How Do I Fill Out and Submit the I-129F Fiancé Visa Application?
So you’ve met the love of your life and you want to get married but the only thing standing in your way is that your fiancé isn’t a citizen of the United States. By submitting the I-129F you begin the process of obtaining a visa which will allow your fiancé to come to the United States for 90 days before getting married.
The I-129F form is also called a Petition for Alien Fiancé and can be found at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website (http://www.uscis.gov/i-129f).
As the U.S. citizen in your relationship, you will be responsible for initiating the process by filling out and submitting the form. After this, your fiancé will be given the opportunity to apply for a visa and you can be well on your way to a happy life together in the United States of America.
Fiancé Visa Requirements
To petition for a fiancé visa, you and your future spouse will have to meet the following requirements:
- You (the petitioner) are a U.S. citizen.
- You intend to marry your fiancé within 90 days of when he or she enters the United States.
- You and your fiancé are both free to marry and any previous marriages have already been legally terminated by divorce, death, or annulment.
- You met each other in person at least once within 2 years of filing your petition.
However, an exception to the requirement of meeting each other in person may apply under the following circumstances:
- If meeting each other would violate strict and long-established customs or traditions of your or your fiancé’s culture or social practice.
- If you prove that the requirement to meet would result in extreme hardship to you.
If you meet these four requirements, your future spouse may be eligible for a fiancé visa. The first step in applying for an Alien Fiancé Visa is for you to fill out and submit the I-129F form.
Petition for Alien Fiancé
Form I-129F is a 6-page petition which you can find at the USCIS website. It asks for information about you, your fiancé, and your fiancé’s family.
Part 1 of the Petition for Alien Fiancé
The first part of the petition asks for basic personal information including your name, address, citizenship information, and past marriage history. This information should be straightforward and uncomplicated to fill in.
Part 2 of the Petition for Alien Fiancé
The second part of the petition calls for information about your fiancé and his or her family. This information includes all that was included in Part 1 plus a little more.
If you are not yet married, you should check the first box in Part 2 labeled K-1 Fiancé, indicating the type of visa your loved one will be applying for. If you are already married, you’ll need to check the box labeled K-3 Spouse. (For more information regarding the difference between K-1 Fiance Visas and K-3 Marriage Visas, see our companion article “What is the Difference Between the K-1 and K-3 Visa?”)
Filling out Part 2 may require you to contact your future spouse to gather information such as current address, place of birth, and information about his or her children if he or she has any. If your fiancé has been married in the past you will also need to provide information about your fiancé’s former spouse.
Part 3 of the Petition for Alien Fiancé
Part 3 of the Petition asks for information about whether you are currently serving in the Armed Forces overseas, if you have ever been convicted of certain crimes, and whether a waiver applies allowing you to file a third petition.
The convictions that must be reported include offenses such as domestic violence, controlled substance abuse, sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment, and others. Even if your records have been sealed or otherwise cleared you are required to report any convictions for those crimes listed in Part 3.
If you have any convictions to report you must provide additional information relating to the conviction(s) such as the crime involved, court dates, and sentencing. This should be done on a separate sheet of paper which you will include in the envelope with your petition.
If this is your third or more time to submit a Petition for Alien Fiancé, you cannot file it again unless one of the waivers listed in Part 3 applies.
If you have a criminal history, or you are concerned that a certain aspect of your past may prevent you from successfully filing the I-129F on behalf of your fiancé, we highly recommend that you speak with an attorney. Legalese can sometimes be its own language, and unless you know what USCIS is looking for with regards to any potential waiver it can be difficult to overcome a checkered past. Hiring an attorney will be well worth the cost.
Submitting Your Petition
Once you have filled in your application and assembled all the required evidence, you must submit a hard copy of your petition to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox. Your petition cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad.
For U.S. Postal Service, send your completed I-129F form to:
P.O. Box 660151
Dallas, TX 75266
For Express mail and courier deliveries:
2501 South State Hwy 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067
You can find additional filing information by visiting www.uscis.gov/i-129f. Filing fees and addresses occasionally change, so be sure to confirm before you send.
Once the USCIS has approved your petition it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will assign you a case number and send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé lives.
At this point you will receive a letter that your case has been sent to the local Embassy or Consulate and you should notify your fiancé to begin applying for his or her K-1 visa. The NVC will send instructions regarding next steps and how to finish the fiancé visa process, including how to pay filing fees and what evidence needs to be submitted to the local consulate. Even though you’ll be working primarily through the NVC, it’s a good idea for your fiancé to get to know the local U.S. Consulate in the event there are any delays or unusually long processing times for your fiancé visa.
Once the visa is approved, you and your fiancé should make plans for travel and marriage within 90 days of your fiancé’s entrance to the United States.