Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé
Form I-129F Explained
What is Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé?
U.S. citizens may file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé, to request a K-1 visa for a foreign fiancé or a K-3 for a foreign national spouse. The K-1 visa enables a foreign national fiancé to enter the United States for the purpose of marriage to a U.S. citizen. A K-3 visa allows a foreign national spouse to enter the United States while awaiting a green card.
Specifically, the I-129F petition establishes a qualifying relationship so that the U.S. citizen’s beneficiary may apply for the K visa. The petition also initiates a request to the U.S. government to issue a K visa to the foreign national. K visas help reduce separation between U.S. citizens and their respective beneficiaries.
If you are a U.S. citizen, use Form I-129F to petition:
- Your foreign national fiancé as a K-1 nonimmigrant so that he or she may enter the United States to marry you and pursue adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident; or
- Your foreign national spouse as a K-3 nonimmigrant so that he or she may enter the United States to pursue adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident.
While petitioners may use the I-129F to request a K-3 visa for spouses, it is exceptionally rare that the State Department issues this visa.
Dependent children are generally included on the same petition if they are immigrating at the same time or within six months of the principal beneficiary. The U.S. citizen lists any unmarried children (under the age of 21) on the same petition.
K-1 and K-3 Visa Eligibility
Who files the I-129F petition?
Only U.S. citizens may file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. (However, U.S. nationals and lawful permanent residents may petition a spouse with Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.) The same form is used, regardless if the petitioner will file for a fiancé pursuing a K-1 visa or a spouse pursuing a K-3 visa:
Filing for Fiancé
Filing Form I-129F is the first step for a foreign national fiancé to come to the United States for the purpose of marriage and permanently immigrating. In general, eligibility to file the I-129F petition requires that you and your fiancé:
- Are legally free to marry and intend to marry within 90 days of your fiancé’s admission to the United States;
- Have met each other in person within the two years immediately before you file the petition, unless you establish that either:
- The requirement to meet your fiancé in person would violate strict and long-established customs of your fiancé’s foreign culture or social practice, and that any and all aspects of the traditional arrangements have been or will be met in accordance with the custom or practice; or
- The requirement to meet your fiancé in person would result in extreme hardship to you; and
- Meet the requirements set in the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005.
The K-1 visa permits the foreign national fiancé to travel to the United States and marry his or her U.S. citizen sponsor within 90 days of arrival. If the K-1 nonimmigrant wants to remain in the United States, he or she must also file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status.
Filing for a Spouse
Filing Form I-129F is the second step for a foreign national spouse to come to the United States for the purpose of adjustment of status. In general, eligibility to file the I-129F petition requires that you and your spouse:
- Be legally married;
- Meet the requirements set in the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005; and
- Have a pending Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.
The K-3 visa permits the foreign national spouse to travel to the United States and file Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. The purpose is to reduce the time a U.S. citizen and spouse may need to be separated while waiting for an immigrant visa through consular processing.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of State rarely issues K-3 visas in practice. That’s because they will generally approve the immigrant visa (CR1/IR1) more quickly than the K-3 status. For that reason, many people who start the K-3 process are never issued the K-3 visa. Instead, they interview soon after the I-130 approval and enter the United States with an immigrant visa (green card).
However, there is no USCIS fee to request the K-3 visa. CitizenPath's online immigration services can help you make a request for the K-3 visa, but it is likely that the immigrant visa will be issued first.
USCIS I-129F Online Filing
Can Form I-129F be filed online?
At this time, there is no way to file Form I-129F electronically, but you can prepare the form with an online service to make sure you do it correctly.
USCIS has not introduced online filing for this form. Regardless, e-file doesn't necessarily mean you get quick processing. If you are interested a quick approval, focus on submitting a well-prepared petition package. It’s the difference between saving a couple of days with online filing versus saving several weeks with smooth processing. What’s more, USCIS is not your advocate. They are not looking out for your best interests. If you include information that damages your immigration future, USCIS isn’t going to correct you.
For people who want to make sure they are preparing the petition correctly, CitizenPath offers an affordable service created by immigration attorneys. CitizenPath’s K-1 Visa Petition Package will make the petition easy and give you alerts if there’s a problem. You’ll also receive detailed filing instructions so you know exactly which supporting documents to submit with your petition. CitizenPath even provides a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your petition.
Form I-129F Instructions
How do I fill out I-129F?
CitizenPath's easy-to-use website helps you prepare the petition quickly and accurately. Our online service provides step-by-step Form I-129F instructions so that you can fill out the petition in just a few minutes. We even give you a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your petition.
If you prefer to fill out the PDF-based application, you can download instructions from USCIS or follow this summary of directions.
- Type or print answers in black ink only.
- Enter “N/A” if an answer is not applicable and "NONE" if your answer is zero.
- Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English certified translation.
- Submit your petition with the current USCIS filing fee. Use a personal check, money order, cashier’s check or use Form G-1450 to pay by credit card.
- Submit photocopies for all supporting documents unless an original document is specifically required.
