Form I-129F, Explained
A guide to the processing time, cost, and requirements to file the “Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)” form
What is Form I-129F?
Form I-129F (“Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)”) is the first step towards a K-1 visa for the fiancé of a U.S. citizen, or a K-3 visa for the spouse of a U.S. citizen (note the K-3 visa is rarely issued). If you’re engaged to a U.S. citizen, you can use the K-1 visa to enter the U.S. if you plan on getting married within 90 days of your arrival.
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Form I-129F Processing Time
Form I-129F Processing Times
The current average wait time for Form I-129F is 6 months, according to Boundless partner Track My Visa Now
Form I-129F to Green Card Timeline
Once your Form I-129F petition has been approved, the sponsored fiancé will then need to apply for their visa, attend an interview, and enter the U.S. before they can apply for a green card.
For more, Boundless has put together a guide on timelines for each phase of the K-1 process.
Once the K-1 visa is approved, the sponsored fiancé will need to enter the U.S. within six months, and the couple must get married within 90 days. The sponsored fiancé — now considered the spouse of a U.S. citizen — will then need to file Form I-485 (adjustment of status) so they can start their spousal green card application, which can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to process.
Expedited Processing for Form I-129F
Premium processing is not available for Form I-129F, but you may be able to make an expedite request through the USCIS Contact Center with your 13-digit USCIS case receipt number. USCIS considers each request on a case-by-case basis, and you will need to have documentation to support the reason you’re asking for expedited processing.
Form I-129F Cost
The government filing fee for Form I-129F is $535. If you’re filing Form I-129F to petition for the spouse of a U.S. citizen to enter on a K-3 visa however, then that fee is waived.
In January 2023, USCIS announced plans to increase filing costs for nearly every visa type, including family-based immigration and Form I-129F for K-1 visa applications. New fees will take effect on April 1, 2024. Be sure to check out Boundless’ USCIS fees guide for more information on what costs to expect and additional updates on USCIS’ fee hike.
Not sure what costs to expect? Boundless’ USCIS fee calculator can help determine the exact government fees for your K-1 visa application. We also help you pay your costs in installments, so you can get started now and pay later. Get started today!
Who can file Form I-129F?
You can file Form I-129F if you are a U.S. citizen petitioning for either your fiancé to enter the U.S. for your marriage, and you have met your fiancé in person in the last two years. You can also file this form if you’re a U.S. citizen petitioning for your spouse to enter the U.S. and USCIS has already approved Form I-130 (“Petition for Alien Relative”) for them to start their green card application (although learn more about why this option is rarely used).
Who cannot file Form I-129F?
Because only U.S. citizens can file Form I-129F, if you are a green card holder, you won’t be able to file Form I-129F for your fiancé or spouse. If you are a green card holder who is already married, you can petition for your spouse’s entry as the first step in the green card process.
When you file Form I-129F, you will need to include supporting documents to prove your identity and your relationship with your fiancé or spouse. These documents may include:
- Proof that you are a U.S. citizen, either through a copy of your birth certificate, a certificate of citizenship or naturalization, a copy of an unexpired passport.
- One color photograph, passport-style, of both yourself and your fiancé, taken within 30 days of filing.
- Proof of legal name change if you’ve changed your name in the past.
- If you or your fiancé have previously been married, you’ll also need to show proof the marriage has been terminated, for example with a divorce decree or annulment order.
If you’re petitioning for your fiancé to enter on a K-1 visa, you should also include the following:
- Proof that you and your fiancé intend to marry within 90 days after they arrive in the U.S.
- Proof you have met each other in-person within two years of filing Form I-129F. If you haven’t met each other in-person, you’ll need to send proof of why you haven’t been able to meet, for example, if meeting each other would have violated strict, long-established cultural customs.
If you’re petitioning for your spouse to enter under K-3 status, you should include the following:
- A copy of the receipt notice from USCIS, Form I-797C (Notice of Action). You should have received this as a response to filing Form I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) on behalf of your spouse.
- Proof of your marriage, for example, a marriage certificate.
Form I-129F FAQs
You can file Form I-129F to the USCIS Dallas Lockbox facility. Don’t forget to check the correct address for the postal carrier you plan on using.
No, you will need to file Form I-129F physically by sending the form and any supporting evidence via mail to the correct USCIS Dallas Lockbox address.
Only USCIS will assess Form I-129F, so the sponsoring U.S. citizen will need to file from within the U.S..
If the sponsored fiancé or spouse has children under the age of 21, they can also be included in the Form I-129F petition. Any dependent children of a K-1 visa holder will receive a K-2 visa, while any dependent children of a K-3 visa holder will receive a K-4 visa.
You can check the status of your Form I-129F petition online using your 13-character USCIS case receipt number. The receipt number consists of three letters, followed by ten numbers. You should be able to find this number on any letters you have received from USCIS.
After you file Form I-129F, you may need to wait up to 13 months for USCIS to approve it. Once this happens, your fiancé or spouse will be able to apply for their K-1 or K-3 visa, and if they’re eligible, a marriage green card.
With Boundless, you don’t have to start your marriage green card paperwork from scratch because our user-friendly software safely stores your K-1 information and documents.