Getting deported, as seen in the reality-television show “90 Day Fiancé,” was one of the risks that the foreign participants faced as they went through their journey to find love in the United States with an American partner. TLC’s successful dating show documented US citizens who had obtained the K-1 Visa for their partners and sponsored them to temporarily live in the US. It had eight seasons since its inception in 2014, and many of its cast members found themselves on the verge of being deported due to the struggles they had in adjusting to their new relationships.
- 1 How does “90 Day Fiancé” work?
- 2 What to expect each season on “90 Day Fiancé”
- 3 Who was at risk of deportation on the “90 Day Fiancé”
- 4 How Does a Divorce Impact The Chance of Getting A Green Card?
How does “90 Day Fiancé” work?
A K-1 Visa is granted to a foreign-citizen fiancé or fiancée, so he or she can legally travel to the US and stay there for 90 days from arrival. During that allotted time, the couple must marry or the foreign citizen will be deported immediately.
The TV series “90 Day Fiancé” might be all about getting a K-1 Visa, and how each of the couples fared during the 90-day stay of the foreign national in the US, but the TLC network that aired the franchise series didn’t have anything to do with their visa application – the TV producers were very specific about the casting requirements. The participating couples must have already filed the papers at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The TV crew’s job was only to document the events that happened, after the foreign citizen stepped onto US soil.
What to expect each season on “90 Day Fiancé”
“90 Day Fiancé” made its television debut on 12 January 2014, and for its first season, it featured four couples. It only had six episodes, but in its subsequent seasons, they added more, so each season consisted of 12 to 15 episodes.
One of the basic requirements when filing for a K-1 Visa was to provide signed documents of the couple’s intent to marry each other, and they were given three months to plan and execute it.
Some of the things that unfolded in these months were the content of the episodes of each season. All the challenges of living together under one roof were exposed and explored by the TV show.
Except for the first season, the TV series had a reunion episode, in which the couples were gathered together in one room and were asked tough questions that most of the viewers wanted answered. The fans were updated on the current status of the relationships of the participating couples – some of them were on the verge of breaking-up, and some were still trying their best to make it work. It was a tell-all episode in which everyone confessed what they felt about certain situations, and some of them made shocking revelations. A season typically didn’t end with resolved conflicts, and the viewers were mostly left to their imagination to decide if the couples ended up marrying or not.
Who was at risk of deportation on the “90 Day Fiancé”
With cultural and language differences, it was expected that most of the couples in “90 Day Fiancé” experienced miscommunication, but that problem could be fixed as long as both parties were willing to work on it. However, there were many reasons why there was an imminent threat of being deported from the US to a foreign fiancé. Some people thought that the process was easy, but it wasn’t because obtaining a K-1 Fiancé Visa only gave them legal entry to the US for about three months. If the marriage pushed through as planned, they were eligible to acquire CR1s, also known as conditional Green Cards, with validity for a couple of years. The marriage would be evaluated by Immigration officials, and if it was proven to be genuine, then the foreign spouse would be given a permanent Green Card renewable after 10 years.
Here’s a list of some of the cast members who were on the verge of getting deported:
Lara from Season Six
Larissa Dos Dantos Lima arrived in the US in 2018, as the Brazilian fiancée of Colt Johnson, a self-confessed Mama’s boy and software engineer from Las Vegas, Nevada. After they hit it off online, they physically met each other in Mexico, and after spending less than a week having fun in Cancun, they became engaged. She was totally disappointed when they started to live together, because she didn’t like the house, and the realization that she had to live with Colt’s mom under the same roof. They were eventually married, but it ended in divorce because they fought many times during their brief marriage. According to her husband, there were times when the fights became physical, and the police had to be called in to intervene. It was rumored that while Lara was feisty and volatile, Colt was manipulative. She was arrested three times for physical battery against her husband during their marriage, but all the charges were dismissed. On the third arrest, Colt filed for divorce on the same day.
Months after the divorce, Lara had another boyfriend, Eric Nichols. When they were literally about to move out of Las Vegas to live in Colorado, authorities from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement or ICE came to the house to arrest her, and they didn’t have any clue why. Her immigration lawyer came to clear up the misunderstanding, and she was released. The official word was that ICE was checking into her immigration status, and they were already processing her deportation. However, there were rumors that Colt and his mom, Debbie, might be behind I,t as they were hell-bent on having her deported. In the end, her relationship with Eric didn’t work out, and so she’s back in Las Vegas again, still looking for an American husband.
Mohamed from Season Two
Viewers of “90 Day Fiancé” regarded the Mohamed Jbali and Danielle Mullins pairing as one of the most controversial and scandalous in the TV show’s history. As with most of the couples in the TV show, they met through an online chat group.
He’s a 26-year-old guy from Tunisia, while she’s a 41-year-old mother from Ohio. Viewers were appalled when they heard Mohamed say on TV that he was only 55% attracted to Danielle – everyone concluded that his confession meant that he was using her to get a green card. She also discovered that he lied when he said that he had a job. However, they were able to hash things out, and even with the red flags, Danielle chose to marry him. Apparently, she was very much in love with Mohamed.
They stayed married for two and a half years, but had many marital issues along the way, including trust and intimacy. The fans were shocked when Danielle revealed that Mohamed found her private part smelly – he said that instead of taking care of the problem, she just cried and whined about it. To give credit to Mohamed, he wasn’t the one who revealed it but Danielle, as she couldn’t keep her mouth shut.
