Key Steps in Filing Form I-129F for Your Foreign Fiancée

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What is Form I-129F?

Form I-129F, also known as the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e),” is a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) form used by U.S. citizens who wish to bring their foreign fiancé(e) to the United States for the purpose of getting married. The I-129F petition is the first step in the process of obtaining a K-1 visa, which allows the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. and marry the U.S. citizen petitioner within 90 days of arrival.

Key points to understand about Form I-129F and the K-1 visa process include:

1. Purpose: The primary purpose of Form I-129F is to establish that the U.S. citizen petitioner and the foreign fiancé(e) have a legitimate intention to get married within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States.

2. Eligibility: To be eligible to file Form I-129F, the petitioner (U.S. citizen) must

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Intend to marry the foreign fiancé(e) within 90 days of their entry into the U.S.
  • Have met their fiancé(e) in person within the two-year period preceding the filing of the petition (with certain limited exceptions).

3. Process:

  • The U.S. citizen petitioner files Form I-129F with USCIS.
  • Once USCIS approves the petition, it is forwarded to the National Visa Center (NVC) for additional processing.
  • The NVC sends the approved petition to the U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country.

4. K-1 Visa Application: After the approved petition is received by the U.S. embassy or consulate, the foreign fiancé(e) can apply for a K-1 visa by submitting additional documents and attending a visa interview.

5. Marriage Requirement: Once the foreign fiancé(e) enters the U.S. on a K-1 visa, they and the U.S. citizen petitioner must marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s entry. After marriage, the foreign spouse can apply for Adjustment of Status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder).

6. K-2 Visa for Children: If the foreign fiancé(e) has children under the age of 21, they can apply for K-2 visas to accompany the parent to the U.S.

It’s important to note that the K-1 visa process can be complex and may involve various steps, including document collection, medical examinations, and visa interviews. The information provided here is a general overview, and procedures and requirements can change over time. It’s recommended to consult the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney for accurate and up-to-date information about Form I-129F and the K-1 visa process.

What documents must be filed with Form I-129F?

When filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), you need to provide supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility and the bona fide nature of your relationship with your foreign fiancé(e). These documents help U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) determine the legitimacy of your intention to marry and your eligibility to sponsor your fiancé(e) for a K-1 visa. Keep in mind that the list of required documents may vary based on individual circumstances and USCIS requirements. Here’s a general list of documents that are commonly submitted with Form I-129F:

  • Form G-1145, E-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance (Optional):

Use this form to request electronic notifications (email or text message) when USCIS receives your petition.

  • Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e):

The completed and signed petition form itself.

  • Filing Fee Payment:

Payment for the filing fee associated with Form I-129F. Check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date fee information.

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship:

Copies of documents proving your U.S. citizenship, such as a U.S. passport, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship.

  • Proof of Meeting in Person:

Evidence that you and your fiancé(e) have met in person at least once within the two-year period before filing the petition. Examples of evidence include photographs together, travel itineraries, boarding passes, hotel receipts, and affidavits from witnesses.

  • Proof of Intention to Marry:

A signed statement from you and your fiancé(e) indicating your genuine intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s entry into the U.S.

  • Proof of Relationship:

Evidence that our relationship is genuine and not solely for the purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. This can include photos, letters, emails, chat logs, phone records, and any other documentation that demonstrates your relationship.

  • Passport Photos:

Passport-sized photos of both you and your fiancé(e), adhering to the U.S. visa photo requirements.

  • Divorce or Death Certificates (If Applicable):

If either you or your fiancé(e) has been previously married, provide copies of divorce decrees or death certificates to demonstrate the termination of previous marriages.

  • Additional Supporting Documents:

Any other documents that help substantiate the information provided in your petition and demonstrate the authenticity of your relationship.

Remember that USCIS may request additional evidence or documentation during the processing of your petition. Make sure to carefully follow the instructions on the USCIS website and in the Form I-129F instructions to ensure that you provide the correct documents and meet all the requirements. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate the process successfully.

How much does it cost to obtain a K-1 visa?

The cost associated with obtaining a K-1 visa can include various fees related to the petition filing, visa application, medical examination, and other related services. It’s important to note that fees can change over time, so it’s recommended to check the official U.S. government sources or consult with an experienced immigration attorney for the most up-to-date fee information.

Here are some of the key fees that may be associated with the K-1 visa application process:

The fee for filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  • Visa Application Fee:

The visa application fee that is paid directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate where the visa interview will be conducted. This fee can vary based on the country and the type of visa.

  • Medical Examination Fees:

The cost of the required medical examination, conducted by an approved panel physician, to ensure the visa applicant’s health and eligibility.

  • Police Clearance Certificates:

Fees associated with obtaining police clearance certificates from all countries where the fiancé(e) has lived for a certain period, demonstrating good moral character.

  • Passport Photos:

Passport-sized photos that meet the U.S. visa photo requirements.

  • Translation and Document Certification Costs:

If any documents need to be translated into English or certified, there may be associated costs.

  • Travel Expenses:

Costs associated with traveling to the U.S. embassy or consulate for the visa interview, as well as transportation and lodging expenses.

Please note that these fees are subject to change, and it’s important to review the fee instructions provided by the U.S. government agency handling your specific application, as well as the guidance on the official U.S. Department of State website. Additionally, consider seeking assistance from a reputable immigration attorney to ensure that you have accurate and current fee information and to guide you through the application process.

What happens after a K-1 visa is issued?

After a K-1 visa is issued, there are several important steps and considerations to keep in mind as you prepare for your fiancé(e) to enter the United States and proceed with your plans to marry. Here’s what typically happens after the K-1 visa is issued:

  • Receive the K-1 Visa Stamp: Once the U.S. embassy or consulate approves the K-1 visa application, your fiancé(e) will receive the K-1 visa stamp in their passport. This visa allows them to enter the United States for the purpose of getting married.
  • Travel to the United States: Your fiancé(e) can travel to the United States using the K-1 visa within the validity period specified on the visa stamp. The validity period usually gives a window of time during which your fiancé(e) must enter the U.S.
  • Port of Entry: Upon arrival in the United States, your fiancé(e) will go through U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspection at the designated port of entry. The CBP officer will review their visa and related documents.
  • I-94 Arrival/Departure Record: Upon successful entry, your fiancé(e) will receive an electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, which shows the authorized period of stay in the U.S. This period is typically 90 days, during which you must get married.
  • Getting Married: Within the 90-day period of your fiancé(e)’s authorized stay, you and your fiancé(e) should get married. It’s crucial to marry within this timeframe to be eligible for the next step in the immigration process.
  • Adjustment of Status (Form I-485): After getting married, your fiancé(e) can apply for Adjustment of Status to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). This process involves filing Form I-485 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the I-485 application is approved, your fiancé(e) will receive a conditional green card.
  • Work Authorization (Optional): Along with the I-485 application, your fiancé(e) can apply for a work permit (Employment Authorization Document, or EAD) if they wish to work in the U.S. while their green card application is being processed.
  • Conditional Green Card: Upon approval of the Adjustment of Status application, your fiancé(e) will receive a conditional green card, which is valid for two years. This card serves as proof of their lawful permanent resident status.
  • Removal of Conditions (Form I-751): Before the two-year validity of the conditional green card expires, you and your spouse will need to jointly file Form I-751 to remove the conditions and obtain a permanent 10-year green card.

It’s important to understand that immigration policies and procedures can change, so it’s recommended to consult the official U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website or seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney to ensure that you have accurate and up-to-date information about the steps to take after the K-1 visa is issued and the adjustment of status process.