- For Information About You, indicate the type of visa (K-1 or K-3) that you requesting for the beneficiary.
- For Names, use the petitioner's current legal name. Be sure to list any other versions of your name that you've used in the past (such as a maiden name).
- For Your Addresses, provide any address where you can safely receive mail. Include your current physical address only if it is different than your mailing address. You should include a full five years of address history.
- For Your Employment History, provide the petitioner's employers for the past five years. If self-employed, you may enter "Self-employed" in the space for a company name.
- For Your Marital Information, provide a complete accounting of your marital history. This is particularly important to show that any past marriages were terminated. USCIS will not approve a petition if there's a chance you're still married to someone else.
- For Your Citizenship Information, indicate how you became a U.S. citizen. You may proceed if you are a citizen and do not have your certificate. However, you will need some proof of citizenship (like a U.S. passport) when filing Form I-129F.
- For Information About Your Beneficiary, use the beneficiary's current legal name. Also include details about the beneficiary's alien registration number and Social Security Number if you have them. This information is not mandatory and most beneficiaries will not have these numbers.
- For Addresses for Your Beneficiary, provide an address where the beneficiary can safely receive mail. Also include five years of physical address history.
- For Your Beneficiary's Employment History, provide the beneficiary's current employment situation and any other employers over the past five years. If self-employed, you may enter "Self-employed" in the space for a company name.
- For Other Information About Your Beneficiary, provide a complete accounting of the beneficiary' marital history. Again, this is particularly important if your beneficiary was ever previously married. It is also critical that you list any children (under the age of 21 years). Children on an approved Form I-129F may apply for the K-2 visa to accompany their K-1 parent or come within six months of the parent's entry.
Part 3 and 4
- For Criminal Information, indicate if the petitioner has ever had criminal history that includes the listed offenses. If you have ever been arrested, speak to an immigration attorney to understand how that incident may affect your petition.
- For International Marriage Broker (IMB) Information, disclose if you met your spouse through the services of an International Marriage Broker. This generally weighs negatively on your petition. Speak to an immigration attorney if you believe you met your spouse through an IMB.
- For Biographic Information, answer how the petitioner identifies in terms of race and ethnicity. Indicate other details about your height, weight, eye color and hair color.
Parts 5, 6, and 7
- For Petitioner's Statement, the petitioner should provide the requested information. Provide an email and U.S. phone numbers where USCIS can reliably reach you. USCIS will rarely call petitioners, but they will use email. Sign the petition with black ink. A surprising number of I-129F rejections are the result of petitioners forgetting to sign or signing in the wrong place.
- For Interpreter and Preparer, provide information if applicable. If another person translated or prepared the petition for you, be sure Parts 6 and 7 are filled in and signed appropriately.
This is an abbreviated list of Form I-129F instructions. We highly recommend that you download USCIS instructions or use CitizenPath’s service to prepare the petition. CitizenPath provides step-by-step guidance through the petition. You’ll also get detailed I-129F filing instructions that explain which supporting documents to submit, how to organize, and where to mail.
Submit the Petition
Where to send Form I-129F?
USCIS accepts the I-129F petition via mail only. They do not want petitioners to submit Form I-129F in-person at USCIS offices.
Although USCIS currently receives all petitions at the Dallas Lockbox, they will generally process the form at a separate service center.
If you are sending via the U.S. Postal Service, mail the package to:
P.O. Box 660151
Dallas, TX 75266-0151
If you will send via a courier service like FedEx, UPS or DHL, mail the package to:
Attn: I-129F (Box 660151)
2501 South State Highway 121 Business
Lewisville, TX 75067-8003
Please note that USCIS does occasionally change lockbox locations that receive petitions. Refer to your CitizenPath filing instructions or the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.
I-129F Petition Processing Time
How long does it take?
USCIS processing times for the I-129F petition and the K-1 visa vary significantly based on the USCIS and National Visa Center case load. The adjudication of the petition will typically take a four to eight months. USCIS is reporting processing times in excess of one year for some service centers. However, CitizenPath customers generally receive an approval more quickly. For an in-depth look at what happens after filing Form I-129F, visit our K-1 visa processing time line.
Once the consular officer approves the K-1 visa, the foreign national fiancé has a total of six months from the date of approval to travel to the United States.
Upon arrival, the couple must marry within 90 days. If the couple decides not to get married, the foreign national will not be eligible to remain in the United States (after the 90 days) and must depart the U.S.
How CitizenPath Helps You
Is there an inexpensive way to file the I-129F petition?
CitizenPath's affordable, online service makes it easy to prepare Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé. Designed by immigration lawyers, the K-1 Visa Petition Package helps you eliminate the common errors that create delays, rejections and even denials. That's because the service alerts you when your answer to a question may be a problem. You'll also get customized filing instructions based on your situation. It's a powerful, do-it-yourself tool that puts you in control. And we've got your back -- CitizenPath provides live customer support and provides a money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve your petition.
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