I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition & Checklist

By Erika Presson
Last Updated: October 5, 2013



 

Our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition Process

Preparing our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition package was a breeze. As mentioned in a previous blog post, we have had 2 years worth of relationship evidence and correspondences by the time we submitted our petition. It was costly to have them printed out and send to him though. He also just came back from the Philippines and we were well within the 2-year time requirement of USCIS. I already had my photo taken at Great Image Megamall beforehand. (I even have the Foursquare check-in to prove it! Haha.) They have predefined packages for Visas, and are compliant to the US Passport Photo Standards. They will even give you a digital copy of your photos in a CD for you to upload on US Embassy Online Application forms. I did the last few parts of my share of the petition package on October 6th, 2012 which was a Saturday. I filled up the necessary forms and documents (signed and dated), printed them out along with around 25-pages worth of emails, chat logs, Facebook and Skype screenshots, and SMS messages. The next day, I had at least 100 of our photos printed at Fuji Film Studio in Megamall and waited for that before I sent out the package through FedEx. He received the package 3 days later and then he started to do his share. He was working and studying at the same time so he only got to work on them on a limited time during weekends.




When we sent out our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition package on October 17th, 2012, USCIS California Service Center processing times for our type of petition was at 5 months. Meaning, they were approving cases in less than 5 months from the date of submission. We thought, “Lucky!”. But a few days later, it changed to processing petitions dated July 18, 2012. It only meant one thing, things are going to be reaaaaally slow. And we were right. Sometime around March, processing dates were still stuck at July 18, 2012 when they were supposed to be processing September 2012 petitions. User I&B from VisaJourney.com posted a thread with his analysis of public data from the USCIS website. He concluded that the slowdown with I-129F petition approvals were directly linked to DACA applications and processing. Of course, like I have said before in a blog post, these were all speculations. We can’t prove it. But he DID use data from the USCIS website. (On a separate but related note: Anonymous, also got involved in May 2013 because of unnecessary delays and misinformation by USCIS in processing petitions. I cannot find the original YouTube video link, but here is the re-uploaded video.) We used I&B’s findings when we reached out to Christopher’s representative in North Dakota, Congressman Kevin Cramer. His office was very accommodating and helpful to us. They’ve assisted us with our inquiries. (Thank you, Kate!)

Our petition got approved on April 25th, 2013. It was just 6 months after we filed our petition. A month of delay for us, but other petitions were running on their 7th to 12th-month marks. I guess, we really were lucky after all. It involves a lot of patience, I can tell you that much. The petition process involves a lot of waiting. Once your petition gets approved and you get your case number from NVC, only then will things speed up. Before you know it, you’re already days from your visa interview appointment.

 

Some Notes When Filing Your I-129F Petitions

All the information you need are found on the USCIS.gov website, but just for reiteration purposes, I would like to highlight some important notes regarding I-129F Petition Forms and related evidences that you, the petitioner, need to submit.

  • You, The U.S. Citizen, are the one who’s going to file for the petition.
  • You and your Alien Fiancé(e) must have met each other at least once within 2 years of filing the I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition and are intending to get married within 90 days of his/her arrival to the US.
  • It is not required but if you want to get notified right away through email and/or SMS when they accept your petition (and not wait for the acceptance hardcopies), don’t forget to send in a Form G-1145.
  • The PDF forms that you download from the USCIS website can be filled up directly on your computer using Adobe Reader, or any PDF Viewer.
  • Sign everything in BLACK ink. You will get a Request For Evidence (RFE) Notice if you don’t. It delays the process until you submit the required documents using the correct ink for signatures and information.
  • Make sure you’re using the latest I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition form. Check the upper right corner of the page for the expiration date.
  • Follow USCIS’s instruction on how to fill out your check for payment of filing fees.
  • The filing fee for the I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition is still $340 as of October 25, 2013. For updated fees, please check Forms and Fees at USCIS.gov.
  • Letters of Intent from both parties declaring that you both intend to marry each other within 90 days of the Alien Fiancé(e)’s arrival to the US. This must be signed and dated.
  • If you were previously married, include a copy of your Final Divorce Decree, Annulment Record or Death Certificate of your previous spouse.
  • You and your Fiancé(e)’s 2″ x 2″ photos should have your names written at the back. Use a pencil or a felt pen. These photos must be taken within 30 days of filing the petition and must have a white background.
  • Whatever you’re sending to USCIS for this I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition, must be made in double. Keep the copy of the entire I-129F package just in case of future RFE’s and for the K1 Visa Interview.
  • Keep all originals of official documents like Birth Certificates, etc. Just send in copies.
  • Letters and forms needing signatures should be originals though. Signed and dated.
  • Make sure your forms are completely filled out. Double-check. Triple-check. Have somebody check it for you. Incomplete and unsigned forms will be rejected seeing as it is deficient.

