For most people, their wedding day falls among the most memorable days in their lives. However, if you are a citizen of the United States marrying a foreigner, your experience will involve a lot more than just sending out wedding invites.
If you are looking to have your finance join you in the US, then you must familiarize yourself with form I-129F, which is your first step when applying for a K1 visa. A K1 visa is a visa issued to a person affiliated to an American citizen.
Form I-129F is a document that you fill if you want your partner to receive proper authorization to enter the U.S. legally. Upon successful application, they will obtain a K1 visa which will then allow them to file for status adjustment so as to become a permanent legal resident.
Seems simple right? Not exactly.
Getting a K1 visa involves a lot of documents and procedures, all of which shall be discussed below.
Proof of Your Relationship
When filling form I-129, you and your partner will be required to prove that your relationship is legitimate and that the intention to marry is honest. You are able to prove this by using dated photos where both of you are present.
You should also include photocopies of plane tickets and stamped passports that show both of you traveling to see each other. You can also add credit card receipts that show you spending money and staying at the same place over the same period of time.
These documents or any similar documents that will solidify your claim will work well because they come from neutral third parties such as airlines and credit card companies.
You must also have met your fiancé in person at least two years before the date of application. However, in the event that one is unable to meet, maybe for cultural, religious, or hardship reasons then you should apply for a waiver.
When applying for this waiver, be sure to bring with you a letter from the foreign-born fiancé’s parents and/or their religious guides. If it is due to a hardship such as a disability or any general medical condition, then a letter from a medical professional together with copies of relevant medical records will prove useful.
Eligibility for a K1 Visa
There are several criteria one must meet to be considered eligible for a K1 visa. This what they entail:
- The petitioner and his/her fiancé must both be legally able to marry.
- The foreign-born fiancé must marry the citizen upon arriving in the country.
- They must show their intention of marriage, this could include providing additional documentation such as wedding card invites.
The documents provided above will help prove the legitimacy of the relationship.
Filling Form I-129F
The form is filled in electronically so you can do it from your phone or laptop. When you are done, send it via mail together with all the required attachments. Most questions on the form are relatively easy to answer and quite straightforward.
Some sections, however, shall require that you describe the circumstances upon which you and your fiancé met. A scanned and printed handwritten letter could help improve the legitimacy of your relationship in the eyes of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Another section will require you to state whether the U.S. citizen has a criminal record. This information is required even in the event that the records have been sealed.
The purpose of this request is to protect the foreign-born fiancé from marrying people who may have been convicted of violent crimes such as domestic violence or sexual assault. Navigating this information may not be easy therefore seeking legal counsel for this section is advised.
It is also important to note that a U.S. citizen must apply for a waiver request if they have filed the form I-129F before. This is because they are legally limited to a certain number of times they can fill this form.
However, they are still able to continue with the application as long as they prove that the relationship with the prior immigrant ended under unusual circumstances. These include things like death by natural cause. However, a waiver request could be denied if the U.S. citizen has a recorded history of violent crime.
The I-129F form also requires one to pay a filing fee. The fee tends to change over time so your best bet is to check the USCIS website and confirm the actual cost at the time of application. The mode of payment is quite flexible as you are free to write a personal or cashier’s check. You could also pay via your credit card by using a credit card authorization form.
It is a good idea to read through the terms and conditions carefully before you make the payment. This is because a request cannot be withdrawn once it is paid for. You are also unable to receive a refund once you complete the payment, regardless of the state of your relationship.
Make sure that you proofread your document and ensure that you have filled in all the sections on the document. Remember to sign and date your form correctly to avoid potential mishaps in the future.
It is also important to make copies of all the completed forms that you have. This helps to ensure you have solid proof when following up with the application process. It usually takes anywhere from four to six months for a K1 Visa to be processed.
Making sure you complete your payment in good time will go a long way in ensuring that you get through the whole process much faster. Nonetheless, exceptions occur depending on the specific details of your case.
Words of Caution
As you send out your application form, make sure you’ve attached all the required documents. They could go a long way in legitimizing your request. If you’re not sure exactly what might be needed, visit the USCIS website and cross check whether you do have the right documents.
Remember to add proof of citizenship. This could include documents such as a copy of a birth certificate, passport, or certificate of naturalization. If you’re still unclear, do not hesitate to seek out legal aid so that they can help walk you through any important information that you might have missed while filling the form.