Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) Guide

Planning a life with your partner often involves overcoming obstacles, and long distance can be a major one. If you’re a U.S. citizen engaged to a foreign national, you can bring them to the United States to get married via Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e).

This form allows you to petition for a K-1 visa on their behalf. The K-1 visa, in turn, is a special visa for your fiancé(e) to enter the United States specifically to marry you. The two of you must get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e) arriving in the U.S. on this visa. Remember that there’s also a K-3 visa option for spouses, but the State Department rarely issues it.

The purpose of Form I-129F is to prove your bona fide relationship, which essentially means it’s a real relationship with the intention of marriage. Once USCIS approves your petition, your fiancé(e) can apply for the K visa at a U.S. consulate in their home country. 

Suppose you need information on the K1 visa. In that case, we have a full fiancé(e) visa application guide you should read, as many K-1 visas and I-129F forms overlap (especially in the eligibility criteria department). This guide will tell you all you need to know about Form I-129F, including I129F processing times, detailed instructions for filling out the form, and what happens after USCIS approves your petition.

So let’s get started!

What Is Form I-129F?

If you’re a U.S. citizen engaged to someone abroad, Form I-129F is your first step in the K-1 visa process. This petition is a formal request to USCIS to verify the legitimacy of your relationship with your fiancé(e)

Think of it as building a case for your fiancé(e)’s K-1 visa. USCIS will want to see evidence that your relationship is real and that you have plans to get married. You’ll likely need to submit additional documents along with the form to strengthen your case.

The good news is that you can simplify the process for your fiancé(e)’s unmarried minors to join you in the U.S.  Form I-129F allows you to include them on the same petition as your fiancé(e) if the children are immigrating with your fiancé(e) or arriving within six months of their arrival. Including them on the same petition saves you the trouble of filing separate applications.

What I-129F Edition Should You File?

USCIS is implementing a new edition of Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know:



Latest edition date: April 1st, 2024 (04/01/24)


Starting June 3rd, 2024, USCIS will only accept the April 1st, 2024 edition of Form I-129F.


The grace period is until June 2nd: You can still use the previous edition (March 21st, 2022) until June 2nd, 2024!

Since the edition date is printed at the bottom of each page on the I129F form and instructions, ensure you’re using the correct edition to avoid delays in processing your petition.

We recommend getting the latest version of Form I-129F directly from the USCIS website to ensure you have the most up-to-date document. When filing the petition, ensure all pages have the same edition date and that the page numbers are visible.

Where and How to File Form I-129F

You may wonder whether you, as a U.S. citizen petitioning for your foreign fiancé(e), can file form I129F online. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

While many immigration forms are moving online, Form I-129F is still handled the old-fashioned way – on paper. That means you won’t be able to submit it electronically.

So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Fill out Form I-129F carefully, ensuring everything is complete and accurate.
  2. Gather all the required supporting documents that will prove your relationship with your fiancé(e) without a shadow of a doubt.
  3. Mail everything together. Once you have the completed form and all the supporting documents, send them by U.S. postal services to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox (P.O. Box 660151, Dallas, TX 75266-0151). If you prefer FedEx, UPS, and DHL delivery, send your I-129F package to Box 660151, Lewisville, TX 75067-8003.

Who Can File Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e))? Requirements and Eligibility Criteria

The ability to file Form I-129F is restricted to U.S. citizens sponsoring a foreign fiancé(e) for marriage in the United States. Here’s what you need to know about eligibility requirements:

Who Can File the I129F Petition

You, a U.S. citizen, petitioning for your foreign fiancé(e) to enter the U.S. for marriage, can only file the I-129F form.

In rare situations, you, a U.S. citizen, can also petition for your spouse to enter the U.S. However, USCIS must have already approved your Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative for their green card application.

Who Cannot File the I129F Petition?

Green card holders cannot file Form I-129F for their fiancé(e). However, if you’re already married and a green card holder, you can petition for your spouse’s entry as the first step in their green card process.

Additional I-129F Form Eligibility Requirements

  • You and your fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry.
  • You both intend to get married within 90 days of your fiancé(e)’s arrival in the U.S.
  • You must have met in person within the two years before filing the petition.
  • Both parties must meet the requirements of the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act of 2005.

