Revised Date: May 2012


The most frequent questions I get from callers and potential travelers are:

"Can this really work for me, and what about her Immigration Visa?

"And what is actually involved in time and cost?

"And how do we manage the separation in a long-distance relationship waiting for her Visa to come to the USA?"

I'm Gary Bala, USA Immigration Attorney, with 30+ Years of Experience. I've traveled through the world, and extensively in Latin America. I've attended many romance tours and visited various introduction agencies.

Over the years, I have assisted hundreds of couples in the visa and marriage process and with answers to immigration questions and issues.

Our office has served American gentlemen, many who are professionals and successful businessmen, from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and secured visas for ladies from around the globe, including from Colombia & Brazil, to the Philippines & Russia.

Many people consider our office to offer special expertise with regard to family visas from Latin America. At any given time, our office probably has more visa applications pending at the U.S. Consulates in Colombia, Peru and Brazil, than any other single attorney office.


The answer to the question "Can this work?" is plain and undeniable:

YES, it can for those who stand ready and committed!

For the bold, Latin America, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and the other countries in particular offer a world of opportunities to find a younger and prettier lady with sweeter disposition than what is available back home for most men.

For those with sincere intentions and realistic goals, hundreds of happy marriages have taken place across the country with very good success rates.


As for the immigration process, yes the cold truth is that post 09-11 security changes and the implementation of the new IMBRA (International Marriage Brokers Regulation Act of 2005 ) immigration law have forced longer processing times and stricter procedures at the Immigration Offices and U.S. Consulates.

The new laws affect people who meet not only through marriage and romance companies but also people who meet on their own outside of such companies.

For those doing a K-1 Fiancee Visa or the CR-1 or K-3 Spousal Visa, the best available speed "Process Time" right now for most gentlemen in the USA and ladies in these foreign countries, assuming that no special issues or problems exist in the case, is:


As for costs, I believe that gentlemen should be prepared to commit $3000 or more in costs to get the job done.

Understandably, everyone is enormously concerned with speed and process time, because naturally two people in love want to be together as soon as possible.

And of course, for many people six to eight (6 to 9) months or more is a long time for couples to wait.

What all this really means as a practical matter is what I talk to people constantly: managing the separation.


The most important part of immigration is the PATIENCE of the people doing it.

Find good ways to control your anxiety and worry. Look for every way to manage the pain and stress of separation during the waiting times.

  • FIRST, Budget the right amount of approximate time and money to secure the visa in the first place.
    SECOND, Budget time and money to visit and see your Fiancee or Bride again, and share some time together with her while the visa is processing.
    THIRD, Use your time wisely while the visa is processing to lay the groundwork for her eventual arrival and adjustment, such as: scouting out English-as-Second (ESL) Language classes for her in your area; contacting Latin friendship groups and associations; looking into adding Spanish (or Brazilian Portuguese) cable channels; and even checking out local Latin (or Brazilian) restaurants and nightspots which you might visit with her when she eventually arrives.
    FOURTH, Maintain constant and strong communication by phone calls, e-mails, text messages, faxes, cards and letters, and web cam such as SKYPE (free). These help to share your mutual feelings, plans and hopes, and help keep you both close.
  • FIFTH, Keep your perspective. Remember that everyone in your stuation is in the "same boat." Remember the old admonition that "good things happen to people who are patient." Both of you having to deal with the separation issue will in the long-run, if you both stay committed, probably strengthen the relationship. Stay positive. Stay patient. If you do, yes, you will eventually get the visa for your loved one. You will start a new life together. And you will both be happy.

Remember that very few cases legitimately qualify for an "Expedite", which requires a showing of a "near-life-or-death" emergency, according to Immigration Service . See USCIS Accelerated Processing.

Therefore, how well you use these techniques to manage your separation from your loved one will determine how happy you both will be as the visa process takes it course.

Good journey and all the best!

Gary Bala
USA Immigration Attorney
Pennsylvania USA

NOTE #1: All the Service Centers allow Expedited Processing of a Petition based on a showing of a "Proven Emergency" situation. For a sample list of emergency reasons, see the California Service Center Expedite Procedures Statement.

NOTE #2: U.S. GOVERNMENT WEBSITE TO HELP NEW IMMIGRANTS ADJUST TO USA: For more practical and useful tips and suggestions to help a new immigrant adjust to the USA, see: Welcome to USA.

NOTE #3: USE OF FEDERAL SENATORS AND CONGRESSPERSON IN ASSISTING CASE PETITION PROCESSING: Many people choose to contact their federal Senator or local Congressperson to assist them in case petition processing, especially hoping their case can be "expedited." (You may call or visit their office in person but you are usually required to sign a consent release before they can contact the designated Congressional Liaison Officer at the Immigration Office or U.S. Embassy on your behalf.) Be forewarned however that based on our experience, these elected officials and their staffs are more effective in ascertain the status of your case petition, and helping identify a problem with your case such as a missing document or piece of information. They are less effective, and usually not effective at all in "expediting" your case or necessarily making it go any faster, unless your case qualifies for an "expedite". To contact your local members of Congress, see Contacting the Congress.

Gary Bala Visa

E-Mail: garybala@VISA-Attorney.com


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Gary Bala, USA Immigration Attorney.