The entire instruction for filling out and sending I-129F petitions are found here: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-129finstr.pdf.

Read them carefully. 

 

I-129F Petition Checklist

Below are checklists for both the Petitioner and the Beneficiary as well as a list of possible Relationship Evidences you may include in your package. Hopefully, these will help you when preparing your I-129F Package. Don’t forget, make a duplicate package! :)

Petitioner (U.S. Citizen):

  • Cover Letter (Signed and dated): Short Introduction and list of the contents of your package
  • USCIS Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (Signed and dated)
  • USCIS Form G-1145Notification of Acceptance of Application/Petition
  • USCIS Form G-325A Petitioner’s Biographic Information (Signed and dated)
  • Proof of Citizenship: Copy of Birth Certificate (Front and Back) or Copy of Certificate of Naturalization;
  • Proof of Citizenship: Copy of unexpired U.S. Passport (All pages; Valid for at least 5 years)
  • Recent 2″ x 2″ (US Passport Style) photo with white background. Name written on the back.
  • Short Statement of when and how you met your Alien Fiancé(e) in person. Mark it as Supplement 34.A (See Question 34.A on Form I-129F; Signed and dated)
  • Final Divorce Decree / Annulment / Death certificate copy (if previously married)
  • Letter of Intent to Marry the Beneficiary within his/her 90 days of arrival (Signed and dated)
  • For other required documents (if applicable) regarding Legal Name Change, court and police records, and other documents in accordance with IMBRA, please read the USCIS I-129F Instructions.
  • Check / Money order of $340 filing fee payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Download Sample Cover Letter

Sample Cover Letter for I-129F Fiancee Petition | ©2014, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Sample Cover Letter for I-129F Fiancee Petition | ©2014, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Beneficiary (Alien Fiancé(e)):

  • USCIS Form G-325A Beneficiary’s Biographic Information (Signed and dated)
  • Recent 2″ x 2″ (US Passport Style) photo with white background. Name written on the back.
  • Final Divorce Decree / Annulment / Death certificate copy (if previously married)
  • Letter of Intent to Marry the Petitioner within 90 days of arrival in the U.S. (Signed and dated)
  • Not required, but you may submit a copy of: Birth Certificate, Foreign Passport Bio and Stamps, CENOMAR (Proof of Singleness in the Philippines)

Download Sample Letter of Intent

Sample Letter of Intent to Marry for I-129F Fiancee Petition | ©2014, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Sample Letter of Intent to Marry for I-129F Fiancee Petition | ©2014, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

 

Evidence of Meeting / Relationship (Copies/Scans/Print outs – NOT Originals):

  • Photos Together (Make sure you label them with dates and locations)
  • Airline Tickets and Boarding Passes
  • Foreign Travel Receipts (Hotels, etc.; Highlight dates and places)
  • Correspondences (Proof of on-going relationship): Snail-mail, Emails, Facebook Screenshots, Skype Screenshots, IM chat logs, SMS message print-outs (Don’t print EVERYTHING, just get a reasonable sample; Highlight dates)
  • Engagement Ring receipt (if any) 

Send your completed I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition package to the address below.

For U.S. Postal Service (USPS):

USCIS
P.O. Box 660151
Dallas, TX 75266

 

For USPS Express Mail and courier deliveries:

USCIS
Attn: I-129F
2501 South State Highway 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067

 

Our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition Timeline (6 months)

2012 October 17 | We filed for our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition.

2012 October 25 | We received our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition Acceptance Notice (NOA 1).

2013 April 25 | We received our I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition Approval Notice (NOA 2).

For my FULL Immigration Timeline please visit this page.

Our I-129F Petition Acceptance Notice! October 25th, 2012. Also called Notice of Action 1 or NOA1 | I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition and Checklist | ©2013, USCIS, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Our I-129F Petition Acceptance Notice! October 25th, 2012. Also called Notice of Action 1 or NOA1 | I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition and Checklist | ©2013, USCIS, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

IMPORTANT NOTE: Take good care of your NOA1 and NOA2. Don’t lose it. You will need both documents later in the process.

