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  • aow_mave
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • February 27, 2014, 04:16:58 pm
    • Daegu
First off, I'm sorry if this is not the appropriate area to post this or this issue has been discussed. I've been trying to do some searches through this site and anywhere I could think, but most of the information seems to be on marriages happening in Korea. If anyone could take the time to answer a few questions, I would really appreciate it...

I'm an American working for a company here in Daegu. Been in Korea all together close to 4 years and my girlfriend and I have been together for quite some time. We've talked about marriage and living together and it's something we both want to move toward. The issue is -- I'm not in love with my job and she's very open to trying her hand at moving back to the US. I have 2 close friends working for a good company back in my hometown and I feel like I have a very good chance of getting a job there, potentially as early as next summer. Regardless whether I get it or not, I think my time limit here in Korea is almost up but I really don't want to just throw away my relationship.

I'll be heading home this Christmas to go back to my hometown and my girlfriend will be heading with me to meet my family for the first time -- go through all those motions. I know my parents won't have any problem accepting her and thankfully, she has an aunt in my home stage (VA) and she knows she likes the area.

But she recently joined this Naver Cafe Group thing for Korean girls dating foreign guys and she's gotten some good support and information from it, but some of it I feel just can't be true?

She'll be using her 90 day visa thing this Christmas to come in for a few weeks with me, then we'll both head back to Korea. Our best case scenario is that we would get married back in the US next summer.

HOWEVER -- the issue is that she is convinced she should lie to immigration both instances when she comes to the US? The truth is -- she's coming to meet my family as we talk about our wedding. But she is convinced she should tell immigration she will be visiting her family in VA. Her reasoning? Since we'll be getting married in the US, it makes sense to bring the documents with her next summer to apply for all the marriage stuff there (which again -- is new to me -- I really am only starting to see what documents I need). She's CONVINCED that if she comes in next summer to tell immigration that she is going to get marred with me (who will probably be on the same flight with her) that they will simply reject her and send her back to Korea. She says there are users in this Naver Group that have experienced this.

I have only traveled back to the US alone and never with my Korean girlfriend so this is all new to me. I've just been trying to save money and have only recently looked at the immigration process and how she goes about staying in the US.

I guess my questions are --

A. Is she right? Is immigration that strict on her entering the country and should she just tell them she'll be seeing her family? When in reality she would be coming in (on the second trip) to get married?

B. Most of the websites I find deal with getting married in Korea and what documents are needed there. Is it easier to apply for marriage here in Korea and just bring her to the US with me next summer for our wedding there?

I feel quite unprepared and irresponsible but to be honest, I know there will be this job opening at my friend's company next year and I have to jump at this chance, but I don't want to leave her behind, so getting married sooner than later seems appropriate. We're both in love and have been through a lot, and while she's a nurse here in Korea, she's very excited to get adjusted to the US life and hopefully work as a nurse there too after she gets settled.

Maybe I'm freaking out a bit because I feel like a lot of the information she's been relayed just can't be true 100% of the time. I've known international couples who got married in Korea or the US and I never heard stories of US immigration giving their spouse the boot because he/she wasn't American and they were convinced it was only a green card marriage.

Is there anyone who has been through this before? Getting married to a Korean in the US? And do you have any advice on the best way to go about it? Everything from immigration to documents. I know this is vague but this seemed like a great place to ask.

Sorry for being a bit scatterbrained. I love my girlfriend and I look forward to our future, but I really don't think getting to the US is going to be quite the headache she's been told it's going to be...is it?



  • CDW
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1783

    • June 15, 2011, 01:22:09 pm
    • Banned
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2015, 09:43:49 pm »
The 90 day visa waiver is only for tourism and business. If she intends to get married in the US then she should apply for a fiance visa.


