If you haven’t heard of 90 Day Fiance, it’s a cringe-worthy TLC show taking the internet by storm due to its awkward interactions and toxic relationships. Told in 45-minute intervals, 90 Day Fiance is a reality show that follows several different couples as they prepare to get married.
One partner in these couples is a U.S. citizen and the other is a foreigner who is coming to the country under the conditions of the K-1 fiance visa. The K-1 fiance visa is given to a foreign national who is engaged to a U.S. citizen; once the visa application is approved the K-1 visa is issued, they can come to the U.S., and they have 90 days to get married, hence the name of the show.
All couples in this show have met online, and it’s a bit obvious to viewers that some of these foreigners are using desperate Americans to gain permanent residency, hence the relationship between Jorge and Anfisa or Ed and Rose.
Outside of the comedic value, the series also offers a rare glimpse into the lives of those dealing with the U.S. immigration system, something most Americans do not think about in their everyday lives. By humanizing the paperwork and pressure that goes into getting this kind of visa, many Americans might have more sympathy for those who are trying to immigrate.
The presidential campaign and proceeding election of Donald Trump showed the public how ignorant some Americans are to the struggles of non-citizens. Many Americans do not understand why people are in this country illegally, as they think they are not green card holders or citizens because they are lazy or don’t want to pay taxes. In reality, neither is true, and anyone who watches 90 Day Fiance can vouch for the fact that the process is complicated and requires a lot of documentation and paperwork.
The series finds subjects by posting calls to support groups for those trying to get K-1 visas. They also reach out to law offices of immigration in Los Angeles so that Los Angeles family immigration lawyers can ask their clients if they would like to be featured.
Alon Orstein, senior vice president of production and development for TLC, told CNN that the show has zero involvement with the visa application process.
“We were very interested in how we could do something truly different in the love and relationship space,” Orstein said. “The notion of this 90-day ticking clock for a major, life-changing decision was intriguing to us. While many of the shows in this genre at the time were produced in a manufactured setting, we were drawn to the real-life roller coaster journeys of these couples and their impending deadlines.”
Regardless of one’s views on immigration, anyone who has watched this show can see the entertainment value.