IMBRA and International Dating Sites foreign mail order brides IMBRA mandates criminal background checks before a U.S Citizen can communicate with a foreign national through 'for profit' online dating site. has personal ads from women from Asia, China, Russia that seek honest western men..

IMBRA and International Dating Sites

Author: Christopher Stoll

The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA) mandates criminal background checks before a United States citizen can communicate with a foreignh national through a 'for profit' online dating site. The legislative intent of the act is to protect immigrant women who could become victims of domestic abuse, be it physical, mental or sexual, after arrival in America by way of a K-1 Fiancee Visa or F-3 Spousal Visa. Its requirements look toward 'for profit' matchmaking or online dating sites wherever they are located and United States citizens.

Prior to even comminicating with a woman through a 'for profit' matchmaking or online dating service (IMB), the person seeking the communication must complete a biographical criminal and marital history provided by the service. That form is then required to be provided to anybody that the person is interested in and should the other party consent, communication is permitted to follow. Upon receipt of the form from the person wishing to initiate contact, the IMB is required to search state and federal sex offender databases, obtain the family and any criminal history of the person and provide this information to the foreign national in her native language. The foreign national is then required to sign a written consent for the release of her personal information to the U.S. citizen. At that time communication is legally permitted. Any violation of the act is a felony punishable by a fine of up to $25,000.00 and a prison term not to exceed 5 years.

Department of Homeland Security Form I-129F specifically asks whether you met your fiancee or spouse through the services of an international marriage broker. If the petitioner answers yes, they must provide the internet or street address of the IMB and where the IMB is licensed. Should inquiry be made and appropriate histories are not available or found to be false, it is likely that the I-129F Fiancee Petition will be denied. It is equally likely that the Fiancee Petition will be denied if the petitioner has been convicted of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and/or neglect, violence during dating, elder abuse or stalking. Being convicted of even an attempt at more serious crimes will most likely result in denial as can three or more convictions for offenses relating to a controlled substance or alcohol not arising from a single act. Consular offices are required to provide the foreign national fiancee with a copy of the Petition for Fiancee Visa along with any other information on the petitioner that is required by the Fiancee Visa Petition.

There are exceptions for which a waiver for the above-noted offenses can be obtained. If the Petitioner was being battered or subjected to extreme cruelty by a spouse, parent or adult child at the time of conviction, waiver can be granted if the petitioner was acting in self defense, or violated a protection order issued for their own protection or was arrested for or convicted of a crime that did not result in serious bodily harm and there was a connection between the crime committed and the petitioner having been battered or subjected to extreme cruelty.

A petitioner is limited to the number of Fiancee Visa Petitions that can be filed. If the petitioner has filed two or more Fiancee Visa Petitions and at least one of them has been approved, that petitioner must wait 2 years from the date of filing of the latest approved petition to submit another Fiancee Visa Petition. Again, there are exceptions to this rule such as the death of the fiancee. If a third Fiancee Visa Petition is filed, the petitioner will be notified. A multiple visa database is in existence that tracks petitioners that have had two or more petitions approved. All subsequent petitions filed bythat petitioner will be entered into that database. Both petitioner and fiancee will be notified if the number of permitted petitions is exceeded.

As IMBRA compliance is critical in both the pre-communiction and petitioning stages, the petitioner should proceed with great care and caution. A seemingly innocent oversight or misinterpretation of the law can result in delay or denial. It is prudent to retain the services of an experienced immigration attorney when initiating the K-1 Fiancee Visa or K-3 Spouse Visa process. A K-3 Spousal Visa Petition will probably not be denied for conviction of any crime however, any conviction for any crime contemplated by the act must still be disclosed.

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About the Author

Christopher J. Stoll has been assisting the immigrant community for over 25 years. He is licensed to practice in the immigration courts of all 50 states.

Christopher J. Stoll Attorney