 

Our I-129F Petition Approval! April 25th, 2013. Also called Notice of Action 2 or NOA2 | I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition and Checklist | ©2013, USCIS, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Our I-129F Petition Approval! April 25th, 2013. Also called Notice of Action 2 or NOA2 | I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition and Checklist | ©2013, USCIS, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

Where do I track my Petition / Case Status?

You are supposed to use the USCIS My Case Status Tracker tool.

Please read this article: USCIS Case Status Tracking »

 

Where’s the actual approved I-129F Document?

My "Packet 3" from U.S. Embassy Manila. It arrived on May 30, 2013 when I was already done with my K1 Visa Payment, Scheduling my K1 Visa Interview, Medical Exam and CFO Seminar. Haha. It also contained a copy of our approved I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition | NVC CEAC Status Tracker | ©2013, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

My “Packet 3″ from U.S. Embassy Manila. It arrived on May 30, 2013 when I was already done with my K1 Visa Payment, Scheduling my K1 Visa Interview, Medical Exam and CFO Seminar. Haha. It also contained a copy of our approved I-129F Fiancé(e) Petition | NVC CEAC Status Tracker | ©2013, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)

The original document stays with USCIS. A copy of your approved I-129F Petition gets sent to the Foreign Fiancé(e) through their US Embassy / Consulate. I believe it’s called “Packet 3″. In my case, I got it a month later in the mail with instructions on how to go about the K1 Visa Process. Fiancé(e)’s in most countries HAVE to wait for this Packet 3 for instructions. Fiancé(e)’s in the Philippines in particular don’t have to wait for this mail. They can move on with the process as long as they have their MNL Case Numbers from NVC. Keep this approved copy of your I-129F Petition you might need it later in the process during the K1 Visa Interview and/or the AOS Process.

 

 

So… What happens after petition approval (NOA2)?

What’s the Next Step?

 

Read on: NVC and CEAC Status Tracker »

 

 

 

Some Frequently Asked Questions on the KnowledgeBase:

 



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25 Comments

(Please click on "Show Replies" to read other comments/replies)


  1. rana juma says:

    Hi i had a quick question. Can filtered photos be accepted. My fiance has a thing with filtering photos.

    • As long as you both are recognizable and the photos are labelled accordingly as to when and where it was taken. I don’t think there’s a problem with filtered photos.

      Just for good measure, at least include one that’s not filtered.

  2. Mike T says:

    Great reading! I am from Sweden, met my love in New York in the -90’s and we got married in -96.
    We sure had a runaround several times trying to figure out what to do, and when to do it with my application to get a green card. It caused us head ache and tears but we finally made it.
    I just wish we had received information from someone like you! You ought to be in charge of the information department and have them toss out all their ridiculous writing, and put it in plain and easy to understand English.
    Thanks for a fun and informative reading.

    Mike T
    (one of the guys who drive the big rigs across the country)

    • Hey Mike T!

      Thank you for the kind words! Haha yeah, that’s the main purpose of my blog. Information about the process isn’t streamlined and are scattered all over government websites. I wanted to collate everything and make it easy for people to understand. :)

      Regards to your other half! <3

  3. Jessica says:

    Thank you for the fast reply! Oops I knew you were the foreign fiancée I just got it backwards! Oh and I have another question. Do you know if it is necessary for the foreign fiancée to have a bank account in their country? Mine has a full-time job but he does not have a bank account.

    Jessica

  4. Jessica says:

    Hi Erika,

    Thank you so much for creating this website! It has been very helpful. I am looking to file the K-1 Visa in August after I visit my fiancee. Do you think phone records would be useful evidence? We have been talking on the phone a couple times a week for almost a year so I could print out the phone bills and highlight his number. What do you think? Also, did your fiancee have to get a validated english translation of his birth certificate?

    Thanks for your help!
    Jessica

    • Hi Jessica!

      You’re welcome! Glad you found it helpful. Yes, those are good evidences to submit to USCIS when you file the petition. Make sure you take lots of photos with your fiancé(e) and label them accordingly when you submit it.

      Actually, I was the foreign fiancée. Our birth certificate is in English. Though if your foreign fiancé(e)’s birth certificate or any other paperwork is in another language, it’s always wise to have an English translation for them otherwise you’d get a “request for evidence” (RFE) which delays the process. :)

  5. Jeana says:

    Hi Erika… how are you?.. Just call me Jeana… I am married to a Filipino but U.S Citizen.. he told me that he filed his petition for me. i filled up the G325A sometime in November 2013. according to my husband there was a response but i don’t know what was the content of the response all about. is there any form to be filed again after G325A?.. how many months should we wait before i can have my interview and medical? is there a possibility that my husband will cancel his petition for me?… thank you and God Bless…

  6. lesley says:

    hi erika,

    due to the technology today, photos are being published in Facebook, instagram etc. long were the days of manual photography, today everything is digital…..

    hence, our photos were not stamped with dates (manually, like before in a manual camera). but they are present in the FILE itself. can this be used as proof of relationship? facebook also automatically stamps the date of upload. if i print screen everything (with the dates and comments) can this be use as well?

