You need to do more than just fill in the blanks on Form I-129F for your fiancé visa petition. The government wants additional written proof of two issues—that the two of you have met in person within the last two years, and that you really intend to marry. There are also some miscellaneous requirements, such as photos and fees. We’ll review all of these below.
You should attach a personal statement, drafted by the petitioner, explaining how you first met, when and where you have since met in person, and at what point you decided to get married. No need to include private, intimate information. But include enough detail to make it convincing.
Assuming you and your fiancé have met in person, look for documents that will prove this fact. Documents from a neutral, outside source such as an airline or landlord are best. Some possibilities include:
• dated photos of you together (if your camera doesn’t put an electronic date on the photo, write it on the back, and also write where you were)
• copies of plane tickets (including boarding passes) that you used to meet each other
• copies of passports showing the stamps from when you traveled to see each other, and
• credit card receipts showing the two of you spending money or staying at the same place and same time.
If you and your fiancé have not met in person, and do not wish to do so for religious reasons or because it would present extreme hardship to the U.S. citizen, include documentation that will prove this. For example, this might include:
Your plans to actually marry are a crucial part of showing the you qualify for a K-1 fiancé visa. A simple statement signed by both fiancés will often be enough. If USCIS asks for more proof, some possible documents to present to USCIS with the visa petition are:
If the two of you are adults who have never been previously married and are not blood relations, you may not have to attach any documents proving your ability to marry. In many couples, however, one of the two people has been previously married, in which case you will need to prove that that marriage was legally ended. To do so, attach copies of such documents as:
annulment decree, or
Your fiancé visa petition will need to include the following:
• Proof of petitioner’s U.S. citizenship status. This might include a copy of a birth certificate, passport, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship, or Form FS-20 (Report of Birth Abroad of a U.S. Citizen).
• Photos. You must submit one passport-style color photograph of yourself and one passport-style color photograph of your fiancé, two by two inches in size, showing your current appearance. Both photos must have been taken within 30 days of the date of filing the petition. The State Department provides information on what a “passport-style” photograph is. However, USCIS regulations permit you to submit a photo that doesn’t completely follow the instructions if you live in a country where such photographs are unavailable or are cost prohibitive.
• Fee. USCIS fees go up fairly regularly, so check for the latest one at www.uscis.gov/fees or by calling 800-375-5283. Make checks or money orders payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Don’t send cash.)
If the U.S. citizen petitioner has ever been convicted of any violent crime, sexual assault, or a crime involving domestic violence or substance abuse (a more complete list of crimes is provided in the instructions to Form I-129F), you need to include certified copies of all police and court records showing the outcome.
This is required even if the records were sealed or otherwise cleared. All of this information (except for victim’s names) will be passed on to the immigrant during the consular interview. Get a lawyer’s help in this instance.
To prevent abuse of immigrants, the law limits the number of times a U.S. citizen can petition for a K-1 fiancé. If the U.S. citizen has filed two or more K-1 visa petitions for other immigrants in the past (no matter how long ago that occurred), or had a K-1 visa petition approved for another immigrant within the past two years, the U.S. citizen must request a waiver (official forgiveness) from USCIS.
To succeed with the waiver request, your best bet is to show unusual circumstances, such as the death (by natural causes, of course) of the prior immigrant. If the U.S. citizen has a history of violent crime, the waiver will be denied.
The procedure for requesting a waiver is to attach a signed and dated letter to Form I-129F, along with any supporting evidence. However, we strongly recommend getting a lawyer’s help with your waiver request.