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A K-1 visa is a United States nonimmigrant visa benefiting fiancees and fianceees of US citizen petitioners. The Application is made by the petitioner in the US on a USCIS form I-129F filed by mail at a USCIS Regional Center. The Applicant must provide detailed information and supporting documentation to establish that both parties are legally free to marry, have met each other, intend to marry, do not have disqualifying criminal histories (so-called crimes of moral turpitude), and proof of identity and citizenship. Recent changes to the Law also limit the number of petitions a Petitioner can make, and the Petitioner must not have a criminal history of sexual or partner abuse. Other recent changes in the Law also severely limit the role of marriage agencies in the introductions, and any involvement must be disclosed.


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For many Koreans dating is with one thing in mind: marriage. This is true for both parties, it seems. Upon meeting single Koreans (guys and gals), especially since I am married, I invariably get the request to introduce them to some nice person. It's quite flattering at first, but then you get to notice a pattern here.

Koreans are often introduced by friends, relatives and (in rarer cases now) matchmakers. They are so busy studying (when they're younger) and working (when they're older) that they have little chance to mix-and-mingle--and when they do go out on the town it is usually in same-sex groups or with relatives or co-workers (which, it seems, are off-limits).

If a date is one-on-one it is called a so-gay-ting (weird name) and if double ot triple dating it's called a mee-ting. Before a first date (or 5 minutes into one) each party will likely know the other's (i) graduation year and school (and job and title), (ii) birthday, (iii) family and religious background (including father's job), and likely (iv) salary and (v) goals. This is one of the few areas that Korea is extremely efficient in.

They usually meet at a trendy cafe and exchange vital information. After that, if things go well, future dates ensue. If not, that is it. Very matter-of-fact (and rather an oddity here, given Koreans penchant for high emotion--e.g., football matches). Parents then, usually, cover the wedding and help set up the couple and off they go to make a family.

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In a time of great controversy over foreign residents, the legal immigration process is considered slow nd underfunded. A review of 1,899 K1 Visas showed that the average wait from initial filing to a Consular interview is 181 days[3], with more delays possible after the interview. However, this is considered an improvement over the old-style spousal visas.

A foreigner may enter the US on a different type of visa, and then get married. However, the laws on temporary visitation are clear that the purpose of the visit must be honest. If someone has this intention to marry a US citizen when they first enter the US as a visitor (e.g. on a tourist or student visa) and then plan to remain in the US to live and work, they can be denied admission if immigration finds out that they had concealed this intention at the time of admission. This requires the tourist to be quite covert about their intentions, hiding things like engagement rings, photos of the couple together, and large amounts of personal belongings that might signify an interest in moving permanently to the US. It is important for the applicant to keep a clear intention when entering the US on any visa: are they entering to work, to study, to visit as a tourist, to do missionary work, or to immigrate (which is the only status that seems to include everything). Behavior that mixes these codified intents is, at best, frowned upon by immigration, and at worst might ultimately result in denial of visa, entry, adjustment of status, and possible deportation of the foreign national, even after a couple is legally married. They must maintain good records of their relationship and eligibility and show the government no cause whatsoever to believe that the fiancee is not eligible for permanent residency.