There are exceptions to this in-person meeting requirement, and we’ll summarize them below since we already discussed K-1 visa eligibility in length in our previous guide:

  • Strict cultural or social customs in your fiancé(e)’s country prevent the meeting, and traditional arrangements are followed.
  • Meeting in person would cause extreme hardship for you.

The K-1 Visa and Beyond

If USCIS approves your Form I-129F, your fiancé(e) can apply for a K-1 visa to enter the U.S. This visa allows them to travel to the U.S. and marry you within 90 days of their arrival. However, to remain in the U.S. permanently, your fiancé(e) must file Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Petition to receive their green card.

What Documents Do You Need to File Form I-129F?

USCIS requires specific documentation (initial evidence) to process your Form I-129F petition effectively, so review the tables below before submitting your application.

IMPORTANT! USCIS recommends keeping original documents unless specifically requested. In other words, don’t submit any original paperwork, only copies!

General Required Documents for Submitting the I-129F Alien Fiancé(e) Petition

Before submitting your Form I-129F petition, you must gather all the necessary documentation to support your case. USCIS requires specific evidence to verify your U.S. citizenship, marital status, and relationship legitimacy with your fiancé(e). The following table provides a detailed breakdown of the documents you must include with your petition. 

I129F Required Documents Description
Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Copy of birth certificate issued by a U.S. government agency
  • Copy of naturalization or citizenship certificate
  • Copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad
  • Copy of unexpired U.S. passport
  • Original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying citizenship
Proof of prior marriages' termination (if applicable)
  • Final divorce decree
  • Annulment order
  • Death certificate of prior spouse
Passport-style photographs
  • One recent photo for yourself and your fiancé(e) (taken within 30 days of filing)
Proof of legal name change (if applicable)
  • Documentation of your legal name change
Evidence for International Marriage Broker Waiver (if applicable)
  • Documentation to support a waiver from the International Marriage Broker Regulation Act

Additional Documents for K-1 Fiancé(e) Visa

If you need extra clarifications, read our K-1 visa guide to ensure you don’t miss any requested initial evidence!

K-1 Visa Required Documents Description
Proof of marriage intent within 90 days
  • Documentation demonstrating your intent to marry within 90 days of your fiancé(e)'s arrival in the U.S.
Proof of in-person meeting (within 2 years)
  • Document your in-person meeting with your fiancé(e) within the past two years.
  • If you haven't met in person, provide evidence that the meeting would violate cultural customs or cause extreme hardship.

Additional Documents for K-3 Spouse Visa (Rare Cases)

The K-3 visa is rarely used because the processing time for a K-3 petition is often similar to that for a green card through a marriage-based petition (Form I-130). However, there may be specific situations where a K-3 visa is necessary. In these uncommon scenarios, USCIS requires additional documentation to verify eligibility. The table below outlines the documents needed for a K-3 spouse visa petition.

K-3 Visa Required Documents Description
Form I-130 Approval Notice
Marriage Certificate
  • Official marriage certificate

IMPORTANT! Submitting any documents in a foreign language must be accompanied by a certified English translation. The translator must verify the accuracy and competency of the translation in the specific language!

How to File Form I-129F: A Step-by-Step Guide

Form I-129F is the official document you must file with USCIS to initiate the K-1 visa process. Let’s see the I-129F form instructions and the steps involved, from putting together the required papers to submitting the completed form!

Step 1: Assemble Your Supporting I-129F Documents

Before you start filling out the form, gathering all the necessary documents to support your petition is crucial. 

Remember that USCIS might request additional papers, depending on your specific situation. For instance, if you’re petitioning for a K-3 visa for your spouse (in very rare situations), you’ll need additional documentation like a copy of your approved Form I-130 petition and your marriage certificate.

Step 2: Complete Form I-129F

Once you have all the documents in order, it’s time to tackle Form I-129F itself. Here’s a breakdown of the sections.

