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Marriage Brokers

If you have met, or are contemplating meeting, a Ukrainian through the use of the services of international marriage brokers, correspondence, or Internet contact agencies or catalogues, you should be aware of certain legal realities that generally preclude issuing nonimmigrant visas to these persons.

Section 214(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) stipulates that Consular Officers cannot issue non-immigrant visas to individuals whom the Consular Officer suspects of intending to immigrate to the United States. Although you may contend that this visit is just to get acquainted in person to establish the feasibility of a continuing relationship, these people have, in fact, indicated a desire, willingness and readiness to emigrate from Ukraine by their decision to participate in mail/internet contact services.

Furthermore, even in regards to general applications for nonimmigrant visas, Section 214(b) of the INA places on nonimmigrant visa applicants the burden of overcoming a statutory presumption of intending immigration. Visa applicants overcome this presumption by proving that they have a permanent residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. Proof of an applicant’s intention to return to a permanent residence abroad is generally established by the demonstration of family, social, economic or other ties and commitments in another country which will oblige the individual to return there after a temporary stay in the United States.

As people who participate in mail/internet contact services are by definition rarely married, they lack compelling family ties to Ukraine. As they have, through this participation, expressed a desire to leave Ukraine, any economic and social ties they may have cannot be interpreted to be strong enough to compel them to return to Ukraine after visiting the United States.

Because of these legal stipulations, the chances of a person you have met through Internet or correspondence marriage agencies qualifying for a U.S. nonimmigrant visa is very remote, and it will most likely not be possible for them to come to the United States to meet you.

Finally, you should be aware that Ukrainians generally sign up with contact agencies because they are looking for a way to immigrate to Western countries with a much higher standard of living than usually obtainable in Ukraine. When they agree to participate in these services, they do not know what type of people they will meet, but they are willing to take that chance because of the possibility it affords them of leaving Ukraine. Although we are aware of many happy relationships which have begun through the use of contact agencies, we are also aware of many cases in which the Ukrainian partner, having obtained their true objective (immigration to the U.S.), abandons or otherwise misuses the trust of the U.S. partner. You may wish to consider this when deciding to use such a service. The decision, of course, is entirely yours, and neither this Embassy nor the United States Government takes an official position on this issue.