Preparing Documents to Accompany Form I-129F Fiancé Visa Petition

Beyond the forms, what types of documentary proof you need to supply that you're eligible for a K-1 fiancé visa.

By , J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

If you are a U.S. citizen starting the process of petitioning your foreign-born fiancé to come to the U.S. for your wedding on a K-1 visa, realize that you will need to do much more than just fill in the blanks on Form I-129F. (That's the fiancé visa petition that starts the process). The U.S. government wants additional written proof of two issues, including:

  • 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 for what to send with the K-1 petition, such as photos and fees. We'll review all of these below.

Sample Fiancé Statement to Accompany I-129F

As a general way of proving that you have met and plan to marry, the U.S. citizen should attach (or include in "Part 8, Additional Information") a personal statement or letter. This should explain how the two of you first met or communicated, when and where you have met in person (particularly within the last two years), and at what point you decided to get married. There is no need to include private, intimate information. But do include enough detail and narrative to make it convincing. (Realistically, the spaces in Part 8 probably aren't enough for this, so it's wise to reference it there and attach something longer.)

Although not legally required, many couples have also found it helpful to include a letter from the foreign-born member of the couple, again affirming their intent to marry, providing details of the development of their relationship, and giving their perspective on the union. If this is originally written in a foreign language, you'll need to accompany it with a word-for-word translation into English. (See Sample Format for Translating Non-English Documents for Immigration Applications.)

Supplying Proof That the U.S. Citizen and Foreign Born Fiancé Have Met in Person

Assuming you and your fiancé have met in person within the last two years, look for documents that will prove this fact. The meeting does not have to have been a long one, nor a romantic one. Even a brief personal introduction, for example by a friend at a sports event or house of worship, will do.

Documents from a neutral, outside source such as an airline or landlord are best. Some possibilities include:

  • dated photos of you two together
  • affidavit by the person who introduced the two of you
  • copies of plane, ship, or bus tickets (including boarding passes) that you used in order to meet each other
  • copies of passports showing official stamps from when you traveled between countries to see each other, and
  • credit card receipts showing the two of you spending money or staying at the same place and same time.

These aren't the only possibilities. What you come up with will depend on the facts of your personal situation and where each of you lives.

If the U.S. Citizen and Foreign Born Fiancé Haven't Met in Person, Proof That You Qualify for an Exception

If you and your fiancé have not met in person, and do not wish to or cannot 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:

  • a letter from the foreign-born fiancé's parents
  • a letter from one or both members' of the couple's religious guide or spiritual leader
  • a detailed letter from a medical professional regarding the U.S. citizen's inability to travel, and
  • copies of relevant medical records.

Again, you'll want to tailor the documents to your personal situation. But the more authoritative and independent the source, the better.

Proof That the U.S. Citizen and Foreign Born Fiancé Truly Intend to Marry

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 (perhaps after you've filed the I-129F petition, in the form of a Request for Evidence or RFE), some possible documents to present with the petition are:

  • copies of cards and letters between you discussing your marriage plans (you can block out the most intimate sections)
  • copies of texts, emails, phone records, or online video call histories showing that you spoke with or otherwise contacted each other
  • wedding announcements, and
  • evidence of other wedding arrangements (such as a letter from the judge or religious leader who will perform the ceremony, contracts for food catering, photography, rented chairs, dishes, or other equipment, flowers, and musical entertainment).

Photocopies are usually sufficient, though if you could spare an original printed wedding announcement or invitation, it might avoid concerns that this was a cut-and-paste job.

Proof That the U.S. Citizen and Foreign Born Fiancé Are Legally Able to Marry

If the two of you are adults who have never been previously married and are not blood relations, you might 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:

  • divorce decree
  • annulment decree, or
  • death certificate.

Don't take the risk of trying to hide an existing marriage. If the bigamy is discovered, this could ruin the immigrating person's chances of qualifying for a green card or U.S. citizenship. The reason is that bigamy is considered a "crime of moral turpitude" under U.S. immigration law.

You might also need to prove legal ability to marry if you live in a state that normally restricts marriages such as yours. If, for instance, one of you is under age 18, and the state where you'll marry forbids this without parental consent, you'd need to show that you'd obtained such consent.

Additional Items to Accompany I-129F Fiancé Petition

Your fiancé visa petition will also need to include:

  • 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 style photograph is considered acceptable. 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 fee to file an I-129F at or by calling 800-375-5283. Make checks or money orders payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security or pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. (Don't send cash.)

Additional Document Requirements If the U.S. Citizen Has a Criminal Record

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.

Under the Adam-Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (the "Adam Walsh Act") U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) who have certain criminal convictions cannot petition for family members to receive K-1 visas. (See I.N.A. §§ 204(a)(1)(A)(i) and 204(a)(1)(B)(i).)

This information is required even if the criminal 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.

Add a Waiver Request If the U.S. Citizen Has Filed Previous I-129Fs

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 petitions for other immigrants in the past (no matter how long ago that occurred), or had a K-1 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. The stakes are high, and whoever drafts the letter will need to both present the facts in a convincing fashion and tie these to the law.

Getting Legal Help

Because of the complexities and the need to not only provide basic documentation but convincing items, hiring an experienced immigration attorney can be well worth the cost.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you

Talk to an Immigration attorney.

We've helped 85 clients find attorneys today.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you