Part 1: Information About You

  • Select the visa type needed by your fiancé(e): Indicate whether you’re requesting a K-1 visa (for your fiancé(e) to enter and marry you within 90 days) or a K-3 visa (rare case, for your spouse to enter while their green card application is processed).
  • Provide your information: Use your current legal name, including any past names you’ve used. List your mailing address and any physical address where you can receive mail. Provide a full five years of address history. 
  • Employment history: List your employers for the past five years, or check the “Self-employed” option if applicable.
  • Marital history: Be thorough and disclose all past marriages, including how they were terminated. USCIS won’t approve a petition if you’re still legally married.
  • Citizenship information: Show USCIS how you became a U.S. citizen. While a certificate isn’t mandatory at this stage, you’ll need proof of citizenship (like a passport) when filing Form I-129F.

Part 2: Information About Your Fiancé(e)

  • Beneficiary’s information: Use your fiancé(e)’s current legal name, alien registration number (if available), and Social Security number (if available).
  • Beneficiary’s addresses: Provide your fiancé(e)’s mailing address and five years of address history.
  • Employment history: List your fiancé(e)’s current and past employers (past five years) or check the “Self-employed” option if applicable.
  • Beneficiary’s marital history: Disclose any past marriages and list any children under 21 years old. Children on an approved Form I-129F can apply for a K-2 visa to accompany their K-1 parent or arrive in the U.S. within six months of the parent’s entry.

Parts 3 & 4: Additional Information

  • Criminal history: Disclose any criminal offenses listed on the form. Consult an immigration attorney if you have a criminal record to understand how it might affect your petition.
  • International marriage broker: If you met through an International Marriage Broker, disclose this information. It may raise a red flag for USCIS, so consider talking to an immigration attorney. 
  • Biographic information: Provide your race, ethnicity, height, weight, eye color, and hair color.

Parts 5, 6, and 7: Finalizing the Petition

  • Petitioner’s statement: Provide your contact information (email and U.S. phone number) where USCIS can reach you. Sign the petition in black ink.

IMPORTANT! Many I-129F petitions are rejected because the petitioner forgets to sign the alien fiancé(e) petition or signs it in the wrong spot!

  • Interpreter and preparer: If someone helped you translate or complete the form, ensure Parts 6 and 7 are filled out and signed appropriately.

Step 3: Submit Your I-129F Petition and Fee

Once you gathered all the required documents and completed the form, it’s time to submit your petition to USCIS. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Pay the filing fee: The current filing fee for Form I-129F is $675. You can use Form G-1450 to pay by credit card, but USCIS also accepts personal checks, money orders, and cashier’s checks.
  • Mail your petition: As we said, USCIS currently requires mailing Form I-129F to the Dallas Lockbox address, but double-check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date mailing instructions.



  • Review the I-129F instructions before you start filling it out. 
  • Consider hiring an immigration service provider or law firm if you have any questions or if your situation is complex. 
  • Use black ink only when filling out the form.
  • Write “N/A” for any questions that don’t apply to you.
  • Write “NONE” if an answer is zero.
  • Keep copies of everything you submit to USCIS for your records.

Step 4: Await USCIS Decision on Your I-129F Petition

USCIS will process your form and notify you of their decision (Form I-797). Processing times can vary, so be patient. An approval notice will allow your fiancé(e) to apply for the K-1 visa at a U.S. embassy in their country.

I129F Processing Time and Timeline

What are the wait times for I-129F? This question is bugging most petitioners, but unfortunately, the answer is not as straightforward as you hoped. 

There’s some promising news on the horizon for Form I-129F processing times! While the current wait time is typically around 7-9 months, recent predictions suggest a possible change. Some sources hint that new petitions could be reviewed much faster, potentially taking as little as five months.

Remember that these forecasts aren’t set in stone. The actual processing time for your alien fiancé(e) petition can vary depending on factors like USCIS’s overall workload, the complexity of your specific case, staffing levels, and how resources are allocated.  

So, while a faster processing timeline for the I-129F is possible, it’s best to manage your expectations and be prepared for some waiting time.

IMPORTANT! While there’s no option to pay for faster processing of Form I-129F petitions, you can request expedited processing through the USCIS Contact Center. This requires your 13-digit USCIS case receipt number and strong justification for needing a quicker turnaround. USCIS will evaluate each case individually, so be prepared to provide documentation supporting your situation’s urgency.

