Back in August of 2015 I had posted about marrying a Kuwaiti women in Kuwait without the consent of her guardian. The posting has been well received and gotten a few comments and a storm of emails over the course of the last year or so. I personally never finished out the process, due to business travel taking priority over a sheet of paper made difficult to obtain by loads of red tape. It seems like every time you make some traction there is another roadblock or obstacle to overcome. For Nouf and I, we are content with the document we got in the US. Nothing has been made difficult for us, for example every landlord we have had has been accepting of the US document we present them with, if they ask for proof of marriage before allowing us to sign a lease.
The most asked question has been, how do we simply leave? What are my options? As an American, I, and potentially you depending on your passport have a very simple option: K-1 visa. You the petitioner will sponsor your significant other to come to the US as your fiance, VisaJourney has a nice guide on it found here. It is a mountain of paperwork, so be prepared, and in some cases you might want to hire someone to look over it if you are really unsure. Once you get through all of the madness of paperwork you will be interviewed at a later date, and once they recommend approval and place the K-1 visa in your significant others passport you have 90 days to go to the US and get married. While I am an advocate of doing this the right way and working with your significant others family if it is possible. I do realize that under many circumstances this is not a viable option.
So what is the catch? This sounds too easy and too good to be true? Its not, but you need…
- Have lots of patience, this process can take months! Look here for an example.
- Have a plan, remember you may not be able to return to Kuwait or another gulf state (as applicable)
- A red notice could get slapped on your passport if the family reports you kidnapped her and it gets taken very seriously, obviously if both of you say you left at your own free will and no one was under duress it would probably get resolved quickly.
- Travel ban and potential for charges to be file for both of you if you try to come back
- Have a complete understanding on what you are about to execute, this is not a reversible action
- Have sympathy and understanding
- Beyond execution, you are faced with damaging your significant others feelings as they are leaving what they knew, their country, and their friends to be with you!
- See what the damage or impact to your career will be
- If you are the breadwinner, can you move back into a similar role and maintain the same standard of living you have been accustomed to?
- Will your significant other be fine with this past the honeymoon period?
- Make sure you doing this for the right reasons and your significant other is not just trying to get away from something here.
This is the route I chose. It was significantly difficult and put Nouf and I under a bit of a strain at the beginning. I received a number of threats from her family, which was a bit frustrating more than it was worrying – really who was going to come to go to Mexico and harm me? I had a higher chance of the drug cartels there randomly targeting me than I did of them finding us there. It took months to thaw the relationship with my wife’s family and a meeting in the US with her father. Just remember this method will put your relationship through one of the biggest tests it will endure.
Time allowing, I would like to finish out this process one day, with or without the help of my in-laws and without the additional cost of an attorney. Likely this day will be when I am closing out my time in the Middle East and decide its time to go home or seek a change of scenery on my drive to work everyday.