  • oskinny1
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • November 01, 2010, 10:31:37 am
    • Busan
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2015, 10:29:47 pm »
I believe that my wife belongs to the same group… had to show proof of relationship and give lots of details before they’d let her in? For the most part they are very helpful  and I often give my wife advice when she posts on there.
If your fiancée is coming to the US for you to get married and then both of you stay there you will need to get a Fiancée Visa. What this does is get her into the country with a 90 day visa and then you have 30 days to change start the process of changing her visa status (and she cannot leave the country until this is done).
I think under no circumstances you should lie to immigration. If they ask why she is visiting she should tell them that she is here to meet her boyfriend’s family. That is what my wife and the officer wished her luck! As long as she can prove that you both have jobs overseas and that neither plans on staying in the country then there is no reason to deny her. Bring work contracts, apartment leases, anything that will tie her back to Korea.
It may be good to get a justice of the peace marriage while you are both in country. Having been married for awhile before applying for a green card can’t hurt. Make sure to have a lot of photos taken with her meeting your family when she comes, it also helps with the green card process (something that only took us 2 months from start to finish).
What was annoying for us was we had no plans to break any immigration law but there seemed to be no real way to honestly enter the country, get married and then leave the country.


  • aow_mave
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • February 27, 2014, 04:16:58 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2015, 10:44:16 pm »
Thanks for both replies.

I mentioned this K1 (Fiance Visa) to her but she has heard it can take up to 10 months? The issue is, while I know I will be back in the US before September or so, there is a possibility my job could start sooner than that so I would have to go before. And she really would like to just come with me during that time (assuming it would be May or June, most likely). I also worry about her staying behind in Korea while I went to the US first with my job.

Her parents...are not extremely supportive of her dating me and in the past they even tried to fix her up with several rich Korean guys from their church, essentially bribing her and guilting her to marry them so his money could solve the financial mistakes her parents made investing (that's another story -- but long story short, I worry about how they would try to influence her if she had to stay behind alone for a few months even as they would try to talk her out of it).

So she is convinced the best way is to apply for the 90 day visa once this Christmas and once again when I come in for the job next summer -- and then apply for the marriage process once she's already in the US. Her reason is that the K1 visa takes time to get (again -- she heard 10 months) and she's just worried if she applies early next year or next Spring, there could still be a possibility I would have to go early.

It sounds ridiculous as I try to justify her fears...but while her family accepts me to my face, I do also fear that if I left the country to start my job back home, they might try to interfere in her life. You can't imagine some of the things they've tried to guilt her with.

So long story short -- if I expect our wedding will be next summer (we still haven't picked an exact date but are looking at August), when do you suggest we should apply?


  • oskinny1
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • November 01, 2010, 10:31:37 am
    • Busan
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2015, 11:46:05 pm »
I would strongly recommend you both get married by a justice of the peace this December and then have a Korean wedding. Take lots of pictures. You can still have a big American wedding in August, but to get the ball moving there is no reason to wait until then.

Applying for a fiancée visa when she comes on a tourist visa will send up red flags. Tourist visa is for a tourist to visit for a few weeks and then leave, it is not supposed to be a visa to visit a boyfriend and then get married. When I spoke with the immigration official during the green card interview he was very specific about original intent when we got my wife her tourist visa. Our original intent was for her to fly to the US on a tourist visa, get married and we BOTH leave the country to our new lives outside of the US. Circumstances changed and now we are in the US and had to apply for a visa change.

When you return to the US next year she can come in on her tourist visa (should be the same one she will get to go to the US in Dec) and then you can apply for her green card.



  • tweeks12
  • Waygookin

    • 15

    • March 03, 2015, 05:52:14 pm
    • korea
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 06:49:47 am »
I have gone through the entire K-1 visa process , if you need anything PM me.


  • aow_mave
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • February 27, 2014, 04:16:58 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2015, 07:32:40 am »
Again -- thanks for the replies everyone. Apparently I can't send a PM until I have 5 posts, so I'll work on that.

For oskinny1 -- Off the top of your head, are you aware of what documents would be required for a justice of the peace marriage? For myself and her? Or where I could find this information? I found the website http://www.findajp.com/ -- but it seems to indicate since Virginia doesn't recognize JP, I couldn't use a JP to get married there. But Kentucky is relatively nearby...could I use one in that state?