On the other hand, once you’ve submitted your Form I-129F, the waiting game for your fiancé(e)’s K-1 visa begins. Processing times can fluctuate widely, ranging from 6 to 16 months, similar to most immigration applications, where timelines can vary depending on individual circumstances.

What Happens After I-129f Is Approved?

Once your Form I-129F petition is approved, you can bring your fiancé(e) to the U.S. The next crucial step involves your fiancé(e) applying for a K-1 visa at a U.S. embassy in their country of origin. This visa allows them entry to marry you within 90 days of arrival.

Following submission of the K-1 visa application, your fiancé(e) will be scheduled for an interview with a U.S. consular officer to verify the legitimacy of your relationship and future marriage plans.  

Assuming the K-1 visa is approved, your fiancé(e) will have six months to enter the United States. Remember that the clock starts ticking upon visa issuance, so careful planning is essential to ensure an easy, hassle-free entry within the designated timeframe. 

Finally, once your fiancé(e) enters the U.S., you have 90 days to get married

Following your wedding ceremony, your fiancé(e) officially transitions from fiancé(e) to spouse

At this point, they can initiate the green card process by filing Form I-485. This application formally requests permanent resident status in the U.S. based on marriage to a U.S. citizen. Processing times for green card applications are in a league of their own, so be prepared for a potential wait of several months to a few years.

Can USCIS Deny an I-129F Petition?

USCIS can deny your I-129F petition (requesting a K-1 visa for your fiancé(e)) if they doubt the genuineness of your relationship. USCIS considers red flags significant age gaps between you and your future spouse, weak evidence of your bond, communication issues, or inconsistencies in your statements or provided documents.

USCIS may also deny your petition due to issues they find with your fiancé(e)’s background or the circumstances of your relationship. This could include a history of previous K-1 or marriage visa applications, concerns about your fiancé(e)’s immigration status, involvement of a third party in setting you up, or an unusually close relationship between you and your fiancé(e)’s family that might suggest financial motives. They may also be suspicious if you haven’t known each other long or if you have severe language barriers.

Overall, working with an immigration law firm or service provider can iron out the kinks, make the process easier, and correctly address USCIS’s concerns.

I-129F Form Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have more questions about the I-129F petition process? You’re not alone! The alien fiancé(e) petition is quite complicated, and it’s natural to have inquiries. This FAQ section addresses some of the most common questions our clients ask. Read more here to find more answers. If your specific situation isn’t covered here, don’t hesitate to ask for further guidance!

How long does it take for USCIS to approve the I-129F?

The current processing time for the I129F form is about 7-9 months. The issue here is the K-1 visa processing timeline, which can span 12 to 16 months.

The current USCIS fee for the alien fiancée petition is $675.

A common concern is the validity period of an approved I-129F petition. Once USCIS approves your form, it remains valid for four months, providing a timeframe for your fiancé(e) to apply for the K-1 visa at a U.S. embassy in their country of origin. 

If these four months lapse before your fiancé(e) applies for the visa, there’s still a chance! Sometimes, a consular officer may re-validate the I-129F petition for another four months during the visa interview. However, this re-validation is granted on a case-by-case basis, and both you and your fiancé(e) must still be legally eligible to marry.

Once you’ve submitted your I-129F petition, you’ll naturally be eager for updates. USCIS offers a convenient online status tracker tool. This user-friendly resource allows you to track the progress of your petition by entering the unique receipt number you received on Form I-797C (Notice of Action) from USCIS. Remember, the receipt number is vital information, so keep it safe and readily accessible.

No. USCIS only accepts petitions submitted from within the United States. This means the U. S. citizen sponsoring the petition must file it while physically present in America.

Are You Ready to Bring Your Fiancé(e) to the United States to Get Married?

Is your heart set on saying “I do” to the love of your life, but they live across the globe? The K-1 visa process, initiated with Form I-129F, can help you become a family. Starting the petition now allows ample time for processing. It ensures a stress-free path to reuniting in the U.S.  Our experienced specialists at ImmigrationDirect can help you with the complex paperwork and address potential hurdles. Start with our alien fiancé(e) petition preparation package, and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about immigration issues, particular circumstances, and more!

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