Will Trump’s Immigration Policies Prevent Nick & Vanessa From Happily Ever After?

Photo: Terhi Tuovinen/ABC.
Nick Viall and Vanessa Grimaldi are in love and engaged, but the couple's post-The Bachelor happily ever after might have to wait.
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Why? Well, because Grimaldi is Canadian and now the pair will have to face the super-fun U.S. immigration system in order to be together. (We're being totally sarcastic. It's not going to be fun at all.) If Grimaldi still plans on leaving Montreal, she will have to spend a lot of money and wait a long time before being able to legally join Viall in the U.S.
And before you blame President Trump and the new administration, this is actually one of the few times they're not at fault these days. The U.S. immigration system has been broken for a long time. Instead, you can blame members of Congress for the draconian process. They're the ones who time and time again have stalled or refused to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Ahead, we list the possible options Grimaldi has and the obstacles she could face for each type of visa permit.
This would be the most obvious option, right? After all, they're already engaged. But it's likely that this would not be the route they'll choose. If Grimaldi applied for a K-1 visa, she would have to marry Viall within 90 days of obtaining it. Right now, the couple acknowledges they need some time to get to know each other better and they have not set a wedding date yet. After the wedding, Grimaldi would have to submit even more documents, proving she married Viall, and the couple would have to undergo a lengthy process to prove their marriage is legit.
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Another option is for Grimaldi to find work in the U.S. and be sponsored through an employment visa. As a Canadian, she has a couple of options: the H-1B visa "to work in a specialty occupation"; a TN visa, which is available to people from Canada thanks to the NAFTA agreement; and an L visa, which she could use if she works at a company in Canada and gets transferred to a U.S.-based office.
But getting one of these visas is not that simple.
For the TN permit, she must have a job in the required occupations list. As a special-ed teacher, she wouldn't qualify. Unless she changes career paths, getting this visa would be impossible.
In the case of the H-1B visa, she would have to be a "specialty worker," i.e. have a higher education degree or an equivalent, be a fashion model like first lady Melania Trump, work with the Department of Defense, or be part of a government-to-government research program. Grimaldi's employer would also have to go through great lengths to sponsor her. And even if all of that works out, there's still the dreaded lottery system. Grimaldi would have to file her application on April 1, along with thousands of other applicants. If her number doesn't come up, no visa for her.
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To obtain an L visa, Grimaldi would have to be employed continuously by a company for at least a full year before it can transfer her to a branch in the U.S.
It's possible for Grimaldi to come to the U.S. on a tourist visa, which can last her up to six months and be renewed. But there are caveats: She wouldn't be able to work while she's on this visa, and she'd have to look for a more permanent solution if she wants to remain in the U.S.
Grimaldi has said that she wants to establish a charity for people with learning disabilities. An E-2 investor visa could be an option if she wants to launch her charity in the U.S. The only issue is that this type of permit requires a "substantial" investment. Grimaldi would have to prove not only that she has the funds and the business plan to make her charity work, but also that she would be actively managing it.
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This type of visa would be a long shot for Grimaldi. The only people who obtain O visas are those "with extraordinary ability or achievement in the sciences, arts, education, business, athletics, or extraordinary recognized achievements in the motion picture and television fields, demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim, to work in their field of expertise."
The Bachelor may be incredibly popular, but one season is not enough for Grimaldi to qualify for this permit. Now, if ABC offered her more TV appearances or the opportunity to pursue a spin-off, that might add more weight to her application. However, so far it doesn't seem like Grimaldi wants to make a career in the entertainment industry.
The most realistic option is for the couple to get married before starting the visa process. That way, they wouldn't have the pressure of the 90-day deadline and the second application required by the fiancé(e) visa. For the first two years of their marriage, Grimaldi would have to hold a "conditional residence" or CR visa. When that time frame ends, she would be able to apply for a green card, which would allow her to be a permanent resident of the U.S.
So there you have it, Bachelor Nation. Like with many other families and couples who have been separated because of the U.S. immigration system, it seems like it might be a while before these two can formally start their life together.
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