Revised Date: March 2010


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

"Can this really work for me, and what about her visa? And what is actually involved in time and cost?"

I'm Gary Bala, USA Immigration Attorney, with 25 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, and over the years 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.


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 and Colombia 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 changes and the implementation of the new IMBRA (International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005) have forced longer processing times and stricter procedures at the Immigration Offices and U.S. Consulates. For those doing a K-1 fiancee visa or the K-3 spousal visa, process times right now are at least about 5 to 6 months from filing date for most gentlemen in the country.

As for costs, I believe that gentlemen should be prepared to commit $2500 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.

Six months or more is a long time for couples to wait.

What all this really means as a practical matter is what I tell people constantly.


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

Find good ways 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 see the lady and share 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 arrival and adjustment, such as: scouting out English classes for her in your area, as well as contacting Latin friendship groups and associations, even looking into adding Spanish cable channels and checking out local Latin restaurants and nightspots.
FOURTH, Maintain constant and strong communication by phone and by writing e-mails, faxes, cards and letters, which share your mutual feelings, plans and hopes. Stay positive. Stay patient. If you do, yes, you will get your visa for your lady. You will start a new life. You will be happy.

Remember that very few visa cases legitimately qualify for an emergency "expedite", which requires a showing of "life-or-death" emergency, according to Immigration Service. See USCIS Accelerated Processing. Therefore, how well you use these techniques to manage your separation anxiety 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

SPECIAL NOTE: 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.

IMMIGRATION SERVICE BACKLOG REDUCTION PLAN: Immigration Service (USCIS) has formulated and is implementing an ambitious plan to reduce backlogs of pending and newly-filed petitions through use of new technology and systems. It will take time. While this plan is rolled out, immigration customers will of course need to continue to remain patient. For more on USCIS Backlog Reduction Plan, see USCIS Backlog Reduction Plan.