For tweeks12 -- I found this website -- http://www.uscis.gov/i-129f -- Would you say the documents and forms on that website are basically what I would need?

I definitely will send a PM shortly.

Thanks again to all who have helped. My GF is stressing over this way too much, worried it could take a year or more just to get the K1 or any sort of visa, but from the stories I've read -- it usually doesn't take that long.


  • Julia6145
  • Adventurer

    • 60

    • September 03, 2014, 05:39:20 am
    • USA
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 07:47:16 am »
This is a different scenario, but still related. I married a foreigner in the US. My experience was that it was absolutely no sweat at all, despite all the horror stories I had heard prior. Green card came quickly. Our immigration interview wasn't strict at all. The officer was more interested in what he was going to eat during his lunch break. And this is for me marrying a Middle Eastern dude from a city near a place with a lot of radicals... I don't think you will have any problems at all as long as you complete the documents correctly. We used an immigration lawyer as well, but I don't think it was very necessary.


  • Yaya
  • Featured Contributor

    • 921

    • May 08, 2014, 01:25:18 pm
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2015, 07:51:12 am »
This thread may have some info that would help you...

http://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=58891.0


  • nomadicmadda
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1585

    • July 01, 2014, 06:49:40 am
    • Seoul, formerly Boseong
    more
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2015, 12:18:20 pm »
oskinny1 meant get married by a justice of the peace in Korea.  That way, when you head to the USA you've already been married in another country.

Also, I second what oskinny1 said again in regards to honesty/your intentions when entering the country.  Do not, do not, do not lie to immigration.  I agree that I think coming in on a tourist visa and then trying to switch to a fiance visa is only going to bring up major red flags.  Explain this to your girlfriend as she needs to understand the "plan" the girls in that online group are suggesting could actually be far more dangerous and damaging for your marital status here than the slow process of going about it correctly.

As for the two of you coming at different times, would it be possible for her to come with you if you got the job offer early?  I don't see the harm in jumping in to go together, and I don't think your concerns about her family are invalid.


  • aow_mave
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • February 27, 2014, 04:16:58 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2015, 02:13:55 pm »
Thanks for the reply.

The issue with her coming in at the same time would be -- if I got the job, we would start to apply for the K1 visa at that time. Ideally, we would like to get married after the job starts, but she's not interested in having a wedding in Korea and is hoping to have it in the US with her extended family there.

So if I get the job and apply for the K1 for her, as I understand, she cannot enter the country until the K1 visa process is completed. In other words, even if she already had the 90 day travel visa, she would have to lose that in order to apply for the K1, so she would be waiting in Korea while I was in the US starting my job.


That's why ideally, I hope that if they do offer me the job, I can at least delay the start until we can come in together, but I don't want to risk being passed up.

Can anyone confirm this? She will have the travel visa of course to use this Christmas (and for up to 2 years -- if I'm correct?) -- but once we apply for her to ge the K1 visa, she is literally stuck waiting in Korea. Does anyone know if this is the case?


  • CDW
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1783

    • June 15, 2011, 01:22:09 pm
    • Banned
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2015, 02:14:10 pm »
Also, I second what oskinny1 said again in regards to honesty/your intentions when entering the country.  Do not, do not, do not lie to immigration.  I agree that I think coming in on a tourist visa and then trying to switch to a fiance visa is only going to bring up major red flags.  Explain this to your girlfriend as she needs to understand the "plan" the girls in that online group are suggesting could actually be far more dangerous and damaging for your marital status here than the slow process of going about it correctly.
Agreed. If something appears the least bit suspicious you can expect to be given a very hard time.  I know a Korean girl who left the US Embassy in Seoul several times in tears. She was married to a US citizen and was applying for a permanent residency visa. She said the people at the embassy were very rude to her.  She was accused of trying to commit visa fraud and was told her marriage certificate looked fake. Eventually she was able to produce enough evidence to satisfy them and get her visa.

