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The Ultimate Guide to Form I-129F - Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

In this article, we'll unpack everything you need to know about completing and filing Form I-129F, the petition for alien fiancé.

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The Ultimate Guide to Form I-129F - Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)

Are you a U.S citizen? Are you engaged to a foreign national? If you're thinking about bringing your fiancé to the United States for your wedding, then you need to complete Form I-129F, "Petition for Alien Fiancé."

Form I-129F is also necessary for those applicants that wish their finance to start the process to remain in the U.S as a lawful permanent resident.

In this article, we'll unpack everything you need to know about completing and filing Form I-129F, the petition for an alien fiancé.

What is the Immigration Issue Causing Applicants to File Form I-129F?

U.S citizens engaged in foreign nationals may wish to host their wedding in the United States. As a result, they will need to bring their fiancé into the country for the proceedings. 

However, the foreign national requires naturalization into the United States through a formalized process conducted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 

Obtaining a Green Card is a lengthy process that can sometimes take up to 18-months or longer, depending on the circumstances of the nonimmigrant visa application. During this period, the U.S. citizen must file Form I-129F, if they wish to bring their finance into the United States. 

Form I-129F also acts as the starting point for the citizen's fiancé to begin the permanent residency process. 

Form I-129F allows the U.S. citizen to notify the USCIS of their engagement to a foreign national, and their intention to marry. By using this strategy, the applicant sets in motion the necessary procedures to start the process of applying for a K-1 fiancé visa. 

By completing Form I-129, the applicant petitions for their finance, and they also have the right to request for children of the fiancé as well, provided they have an unmarried status, and they are under the age of 21-years-old.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements for the K-1 Fiancé Visa?

The USCIS has a set of qualifying criteria for the K-1 fiancé visa. 

  • The petitioner must be a United States citizen, not a permanent resident 

  • Both partners must have legal approval for marriage in the U.S. 

  • Both partners must state that they plan to marry

  • Blood relations in a marriage do not qualify

  • If it is same-sex marriage, the partners must be holding the wedding ceremony in a U.S. State that facilitates legal gay marriage

  • The immigrant must prove their intention to marry the U.S. citizen

  • The partners must already have a relationship extending back at least 2-years

It's important to note that the USCIS requires proof that the applicant and their partner can meet the above criteria. 

The USCIS also requires a meeting with the partners to assess the circumstances surrounding the application. However, if the applicant can prove that the meeting would create an undue hardship on one of the partners, then they may have the right to waive the face-to-face meeting. 

Tips for Applicants Completing Form I-129F

Applicants can acquire Form I-129F from the official USCIS website. The form is free for download, and applicants can complete the form electronically on their computer before filing. 

However, it's important to note that applicants cannot submit documents electronically through the website, and they'll need to mail Form I-129F and any supporting documents to the USCIS. Instructions for sending your application are on the USCIS website for review.

The following tips in this article refer to the edition of Form I-129F issued on 11/07/2018.

Form I-129F Exemptions and Disqualifying Criteria

In Part 1 – Questions 37 to 39, and Part 2 – Questions 6 and 34 to 36, both the visa applicant and the U.S. citizen need to provide the necessary documentation to prove they are either single, divorced, or widowed. If either of the partners is currently already married to someone else, then the USCIS will not accept your Form I-129F petition. 

Any immigrant married to a U.S. citizen, and wishing to enter the United States, must apply for the relevant immigrant visa, which is different from Form I-129F.

If the address for the foreign fiancé is in the United States, and the answer to Question 37 is that the finance is already in the United States, the partners might not need to apply for a fiancé visa.

If the fiancé had a previous lawful entry into the United States, then the partners might find it easier to marry, and then apply for permanent residence status through the adjustment of status process. This situation would be valid even if the fiancé's entry visa is past its expiration date.

Applicants should get legal advice from a qualified immigration attorney if they meet any of the above criteria. 

It's important to note that applicants must not confuse this process with making plans for the finance to arrive in the United States, and then break off the arrangement after they receive an adjustment of status to permanent residency. 

In such a case, the USCIS might charge both partners with fraud. In such a case, the finance would no longer qualify for a Green Card, and they risk permanent bar from the United States. 

Form I-129F – Relationship Details

Question 54 on Part 2 of Form I-129F requires the applicant to list the details surrounding how they met their fiancé. For this section, its best for applicants to enter "see attached document" in the box, and then write their statement out on a separate sheet of paper. 

The more intricate the details of your statement, the more likely the USCIS is to approve a K-1 visa for the fiancé. A detailed account of your relationship helps to show USCIS officers that your relationship is the real article and not a case of fraud.

Form I-129F – Further Information

For Question 55 to 61 of Part 2 of Form I-129F, as well as certain sections of Part 3 of the application, reflect on the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act (IMBRA). The purpose of this law is to discourage the practice of trafficking people into the United States through false marriages. 

The law also protects immigrants from marrying an individual accused or convicted of domestic violence against previous partners. It's important to note that the USCIS will reveal any prior criminal record of the petitioner to the fiancé. 

Those partners making use of a marriage broker, or those applicants with criminal records should consult with an experienced attorney from a reputable law firm before making their application.

Applicants only need to worry about Parts 6 and 7 if they require the use of an interpreter or attorney when completing the information on Form I-129F. 

If the applicant does use either of these professionals when submitting their Form I-129F, then they need to list the details of the professional and have them sign the document.

What Documents Must Petitioners include with the Form I-129F Application?

  • Applicants need to provide the following supporting documents when submitting their petition to the USCIS. 

  • Applicants must include one passport photo of each of the partners, taken no longer than 30-days before the submission of your application. 

  • Applicants must include evidence of the U.S. citizen's status, such as a birth certificate or U.S. passport documents. Applicants can also submit certificates of citizenship, naturalization, or the consular record of international birth.

  • Evidence that the partners can marry legally. Birth certificates are common forms of evidence to prove that the partners are unrelated. Birth certificates also show the partner's respective ages.

  • Evidence that the partners are legally divorced if separated from their previous partner. 

Applicants must show proof of intent to marry each other. Applicants can include a statement from the U.S. citizen stating how you met, why you want to marry, and when and where you plan on marrying after approval of the petition.

Applicants can also include catering contracts, wedding announcements, and an affidavit or letter from the pastor preceding over your marriage.

Applicants also need to submit proof that they met within the last 2-years. Qualifying documents like time-stamped photos, or copies, or travel documents featuring both of your names is acceptable evidence of your relationship.

If the applicants have never met in person before due to religious constraints, extreme hardship, or medical reasons, then the applicant must attach evidence of the claimed basis for a Form I-129F waiver.

If the U.S. citizen has a previous criminal record on convictions for crimes listed on Form I-129F, they must attach certified copies of any police or court records surrounding the conviction as well.

What IS the Filing Fee for Form I-129F?

In addition to providing the USCIS with all the necessary supporting documents and paperwork surrounding the Form I-129F application, U.S. citizens will also need to pay a filing fee for processing the documentation.

The current filing fee for Form I-129F is $535, as of 2019. Applicants can check the USCIS website for official listings of processing fees for all USCIS forms, petitions, waivers, and requests. 

What Is the Mailing Address for Form I-129F Applications?

Applicants must ensure they make copies of all the documents in their application before mailing it to the USCIS offices. Applicants can view the correct mailing address in the Form I-129F instructions. It's important to note that the mailing address is different from the physical address for the visa interview.

After submitting your application, the U.S citizen will receive a notification, including a tracking number, to help them monitor the progress of the application.

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