Form I-129F, also known as the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),” is a document used by United States citizens to apply for a K-1 visa on behalf of their foreign fiancé(e). The K-1 visa allows the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married to the U.S. citizen petitioner. After the marriage takes place, the foreign spouse can then apply for lawful permanent residence (a green card) in the United States.
The Form I-129F is typically filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Once the I-129F petition is approved, the case is forwarded to the U.S. Department of State’s National Visa Center, and then the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country, where they can apply for the K-1 visa.
It’s important to note that there are specific eligibility requirements and procedures associated with the K-1 visa process, and both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e) must meet certain criteria. Additionally, the couple must marry within 90 days of the foreign fiancé(e) entering the United States on the K-1 visa. If they do not marry within this timeframe, the foreign fiancé(e) must leave the country.
Before starting the K-1 visa process, it’s advisable to carefully review the most up-to-date instructions and requirements provided by USCIS to ensure a successful application.
How to apply for a K-1 visa?
Applying for a K-1 visa involves several steps, and it’s important to follow the process carefully to ensure a successful application. Here’s a general overview of how to apply for a K-1 visa:
- The U.S. citizen petitioner must be eligible to sponsor a fiancé(e) for a K-1 visa. You must be a U.S. citizen, not a permanent resident (green card holder).
- Both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry (i.e., neither is currently married to someone else).
- You and your fiancé(e) must have met in person at least once within the two years before filing the petition, with some exceptions for cases where meeting in person would create extreme hardship or violate cultural or religious customs.
- Complete Form I-129F:
- The U.S. citizen petitioner should complete and file Form I-129F, the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can find the form and its instructions on the USCIS website.
- Gather Required Documents:
- Along with the Form I-129F, you will need to submit supporting documents, including proof of your U.S. citizenship, evidence of your relationship, proof of in-person meetings, and any necessary translations.
- Pay the Filing Fee:
- Pay the required filing fee for Form I-129F. Check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information.
- USCIS Processing:
- USCIS will process the Form I-129F, and if approved, they will forward the approved petition to the National Visa Center (NVC).
- Visa Application:
- Once the NVC receives the approved petition, it will provide further instructions and information to the foreign fiancé(e) on how to apply for the K-1 visa. This typically involves completing the DS-160 visa application, undergoing a medical examination, and attending a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in their home country.
- Attend the Visa Interview:
- The foreign fiancé(e) will attend a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where they will be asked questions about their relationship and their intentions in the United States.
- Receive the K-1 Visa:
- If the visa is approved, the foreign fiancé(e) will receive a K-1 visa in their passport, allowing them to travel to the United States.
- Travel to the United States:
- The foreign fiancé(e) should travel to the United States within the validity period of the K-1 visa.
- Marry Within 90 Days:
- After arriving in the United States, the couple must marry within 90 days. If they do not marry within this timeframe, the foreign fiancé(e) must leave the country.
- Apply for Adjustment of Status:
- After getting married, the foreign spouse can apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).
Form I-129F checklist of required documents
When preparing Form I-129F, the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),” it’s essential to include all required supporting documents to ensure your application is complete and has the best chance of approval. Here is a checklist of the typical documents and information you will need to include with your I-129F petition:
- Form I-129F: Complete and signed by the U.S. citizen petitioner.
- Filing Fee: Pay the required filing fee, as indicated on the USCIS website. Make sure to include the correct payment method (e.g., check or money order) and follow USCIS instructions for payment.
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship: Provide evidence of your U.S. citizenship, such as a copy of your U.S. passport, birth certificate, or Certificate of Naturalization.
- Passport Photos: Include passport-sized photographs of both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e). These photos should meet the U.S. visa photo requirements.
- G-325A Biographic Information: Complete and include a G-325A form for both the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e).
- Proof of Meeting: You will need to provide evidence that you and your fiancé(e) have met in person at least once in the two years preceding the I-129F filing. Include documents like passport stamps, airline tickets, hotel receipts, photos, and affidavits from witnesses who can confirm the meeting.
- Proof of Legal Termination of Previous Marriages: If either you or your fiancé(e) was previously married, provide divorce decrees, annulment certificates, or death certificates to prove the legal termination of those marriages.
- Letter of Intent to Marry: Include a signed statement from both you and your fiancé(e) expressing your intent to marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the United States.
- Additional Evidence of the Relationship: You can include various documents to demonstrate the bona fide nature of your relationship, such as letters, emails, phone records, and photographs. Make sure the evidence is genuine and relevant to your relationship.
- Translations: If any of your supporting documents are in a language other than English, provide certified translations.
- Checklist: Include a checklist that outlines all the documents included in your petition package to help ensure nothing is missing.
- Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope: Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for USCIS to use when sending you notifications or a receipt.