I also met someone who worked at the US Embassy. She told me a Korean was permanently banned from entering the US because he got caught lying about something minor on his visa application. As I recall, he applied for a student visa and had lied about his parents' income.


  • amgoalng
  • Expert Waygook

    • 720

    • August 31, 2012, 08:00:20 am
    • Gobuk, near Seosan, closer to Haemi
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2015, 02:36:14 pm »
I am a bit confused.  When she comes this December, they will ask her for, "intent of stay", she must say she is here to see her boy friend's parents or else that will hurt her chances of getting a green card in the future?  Can't it be both: to see her family and to see her possible future family?  Also, does she need to apply for a 90 day visa or can she just come and be in the US on her passport alone like US citizens can?

The reason I ask is I am also married to a Korean.  We plan to stay in Korea.  However, we still want to visit my parents for no more than two weeks (that is all I can put up with).  Should my wife say, "to see my husband's parents for a couple of week" instead of, "I just want to see America with my husband who is a citizen."?

This is a very interesting thread for me.


  • oskinny1
  • Expert Waygook

    • 662

    • November 01, 2010, 10:31:37 am
    • Busan
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2015, 07:04:25 pm »
I am a bit confused.  When she comes this December, they will ask her for, "intent of stay", she must say she is here to see her boy friend's parents or else that will hurt her chances of getting a green card in the future?  Can't it be both: to see her family and to see her possible future family?  Also, does she need to apply for a 90 day visa or can she just come and be in the US on her passport alone like US citizens can?

The reason I ask is I am also married to a Korean.  We plan to stay in Korea.  However, we still want to visit my parents for no more than two weeks (that is all I can put up with).  Should my wife say, "to see my husband's parents for a couple of week" instead of, "I just want to see America with my husband who is a citizen."?

This is a very interesting thread for me.

Your wife will still need to get some sort of visa, I believe that she can do it online for the most part. If there is any question about you and her staying then you can show proof of employment and residence in Korea, such a an apartment lease and job contract.

Quote
For oskinny1 -- Off the top of your head, are you aware of what documents would be required for a justice of the peace marriage? For myself and her? Or where I could find this information? I found the website http://www.findajp.com/ -- but it seems to indicate since Virginia doesn't recognize JP, I couldn't use a JP to get married there. But Kentucky is relatively nearby...could I use one in that state?

My wife just needed to show her passport at city hall (Ohio) and we got our license. You do not need to go to a JP, there are other methods, maybe a ship captain or have a friend get ordained (see link below, I cannot do that fancy hyperlink stuff).

I was suggesting getting married in the US, especially now that I see you want to start the visa process in Korea. This will enable you to start in January so there won't be a long period when you aren't together, this will also keep her parents from pawning her off to the next eligible man at their church). Just make sure that you intend to leave the USA after marriage. Both I and my brother married non US citizens while visiting the USA and then returned to our countries of residence.

My situation was a bit different because we did not plan on coming back to the USA permanently, just a few months, but months stretched to a house, cars and a career.


Again, the key is to show proof that she is not intending to stay in the US on a tourist visa, which she isn't so there should be no problem.

Heck, printing out this thread and bringing it with you might help just to show that you are trying to go about it the  correct way.


  • KMH456
  • Adventurer

    • 30

    • May 04, 2012, 09:59:09 am
    • Korea
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2015, 07:13:02 pm »
Thanks for the reply.

The issue with her coming in at the same time would be -- if I got the job, we would start to apply for the K1 visa at that time. Ideally, we would like to get married after the job starts, but she's not interested in having a wedding in Korea and is hoping to have it in the US with her extended family there.

So if I get the job and apply for the K1 for her, as I understand, she cannot enter the country until the K1 visa process is completed. In other words, even if she already had the 90 day travel visa, she would have to lose that in order to apply for the K1, so she would be waiting in Korea while I was in the US starting my job.


That's why ideally, I hope that if they do offer me the job, I can at least delay the start until we can come in together, but I don't want to risk being passed up.