Fans surmised that the reason she shared it was because she thought she would gain support from the viewers. It backfired, as it was Mohamed who won people over, especially since when he was prodded about it, he chose not to elaborate. Aside from that, he discovered that she was deep in debt, and that she had been charged with fraud in the past. He even called the police to report that she opened accounts in his name, and that she stole money from him. After he acquired his conditional Green Card, he eventually left her and told her that he would file for divorce.; she was so mad at him and accused him of cheating. He wanted a divorce, but she threatened to have him deported by getting an annulment instead of a divorce. She said that she had lots of evidence to back her claims.
Mohamed convinced her to just divorce him after he begged, apologized for hurting her, and told her that she had committed mistakes too in their marriage. In the end, when they met again, he specifically told her that he would never contact her to ask for financial help, as he had a stable job as a trucker.
He would also never call her assistance regarding his immigration status, because it was between him and the government. Danielle, on the other hand, was thriving as a nurse, and dating a new guy.
Natalie Mordovtseva from Season Seven
Everyone thought that Natalie Mordovtseva and Mike Youngquist found real love when they were matched by Mike’s best buddy, who had a Ukrainian wife who turned out to be Natalie’s best friend. They started an online relationship, and were attracted to each other, despite the huge differences not only in lifestyle choices but also in beliefs. For instance, he was a simple guy who loved the rustic lifestyle and a huge believer in the existence of aliens. Natalie, on the other hand, was a city girl and was raised in a Christian household. He was a meat lover while she was a vegetarian. However, they both believed in the “love conquers all” adage, so they gave it a try after he proposed to her romantically, in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Things didn’t work out as they hoped, and when Mike’s mother saw that the couple was always fighting, she tried to stop the wedding by asking one of her friends to literally object during the ceremony. The friend rejected the request, since she saw that the couple was obviously smitten with each other, despite their problems. The mom claimed that Mike told her that he planned to have Natalie shipped out of the US and back to Ukraine, which he denied during one of the interviews. Despite the tense situation with Mike’s mother, the marriage didn’t end in divorce, however, fans learned that she dumped Mike after being married to him for six months. It was revealed that Mike never filed the necessary papers in the ICE for a change in her immigration status. While she’s staying in the US legally, she can still be deported if Mike doesn’t do something about her Green Card application.
Jay Smith from Season Six
Jay Smith met Ashley Martson when she attended a wedding in Jamaica. Their 10-year age gap didn’t seem to matter, as they hit it off immediately.
90 Day Fiance' star Ashley Martson just revealed that she found out who left the racist comments on her wedding page…
They found each other’s social media accounts, and continued dating online. When she returned to Jamaica to be with Jay for a vacation, he proposed and she accepted. It was a whirlwind relationship, with most of her friends and family doubting Jay’s intentions. After taking care of his K1-Visa, she sponsored him to live with her in the US, and it didn’t take long for the couple to be married in Las Vegas by April 2018. Unfortunately, the cracks in the marriage surfaced just days after the wedding – it seemed that Jay was quite a player and was caught chatting with other women via a dating app called Tinder. Ashley then filed for divorce in January 2019, as well as for a restraining order against him. When he violated that, she had him arrested and was tempted to get the ICE officials involved.
A few weeks later, they got back together, because Jay was able to change her mind and give their marriage a second chance. It was obvious that she was very much in love with him, and so she gave him another chance. However, their trust issues continued, as Jay couldn’t promise to be happy in a monogamous relationship.
Even during the reunion episode, he was unsure that he could stay loyal to Ashley, and she was devastated. They eventually separated by 2020 and Ashley ended the relationship permanently with a divorce that was granted in 2021, after she learned that Jay got another girl pregnant, which he denied.
Yara Zara from Season 8
Unlike other couples in the TV show “90 Day Fiancé,” the marriage of Yara Zara from Kyiv, Ukraine and Jovi Dufren from Larose, Louisiana did not end in divorce; they met through a dating app and had a one-night stand. They had chemistry, and oftentimes they arranged to have a vacation together. Unexpectedly, she became pregnant, so Jovi did the right thing by proposing and filing a K1-Visa so he could bring her to the US to live with him; however, she had a miscarriage before the visa was approved. There was no longer any sense of urgency, so it gave him enough time to assess if he was ready to push through with his marriage plans.
When the visa was approved, he brought her to the US to start a life with her, though most of his family believed that she was just using him for a Green Card.
They struggled with their marriage, but chose to work it out. It didn’t take long for Yara to become pregnant again. She shared in one of her YouTube videos that even after living in the US for a couple of years, she was still afraid that she could be deported back to Ukraine. While the chance of it happening was minimal as compared to the other foreign cast members, because her marriage was stable, she said that her life isn’t normal yet. She was allowed to visit her mother in Ukraine using a special permit, but was advised not to use it because she might not be allowed to return to her family in the US. She has yet to receive her green card, so she’s still living in constant fear. She realized that her stay in the US depended highly on the immigration officer.
How Does a Divorce Impact The Chance of Getting A Green Card?
The producers of “90 Day Fiancé” claimed that out of every 25 couples that they featured in the TV show, only about 10% ended in divorce. Most viewers doubted the authenticity of the love between couples in the show, specifically because they think that the foreign citizens only want to avail themselves of the Green Card. Being married in the US does not automatically give any foreign partner a permanent Green Card, and being divorced does not mean the US citizen immediately relinquished his or her financial responsibility towards the foreign partner.
Some of the couples in the show were shocked when they learned about the impact of divorce in their lives; most of them never thought that they would be in such a tricky situation. The foreign partners would diminish their chances of getting a green card renewable in 10 years if they filed for a divorce before they acquired it. The American cast members, on the other hand, were appalled when they learned that they were still financially responsible for their spouses even after the divorce, because their partners weren’t allowed yet to earn money in the US due to their status. Most of the “90 Day Fiancé” foreign citizens whose marriages ended in divorce were only given two years to stay in the US, and after that would be deported back to their countries, unless they find another way to make their stay legal.