’90 Day Fiancé: Why the Foreign Castmembers Rarely Get Paid

When watching 90 Day Fiancé, you may wonder what would make a person get on national tv and broadcast some of the cringy moments that we see to the entire nation. Well, money. That mixed with the possibility of fame is an intoxicating offer. It’s a common trope on 90 Day Fiancé shows that people assume that the foreign cast members are just in the relationships for money or green cards. But when it comes down to paychecks, they are actually the ones who get the short end of the stick. So, how much are people paid to go on the show and why do the foreign cast members tend to get less?

David Murphey and Lana of '90 Day Fiancé' on Instagram
David Murphey and Lana of ’90 Day Fiancé’ | Instagram @davidjmurphey

How does ’90 Day Fiance’ find people?

If people were truly just on the show for money, then you would think there would be some kind of lengthy audition process. But to ensure authenticity, sometimes people are scouted for the show. Ashley Smith, who appeared on season 6, said that she was already applying for the K-1 visa to bring her husband Jay Smith over when the show reached out.

“We were together way before the show ever was involved,” she said. “They became involved a week before Jay’s visa interview (His visa interview took 10 months from start to finish.) A casting agent messaged me on Facebook after I commented in an immigration chat room asking questions in regards to the interview process. I never heard of the show or applied.”

Executive producer Matt Sharp also confirmed that the people on the show are actual couples who were already planning on living together in America.

“These are people that are very much in the queue for a visa already,” he said on the Reality Life podcast.

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“We always wanted this to be a super-authentic, warts and all, look at love in this amazing world, very raw, the producers we brought in…a lot of them came from the Teen Mom world,” he said. “There’s an authenticity to that show, too.”

How much does the cast get paid?

For how popular the show has become, the cast members are paid a relatively low salary.

According to Screen Rant, the cast makes $1,000 per episode that they appear on. It’s hard to know how many episodes a cast member will be on until the season is edited. For instance, Yolanda from the most recent season of 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days appeared on significantly fewer episodes than her castmates.

If the cast members appear on the tell-all, they reportedly receive extra money, though some are not invited back to the reunion special.

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Stars who appear on the spin-offs Before the 90 Days and The Other Way stand to make less money than those who appear on the original show.

The foreign parties on the show are not US citizens, which complicates their payment. Due to this, some outlets like The Blast have reported that only the Americans on the show get paid and then are expected to in turn pay their partners. This payment method presumably gets very dicey for couples who end up breaking up.

But all is not lost, even for the foreign members of the relationships, because after the season ends, most are able to land Instagram sponsorships and start Cameo accounts to make money.