insight, the law is rather specific in this regard. The marriage itself, and whether or not it will be permitted, will depend wholly on the laws within the State where the inmate is incarcerated, (even IF he's in a Federal facility - as he'd be considered a resident of the State where he is incarcerated) and what the regulations are within the DOC in that particular State.

I don't know of any State that prohibits the marriage of a U.S. citizen to a foreign national, as it happens all the time. Most States only require that you are LEGALLY able to be married (i.e., not already married, for example).

The "nonimmigrant" visa is addressed specifically by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS Home Page

Upon reading the Federal Regulation, I would surmise that YOU cannot apply for the visa, but your penpal would actually have to initiate the application process (he's the U.S. citizen), AND PAY THE FEES. Bear in mind also that this is a LENGTHY process (I've seen some take as long as 2 to 3 years).

<<"If your fiancé(e) is not a citizen of the United States and you plan to get married in the United States, then you must file a petition with USCIS on behalf of your fiancé(e). After the petition is approved, your fiancé(e) must obtain a visa issued at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad. The marriage must take place within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the United States. If the marriage does not take place within 90 days or your fiancé(e) marries someone other than you (the U.S. citizen filing USCIS Form I-129F - Petition for Alien Fiancé), your fiancé(e) will be required to leave the United States. Until the marriage takes place, your fiancé(e) is considered a nonimmigrant. A nonimmigrant is a foreign national seeking to temporarily enter the United States for a specific purpose. A fiancé(e) may not obtain an extension of the 90-day original nonimmigrant admission.">>

To bypass the K-1 issue, you COULD enter the U.S. under an I-94 visitor's visa, but that too, is only good for 90 days. Thus, you'd have to get approved for marriage by the Warden (and get the State marriage license) and actually GET married within 90 days. You'd still have to return to your home country, but then your "husband", at that time would then have to start the process of application for his SPOUSE to be allowed into the U.S. (another few years of paperwork). STILL, your re-entry into the U.S. could be barred if the USCIS suspects that your original INTENT of the I-94 Visa WAS to get married. Proof would be held in the permission granted by the Warden (and the date of the marriage license). In other words, if you then got married while here on a Visitor Visa, USCIS would have no problem proving that was your intent, and you'd be barred from entry to the U.S. EVER.

Now the BAD news (as if it wasn't bad enough already).

It is UNLIKELY that you'd be granted a K-1 (fiance) visa, as long as he is in prison. The law governing this issue requires first that your prisoner penpal and you (the fiance) must have met face-to-face in person within the past two years BEFORE filing for the visa. Logistically, I would imagine this might have been difficult, unless of course you've visited him in person already.

Also, when considering the application for such things, bear in mind that USCIS has implemented an addendum to the law, called the Immigration Marriage Fraud Act. What this does is tighten the requirements for marriage to a foreign national. The Act requires that the potential husband/wife who is a U.S. citizen must prove the financial ability to support you, if for example, your work permit is denied. That isn't very likely with him being in prison.

Furthermore, if YOU have children, your prisoner penpal must also apply for K-visas for them as well. And of course, he would have had to meet THEM within the past two years as well. All of you must enter the country together, (if approved) and if you leave before the marriage (within the 90 days) you will not be permitted to re-enter the United States.

I can assure you that application for a K-1 Visa will require a personal interview with an "Adjudicator" with USCIS for both parties. USCIS does not send Adjudicators into the field, and it's not very likely that the prisoner will be escorted to one of the regional offices for the USCIS for that interview. You will ALSO be required to attend an interview with the Adjudicator. In that interview, you will both have to answer questions as to how much you actually know each other (i.e., parents' names, histories, etc; siblings names, histories, etc.; basically a lot of personal history on BOTH sides).

Bottom line: probably ain't gonna happen.

 
Michaela_x
Michaela_x

Does anyone have personal experience of or know any foreigners who have married prisoners and have any firsthand knowledge of US visas. I know I can get legal advice but am looking for more personal thoughts.