    • Hi Lesley,

      Yes, You may do that. :) You can even just have actual photos printed and write the details at the back. But I suppose printing screenshots will be rather convenient and inexpensive compared to having it printed at a photo store.

      Good luck!

  7. issa012513 says:

    Thanks! Do i have to show proof of my assets too? that i wont be a liability (thru bank accounts, insurances) that i have here?

    • Nope, the Beneficiary’s assets doesn’t matter with the I-129F / K1 Visa Process. They will look entirely at your USC Fiancé’s Assets and Income. Take a look at the K1 Visa Requirements and Checklist page that I’ve published. Everything’s there. :)

      Those proof of assets and insurances are usually for non-immigrant/Tourist Visa applicants.

  8. issa012513 says:

    Gotcha! Thank you! ill start printing out all paper works soon. Do you have any idea about sponsorship? Coz when he gets back to Calif, he still needs to find work. Said his brothers and sisters can be sponsors, do you have idea on how we can go about that?

    USCIS
    P.O. Box 660151
    Dallas, TX 75266—– is this the only address that USCIS have? so all letter of intent should be sent to this address as well right?

    copy that! i’ll just compile some photos (for collage) and have a few to print out.

    I really appreciate your blog and your help. God bless you! :)

    • Co-sponsorship is a tricky situation especially for the K1 Visa route in the Philippines. Your fiancé, at the time of your K1 Visa Interview, must be able to prove that he can support you (and himself) with his income alone. USEM is very particular of this. My co-sponsorship was denied during my interview, hence I was given a 221g. OTHER cases with co-sponsorship get approved. Some don’t. It entirely is according to the Consular Officer’s discretion. No one can say for sure.

      It still is best for your fiancé to get a job that’s above the current year’s HHS Poverty Guidelines. Give or take, he has about six months to find this job after filing the petition.

      Yup. All your documents must be organized and sent to that address if you’re going to use USPS. If it’s a courier like FedEx/UPS, there’s a separate address for that.

      You’re welcome! Thanks for following my blog. You too! :)

  9. issa012513 says:

    Hi Erika! Thanks for your reply last time. I want to ask a couple of questions:
    *is it necessary to fill out the i-129f directly on the computer or can we just print it and write all information legibly using black ink?

    *He should send original i-129f and original letter of intent right plus photocopies of his birth cert annd etc.? The duplicate package should stay with him and everything can be just photocopies right?

    * did you just print your photos together in 1 whole sheet of photo paper? i mean did you edit it to fit in one photo paper when you have it printed at fuji film? What about the tickets together? Are they all scanned and printed?or can we just paste them onto a bond paper and create a collage? (“The next day, I had at least 100 of our photos printed at Fuji Film Studio in Megamall and waited for that before I sent out the package through FedEx.”) coz im planning to prepare it so he can bring it with him on august.

    * to whom shall we address the letter of intent to marry?

    Sorry bout my questions, we are just about to start with i129f and i’m preparing everything so when he goes back to california, everything is set :) I really appreciate your response.Great blog! Thank you! :)

    • Hi again Issa!

      You’re welcome. :)

      1. I just checked the current I-129F form on the USCIS website. It seems that the PDF form doesn’t need to be electronically filled up because there are no visible barcodes. You can print it and just use black ink to fill it up.

      2. Yes, original letter of intent (signed/wet ink), photocopies of everything. Don’t send originals of birth certificates. You won’t get those originals back. Yup, duplicate copy stays with him for now. You’ll never know when you get an “RFE”. Sometimes USCIS misplaces documents unintentionally. Even if you’ve already sent them in, they’d ask for another copy.

      3. I actually had it printed out as photos. We were unsure of these before too. Had I know that I can just send in a sheet of paper with a collage of photos, I would’ve done it. Just an idea: Send in a collage of photos in just one sheet of paper and just include 5-10 actual photos. Make sure you label them with dates, when and where they were taken.

