The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA) and K Visa Petitions
The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA), which went into effect in March 2006, affects all K visa petitioners and applicants. It also places a number of requirements on "marriage brokers" or web-based introduction services. Most significantly for K visa petitioners, the IMBRA introduced restrictions on the number of K visa petitions which may be filed both within a two year timeframe and a lifetime. There are also provisions designed to protect K visa recipients from domestic violence by distributing educational pamphlets through the Department of Homeland Security and providing information about any criminal convictions or previous petitions of the US citizen petitioner.
The most significant provisions of the IMBRA include:
(1) New I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancee Visa Form: The new I-129F form requires petitioners who were convicted of a violent crime or a crime relating to a controlled substance on three or more separate occasions to submit certified copies of all court and police records. The new I-129F petition also requires petitioners who met their fiancee through an international marriage broker to write the name and the address of the international marriage broker on the petition.
(2) Restrictions on Visa Petitioners: A consular officer is prohibited from approving a visa petition before verifying that the visa petitioner has not (a) filed K visa petitions with regard to two or more aliens (b) filed a K visa petition within the last two years or (c) committed a violent crime. If a visa petitioner falls into one of these three categories a waiver must be granted by the Department of Homeland Security before a successful visa petition may be filed.
(3) Database Tracking Multiple Visa Petitioners: The Department of Homeland Security will create a database to track multiple K visa petitions. After a second visa petition is approved, the petitioner's name and information will be included in the database. In cases where subsequent visa petitions are applied for both the petitioner and the beneficiary will receive notice about the previously approved number of fiancee and/or spouse visas of the beneficiary.
(4) Domestic Violence Information: The Secretary of Homeland Security will develop an information pamphlet on legal rights and resources for immigrant victims of domestic violence. The pamphlet will be mailed to all K nonimmigrant visa applicants with the visa application information packet. The pamphlet will also be available on the websites of the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security as well as at the consular office.
(5) Criminal Convictions Disclosed During Consular Interview: During the Consular interview, the officer will provide the applicant with information regarding any protection orders or criminal convictions of the petitioner. The applicant will also be provided with an information pamphlet on the legal rights and resources for immigrant victims of domestic violence and an oral summary of the information included the pamphlet.
(6) International Marriage Broker Regulation: International marriage brokers are prohibited from marketing children less than 18 years of age. They also must disclose the criminal record of US client to foreign national client and obtain the foreign national's permission in writing before the foreign national's contact information may be released to the US client.