Can anyone confirm this? She will have the travel visa of course to use this Christmas (and for up to 2 years -- if I'm correct?) -- but once we apply for her to ge the K1 visa, she is literally stuck waiting in Korea. Does anyone know if this is the case?

Send in your K1 petition as soon as possible. As long as you make extra sure everything was filled out correctly, it should take much less time than 10 months. You send it to USCIS, then they send it to the visa center, then they send it to the US Embassy in Seoul, then the embassy will contact your gf for her to collect documents and schedule an interview. My boyfriend is in this very process and his interview is scheduled soon. It should only take a week or so for the visa to be issued after the interview. The K1 visa is valid for entry up to 6 months after the date of issuance, and you must get married within 90 days of US date of entry. So apply as soon as you can. And be ready with her visa in hand for you to go. No idea how long your petition will take up to her visa application interview date, but ours was about 5 months.  IF yours takes 5 months, saying you sent in the petition packet in November, her interview in April, her visa in hand in May, it would be valid 6 months giving you ample time to plan your move between May and October. Big IF so it's best to start the process now if you are looking to get married stateside next summer.


  • Loki88
  • Expert Waygook

    • 722

    • July 25, 2014, 08:41:07 am
    • Seoul
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2015, 10:00:06 pm »
Right off the bat I'm Canadian not American. However I've gone through a similar process. Like others have suggested get a civil ceremony done back home then the paper signing and ceremony back here.

It will make your relationship far more 'believable.'

Finally, my wife also uses naver consistently. Most of the advice given to her was dead wrong or straight up harmful. She had this strong 'I won't be let in if they think I want to stay.' Best bet is to ignore her and get all the papers in order yourself and tell her to tell the truth.


  • aow_mave
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • February 27, 2014, 04:16:58 pm
    • Daegu
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2015, 07:57:01 pm »
Thanks again for the information. I think she and I are putting together a plan and she's a lot less concerned about it now. I've also suggested that some of the users in that Naver group might have some incorrect information since most of the people here and others I've asked haven't had some of the nightmare situations they did.

One question I can't seem to get an answer for is -- once we apply for the K1 visa and are awaiting for it to be approved, could she still visit me in the US on her 90 day visa?


  • MaxCat
  • Waygookin

    • 23

    • June 21, 2015, 01:44:34 pm
Re: Potentially Marrying Korean GF in US Next Year -- A Few Questions
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2015, 10:55:11 am »
If you are sure about marriage and you want the fastest and easiest route to get your fiance/future wife to the States I recommend the process mentioned here :http://www.waygook.org/index.php?topic=58891.0 (as someone else pointed out). I am going through this now and it looks complicated but it's actually very easy and streamline in Korea.

The process


First of all

1. Get married in Korea. This doesn't mean a wedding, it's simply a registration that is done in  your fiances local ward. But first you go to the US embassy and get a waiver saying you are eligible to marry. This needs to be translated (I have a translation form I uploaded on another thread I made about the F6 visa process). Your fiance goes to the local ward and she fills out a piece of paper, they give you  marriage certificate and bam you are finished. (More details here:http://seoul.usembassy.gov/acs_getting_married.html)

2. Once you have this marriage certificate you can then start the process of filing for a visa/green card for your wife immediately. You prepare the I-130 form have some i/d and translations etc. (full list shown here: http://www.waygook.org/index.php/topic,58891.400.html ) make an appointment at the U.S embassy. They take your stuff and that's it.

3. You wait about a month to get the next instruction for "Packet 3" which involves gathering more info: http://photos.state.gov/libraries/korea/1348142/packets/IV.pdf

4. Once you have your stuff you make an appointment for an interview. From what I read the interview is short and sweet and bam! Your wife gets a visa, you can go the states!

This whole thing can take less than 3 months.

Then when you get to the states you guys can have a real wedding. Hope this helps!

« Last Edit: October 21, 2015, 11:01:51 am by MaxCat »