      4. The letter of intent to marry should be addressed to USCIS (To whom it may concern).

      That is fine. :) Good luck on your petition! Thanks! :)

  10. donna says:

    Hi erika

    how are you.?! i want to ask about the fiancee visa. i met my bf online but we have not meet personally. our relationship is already 2 years. while we were talking awhile ago, he told me that he filled up a form for fiancee visa.. he then said that he talked to an immigration officer and was asked for some information about us. he told the immigration officer that we haven’t meet face to face and told him it was okay. he was charge then i think about $100. and told him to just wait for some papers that will be sent to him. i actually dont understand it. but im afraid that the petition wont get approved because we have not meet. we have emails, phone calls, fb messages to prove that our relationship is genuine.we didnt erase our messages to each other since we started 2 years ago….please enlighten me with this… thank you.

    • Hi Donna,

      I’m doing good. Thanks!

      I believe the Filing Fee for the Fiancée Petition is $340. Are you sure he talked to a real immigration officer? They don’t require any payments for “not meeting in person”. And yes there is a requirement of meeting personally. But there can be a waiver. Please check slide 8 of this USCIS.gov I-129F Presentation. It says there that there are only 2 things that they may allow the petition to process without meeting:

      • if meeting the beneficiary would result in extreme hardship to the petitioner or;
      • would violate strict and long established customs established customs of the beneficiary’s foreign culture or social practice, as where marriages are traditionally practice, as where marriages are traditionally arranged by the parents of the contracting parties and the prospective bride and groom are prohibited from meeting subsequent to the arrangement and prior to the wedding day. arrangement and prior to the wedding day.

      Your fiancé must prove either of these. Before filing the petition, you must tell your fiancé to call USCIS or schedule an infopass with USCIS to discuss it further. If you can’t prove either of the 2 conditions mentioned above, your petition will not be approved because you’d still need to have that meeting-in-person requirement within 2 years of filing.

      Also, please move your future comments to the I-129F Petition Page. Please don’t comment here on the K1 Visa Requirements thread. Again, I’m moving your comment to the thread found here.

      I hope that helps!

  11. Maria Torres says:

    Hi, Erika
    I messaged you a couple of weeks ago on if my fiance need to physically sign the letter of intent to marry. Im sorry I am 21 years old and kind of figuring out how to do this. Thank You for your patience on my questions.
    My questions is though,

    Where do i ship my package? I live in California but I am confused on where do i ship it? Online it says :

    USCIS
    P.O. Box 660151
    Dallas, TX 75266

    For USPS Express Mail and courier deliveries:
    USCIS
    Attn: I-129F
    2501 South State Highway 121 Business
    Suite 400
    Lewisville, TX 75067

    Should i do the USPS Express Mail?

    There is also an address in California :

    USCIS
    California Service Center ATTN: I-129
    P.O. Box 10129
    Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-1012

    Im probably confused on the most important part lol. Help!

    • Hi Maria,

      I’ve answered your questions on the K1 Visa Interview Requirements and Checklist page. I assumed you were already at the K1 Stage and not the I-129F stage since you commented there. Anyway, yes, it has to be signed by your fiancé, physically, with wet ink as they call it.

      So you’re still sending the I-129F Petition? I’ve mentioned the address up top. It’s the Texas P.O. Box. It depends on you if you want to send it through USPS Express mail, FedEx or UPS. If you decide on using those couriers, you’re going to address it to that South State Highway. It’s entirely your choice to overnight it or not. Just mind the correct addresses on whichever method you choose. :)

  12. Octavia says:

    Super thorough! Amazing story with detailed information. I needed a realistic outlook via experience on the K-1 processing. I’m extremely impatient as I just filed a month ago to marry my Jamaican fiance and I’m already wondering what the hold up. Our app is completely set like yours with every since required document,evidence (pages of “bona fide”) of relationship. I have one question,& I believe I read on visajourney.com where there was a post of a letter being sent to a congressman or like a district head..what did it say or ask? I wanna do it too!! Lol

    • Hi Octavia!

      Thanks! I tried my best to be as detailed as possible to help future applicants. :)

      We basically just sent an email to Congressman Cramer’s office asking for assistance in our case with USCIS. During our I-129F Fiancèe Petition, there was a slowdown that were affecting thousands of cases so we asked for an “official inquiry” – for their office to look into what’s going on. We also sent in some statistics / analysis (compiled by a generous VJ member) that was believed to be the cause of the slowdown.

      How long since your petition has been filed? It usually takes 5-6 months for these petitions to be approved. But it all depends on the processing center. Which service center handles your case? Vermont? California?

    • Whoops. I edited my response. Auto-correct gets you in trouble sometimes. LOL. I meant: “We also sent in some statistics / analysis (compiled by a generous VJ member) THAT was believed to be the cause of the slowdown. “


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