International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA)

What is the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act, or “IMBRA” and what does it regulate? The International Marriage Broker Regulation Act is more commonly known as “IMBRA.” Under IMBRA Section 832, there is a limit to how many K-1 Fiancée Visas you are allowed to file.   You can only file for two in your entire life and you cannot file two of them within 2 years of each other. If you want to file a third K-1 Fiancée Visa during your lifetime or if you want to file a second K-1 Fiancée Visa less than 24 months after the first one, you will need to file for a special immigration waiver. You will also need an IMBRA Section 832 waiver if you, the petitioning U.S. Citizen, have a criminal history that includes crimes of violence or drug/alcohol related convictions.

What crimes would make me need to file an IMBRA Section 832 waiver? Murder, homicide, manslaughter, torture, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, abusive sexual contact, incest, domestic violence, dating violence, elder abuse, child abuse or neglect, stalking, trafficking, peonage, slave trade, involuntary servitude, holding hostage, false imprisonment, unlawful criminal restraint, kidnapping, and abduction are all crimes for which you will need to file an IMBRA Section 832 waiver. Any attempt to commit one of these crimes also applies. Furthermore, if you have been convicted at least three times of crimes related to drugs or alcohol, and long as those crimes happened at separate times, you will need to file an IMBRA Section 832 waiver. Remember that you must disclose ALL criminal convictions with your I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) and that your fiancée will be told about these during his/her interview.

How do I apply for an IMBRA Section 832 waiver? You send in your waiver request with your I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). The waiver request is written like an essay or a letter.

How much does it cost to apply for an IMBRA Section 832 waiver? It does not cost anything. You simply send in the waiver with your I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

Do I need an IMBRA Section 832 waiver for a K-3 spousal visa? No, the IMBRA restrictions apply only to K-1 Fiancée Visas.

I have a criminal conviction. Do I have to get a waiver or is there another option? You can try filing the waiver, but if you do not want to do this or you have tried and it was denied, you can make an attempt to vacate your prior criminal conviction. Please contact a licensed criminal attorney to assist you with this process. Alternately, you can apply for a K-3 spousal visa, which does not restrict the entry of spouses of convicted criminals.

What should I say in my IMBRA Section 832 waiver application? You should explain why the factors that make you ineligible should not apply in your case. If you are applying for a third K-1 Fiancée Visa, or a second one within two years, you should show why the previous K-1 Fiancée Visa(s) did not work out. Include all evidence and documentation, such as the death certificate, any police reports, all news articles that describe an accident that caused your fiancée’s death or incapacity, and any medical reports written by a doctor or other licensed medical professional. If you are applying for an IMBRA Section 832 immigration waiver because you have a criminal history, you will need to show extraordinary circumstances as to why your rehabilitation is so complete that they should give you the waiver. For instance, show that it happened long ago and you have had a clean record since and show proof that you are a good person. You can attach documents like letters from friends, recommendations from employers and teachers, receipts from donations made, evidence of involvement in your church, and anything else that helps you look good. Additionally, if you can show that you were abused by an immediate family member (spouse, parent, or adult child) when you committed the violent offense(s), and you can also show that you were not the one that started and continued to violence in your relationship OR you were acting in self-defense OR that you violated a protection order issued by the court to protect you, OR that there is a connection between the abuse you suffered and the crime (that did not result in injury) you committed.