In order to being the process of applying for a K-1 fiance visa (which allows a foreign citizen to enter the U.S and spend 90 days, with the purpose of marrying a U.S. citizen), the first person that the U.S. government wants to hear from is the U.S. citizen half of the couple. He or she will be responsible for preparing what’s called a fiancé visa petition, on Form I-129F. It's available as a free download on the Form I-129F page of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.
The purpose of this petition is to alert the immigration authorities that the U.S. citizen fiancé is planning to marry the immigrant fiance and is willing to participate in the visa application process. The immigrant plays a minor role at this step, but should help the petitioning fiancé gather information and documents.
Line-by-Line Instructions for I-129F Visa Petition
This section will give you precise instructions for filling out Form I-129F.
Don’t confuse your forms. Form I-129F is the proper one to use for a fiancé visa petition. There is another USCIS form called simply I-129, without the letter F. It is completely different (and much longer), so don’t mix the two up!
The first thing to notice about Form I-129F is that it runs in two columns. The left column, or Section A, asks for information about the U.S. citizen fiancé. The right column asks for information about you, the immigrating fiancé.
Question 1: The U.S. citizen fiancé must enter his/her last name (surname) in all capital letters, but the other name(s) in small letters. For example, if the name is Sam Lawrence Cole, enter “COLE” in the first box, “Sam” in the second box, and “Lawrence” in the third box. Always spell out the entire middle name.
Questions 2-5: Self-explanatory.
Question 6: Check only one box, and make sure it is not the one that says “married.” The couple can’t be already married and use a K-1 fiancé visa.
Question 7: Don’t let the phrase “including maiden name” throw you. (A maiden name is the woman’s name before marriage; in many cultures, she takes the husband’s name upon marrying.) You shouldn’t yet be married to one another. (If you are married, you don’t qualify for a K-1 fiancé visa and should instead most likely be applying for an immigrant visa as an immediate relative (spouse). There is something called a "K-3" visa for married couples, which does in fact use Form I-129F, but no one really uses this anymore.) But if the U.S. citizen fiancé has had other names by previous marriages, include these here.
Question 8: Self-explanatory.
Question 9: There’s a reason for these questions: The U.S. citizen fiancé’s prior marriages must have ended before he/she is eligible to sponsor the immigrant. Make sure that under Date(s) Marriage(s) Ended he or she gives the date the divorce became final, not the date the two split up housekeeping. USCIS will only accept a final divorce as proof that the marriage ended.
Question 10: If the U.S. citizen fiancé’s citizenship was obtained through naturalization, the number can be found at the top right-hand side of the naturalization certificate. The date and place issued are also shown on the certificate.
Question 11: If the U.S. citizen has tried to or succeeded in sponsoring other fiancés, USCIS will surely take a look at those files to make sure there was no fraud involved. The agency knows that it is possible for a U.S. citizen to fall in love with more than one foreign-born person, and for the first marriage to end. But there are U.S. citizens who charge money to marry and sponsor noncitizens, and USCIS is on the lookout for them.
Now we are back to the foreign-born fiancé.
Questions 1-5: Self-explanatory.
Question 6: Check only one box, and make sure it is not the one that says “married.”
Question 7: See explanation, Part A, Question 7.
Question 8: The immigrant won’t have a Social Security number unless he or she has lived in the United States; insert “N/A” if the immigrant doesn’t have one.
Question 9: The Alien Registration Number or A-Number is an eight- or nine-digit number following the letter “A” (for “Alien”) that USCIS (or the former INS) assigns to people who applied for permanent or in some cases temporary residence, or have been in deportation/removal proceedings.
Questions 10 and 11: These questions relate to the eligibility requirement that previous marriages must have ended through valid means such as divorce or death.
Question 12: Presumably you would enter “N/A” here, to show that the immigrant is not in the United States.
Question 13: This refers to all the immigrant's children, whether born of this current relationship or a previous one.
Question 14: Hopefully the intended address in the United States is the same as that of the U.S. citizen fiancé, or USCIS will raise questions. Even if the two of you will spend some time apart, such as for school or work, the married home should be the immigrant's permanent address. If there is a compelling reason that the immigrant will have a completely separate residence, attach documents to explain why, or consult with a lawyer.
Question 15: Self-explanatory.
Question 16: If the visa applicant's native language uses a non-Roman script (for example, Russian, Chinese, or Arabic) write name and address in that script.
Question 17: If you and your fiancé are related by blood, you will need to make sure that marriage between you is legally permissible in the U.S. state where it will take place.
Question 18: You will need to attach a page to fully answer this question regarding your meeting Statement. Note that this is also where you would to explain any reason why you need a waiver of the personal meeting requirement. Although the main purpose is to show that you have fulfilled the personal meeting requirement, this statement presents a fine opportunity to include extra detail about your life with your fiancé. The idea is to show USCIS that this is a real relationship. Give enough personal detail that USCIS sees that you are for real, not just making empty statements.
Question 19: This question results from a relatively recent focus of Congressional concern regarding so-called “mail-order” spouses (who meet through the services of an international matchmaking agency). This group has been shown to be especially susceptible to domestic violence and abuse by the U.S. citizen petitioners. In response, Congress passed the International Marriage Brokers Regulation Act of 2005 (IMBRA). IMBRA requires a statement as whether the two of you met through an international marriage broker. If so, you must give information about the broker.
Question 20: Enter the name of the U.S. consulate with a visa processing office in the visa applicant's country; or if none exists, the one with power to handle visa requests from that country. (Don’t fret too much about getting it wrong; the USCIS Service Center will redirect your application for you when it approves the petition.)
Now the questions once again refer to the U.S. citizen petitioner.
Question 1: Self-explanatory.
Questions 2-3: If the U.S. citizen petitioner has a history of violent crime, crime relating to alcohol, or controlled substance abuse, he or she may be required to reveal this to USCIS. The petitioner should see an attorney if there is any question about whether this section applies. The fiance visa applicant will also be told of any relevant history.
The U.S. citizen needs to sign and date the forms under the paragraph that starts Your Certification.
Signature of person preparing form if other than above: This need not be filled in if you just got a little help from a friend. This line is mainly for lawyers or agencies who fill out these forms on others’ behalf.