Not to sure this will help you Sheryl, but I lived in Up State NY for 3 years on and off, I got my 3 months visa each time I arrived in the US but had to return back to the UK. At the time I was runing a business in a place called Rochester, I did try to get my green card after the first year and the US was just not having it. I have no idea about getting married to a prisoner abroad. May I ask is this person British ? And have you met this person before :embarrassed:

Michaela x

 
smiley
smiley

Sent you a PM. :)

Bottom line: probably ain't gonna happen.
LD, sometimes your such a wet blanket. :( .....Yeh i know i hear you talking already, your a realist, i'm a believer....LOL
Depending on the out come you want and how hard you work at it, there is more than one way to skin a cat, so to speak. :)

 
ladya
ladya

I was told personally to marry my man, then get his family to sponsor you, because once they find out your man is in jail that goes against your petition

 
larrysbabygirl
larrysbabygirl

WHEW- and I thought the process of just getting the fricking minister to interview us and give us a wedding date was stressful!!!

 
waldron
waldron

from what i have heard, since 9.11, the rules for entery into USA have tightened up so much now, that one is considered a potential terrorist just visiting the country, personal experience, going though customs and immigration in 2007 compared to before 9.11. Also it is a long hard process to get a visa to marry a US citizen even if you do everything legally and the citizen is working and able to provide evidence of support which is the last 3 years tax returns. Being able to support the ALIEN is crucial in the visa process and how can someone inside support you. I personally wouldnt even go down that avenue, you would pay alot in fees and to just end up getting your petition rejected.

 
Sheryl
Sheryl

He is a US citizen incarcerated in Michigan. I can enter and marry him on my UK visa waiver but it is illegal to do so. Judging from the advice I've had from everyone, it's not looking good. He has an appeal in so might be out this year. I'll just have to hope.

 
Sheryl
Sheryl

Thanks. It seems I have two possible options. Wait and see if his appeal goes through or possibly go for an investor treaty visa as I can afford to set up my own business. He has no family to support me and cannot do so himself. I may look at that avenue. Anyway, I'm visiting him in May so something to look forward to. Thanks for your advice.

 
skye
skye

My ex husband had a felony. He left the country and was denied re-entry. He is a foreign national.

We filed the paper work for permanent residency and were told it could take up to 5 years.

They encouraged us to fill out the fiancé visa.

We did.

It was denied due to his felony that he obtained while in the states.

They are very strict on the fiancé visas

 
skye
skye

Before you can apply for the Fiancé Visa you have to have another application filed. Generally it's the Perm. Residency visa. The Fiancé visa is only valid for a short time.

You have to PROVE the relationship and they want pictures of you guys together, letters and they want to know what vacations and functions you have attended together.

They literally go through your life with a fine tooth comb. They dissect every detail to prove it is a valid relationship.

With one party being in prison (if he is) it will be extremely difficult for them to approve it as there is no 'established' relationship in the eyes of UCIS.

They are very tough on the fiancé visa and when they say established, they mean in a free world relationship where your relationship extends far beyond letters and phone calls.

 
ellagirl72
ellagirl72

We were married on an I-94 and I left again and come in and out on the I-94 each time I visit. Of course Im visiting friends but I have proof Im returning home after each visit and I ve had no troubles. Eventually we want for me to be able to live in the US but like you all see the complications in all this.

Some questions for Lawdog:
Does the length of time you have been married play any role in proving your relationship in "established'??? Isnt is more that they are trying to make sure is is genuine??

Also what about if your child is HIS natural child and therefore eligible for a US passport?? How would that effect me (the mother) wanting to live in the US, would it be easier because of our childs status and the fact that the child needs a parent to look after them??? (Yes my Husband is a lifer and where there is a will there is a way and DNA would prove it.)

I have read that they can do the interviews at the prisons, but this depends on local policy is this true???

We are not ready to do all this maybe for another 5 years we visit at least twice a year and spend enough on calls to feed a small country for a year, do all these things go in our favour???

Also we do have family and friends supporting us in the US so we have financial sponsors willing to fillout what ever they need to.
Heck we even have C/O's willing to write statements to say they know our relationship is genuine:)

 
LawDog
LawDog

I couldn't really discuss the specifics of your case without knowing it intimately. I do know there is some recent case law pertaining to the "naturalization" of an illegally conceived child. It is, of course, and abherrent case involving an unlawful sexual liaison between a prisoner and a foreign visitor. The child was denied "natural citizenship" in the U.S. and was relegated to citizenship of the mother's home country.

 
ellagirl72
ellagirl72

Hi Lawdog,

There are such things as Family Visits so the child would not be the product of an illegal sexual liason. So that case would not pertain to us, if it happens this way.

The other issues, I would be interested for you to give me some insight into our situation, if I could pm you let me know what info you would need???