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Are Fiance Cases Dead?

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Are fiance cases dead? Hi, I'm Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our offices in St. Louis, San Diego, or Washington DC. Sorry to sound so dramatic with the title of this video and perhaps what the video should be discussing is whether or not I would recommend that somebody file a fiance case instead of a spouse case.

Now, let's go back 10 years. For the last 10 years or so most people who follow immigration know and understand that it's a little bit faster to bring a fiance to the United States than it is to bring a spouse. Now, of course, if you want to file a fiance case, you'd have to show that you've been in each other's physical presence in the last two years. Someone comes to us and they've already gone overseas and met their fiance, but they didn't get married, then we might go ahead and advise that they go ahead and do a fiance case. And like I said, historically, these have always run a little bit faster. Now there's more work to do on the backend because, of course, once they arrive, you have to get married within 90 days then apply for a green card, so it's actually a little bit more to do a fiance case, but the benefit is that you get.

the fiance here a little bit faster. The other option of course, would be for the US citizen or green card sponsor to go overseas. Of course, a green card sponsor can't do a fiance case, so it'd just be a US citizen, could marry their fiance overseas and apply for them. That takes a little bit longer, but of course the benefit there is that the green card arrives shortly after the foreign national comes on their immigrant visa. So that one's a little bit cleaner, a little bit sturdier.

When I say sturdy, what do I mean by that? Well, it's always easier to get a marriage-based case approved than a fiance case. They think you taking it more seriously if you've actually gone ahead and gotten married. Historically that's been the deal. We've sort of been open to it, whatever the clients want. We sort of have lots of different moving parts, like where is the couple physically? What is their short term plan? What is their long term plan? What's most important to get here quickly, to be together the whole time, or whatever? There's lots of moving parts. Historically we've been open to fiance cases being filed, but these days with the immense backlog at the embassies across the world and the low priority that fiance cases have, and the fact that you're not yet married to a US citizen, which means that a lawsuit by that US citizen is not as compelling as if you are actually married, dumb as that is and as puzzling as it is, that's the position that the state department takes.

What we've been seeing lately are fiance case is just being put on the total back burner and fiance cases actually taking forever and ever, and now when we're suing on them, we're starting to see judges dismiss the lawsuit saying, "Ah, basically you haven't waited long enough." They haven't been doing that in marriage cases, but they have been doing it in fiance cases.

The question is, if someone were to come to me today and say, "Jim, should I do a fiance case or do a marriage case?" I think it'd be my strong recommendation that you get married. In fact, we're starting to tell some of our fiance clients, "Hey, look, this case isn't really going anywhere. I know it's a pain in the ass, but you might actually get your loved one here, your partner here faster if you ditch this fiance case and go ahead and get married." Not true in every case, depends where your case is, and every case is a little bit different, but these are the kinds of questions and the kinds of conversations that we're starting to have with our clients.

If you have a fiance case that's been pending forever, or if you're on the fence about whether or not to do a fiance or a spouse case, feel free to give us a call 314-961-8200. You can email us at [email protected]. Be sure to join us on our Facebook group which is called Immigrant Home. If you like this video, we ask that you please share that on social and that you subscribe to our YouTube channel so that you get updates whenever we make videos, just like this one. Then of course we're live most Tuesdays and Thursdays at noon central in our Facebook group and in our YouTube channel answering as many of your immigration law-related questions as possible for 60 minutes for free. Thanks a lot and have a great day.

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