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(e) of a U.S. citizen, or a K-3 visa for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. 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. If you’re the spouse of a U.S. citizen, you can use the K-3 visa to enter the U.S. while you’re waiting for your green card to be processed. For both of these visas, you will need to file Form I-129F to start the process.
(For simplicity, below we’ll use “fiancé” to mean either a male or female engaged partner.)
In this guide you will learn about:
The processing time for Form I-129F can take anywhere from one to three years. Boundless can help you get started on your K-1 visa or adjustment of status application right away! Get started today.
Form I-129F Processing Times
According to USCIS, the processing time for Form I-129F at the Dallas Lockbox is 10-13 months as of July 2021. You can use the tool provided by USCIS to check processing times. To make sure your form gets processed as quickly as possible however, you should make sure all the key information about you and the person being sponsored is filled out correctly.
Form I-129F to Green Card Timeline
Once your Form I-129F petition has been approved, the sponsored fiancé or spouse will then need to apply for their visa, attend an interview and enter the U.S. before they can apply for a green card. In the case of a K-1 visa, once the visa is approved, they 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 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) so they can start their spousal green card application, which can take anywhere from a few months to a few years to process.
If you’ve filed Form I-129F to get a K-3 visa so your spouse can enter the U.S. and apply for a green card, it might be more convenient to directly apply for a green card through consular processing. Not only does it take the same amount of time to process, it would also allow your spouse to start working straight away when they arrive in the U.S., without the need to apply for a work permit. Applying directly would also save the extra step and expenses on the journey towards a marriage green card.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
Boundless can help you make sure all your forms are filed correctly and avoid common mistakes in the green card process. Learn more today!
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 naturalization or citizenship certificate, 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:
1. Where can I file Form I-129F?
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.
2. Can I file Form I-129F online?
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.
3. Can I file Form I-129F from outside the U.S.?
Only USCIS will assess Form I-129F, so the sponsoring U.S. citizen will need to file from within the U.S..
4. Can I file Form I-129F for the children of my fiancé or spouse?
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.
5. How can I check the status of Form I-129F?
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.
6. What happens after I file Form I-129F?
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.
Boundless can help you consider your options and answer any questions you might have about which route to take. Get started today!