Previously published. Significantly updated and corrected, 2 December 2012
If you are sure that the Fiancé(e) Visa is the one for you, then this post will give you a complete overview of what’s involved. As always I try to quote from authoritative sources and in this case you can’t get much more authoritative than the USCIS’ (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) own web site … www.uscis.gov
1. Only a U.S. citizen may file USCIS Form I-129F (Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)) on behalf of a fiancé(e).
2. The U.S. citizen filing the petition must provide the following items to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (more complete instructions are on USCIS Form I-129F):
* Form I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) (if your fiancé(e) has unmarried children who are under 21, they are eligible to accompany your fiancé(e), but only if they are listed on this form.)
* Evidence of your U.S. citizenship – your original U.S. birth certificate, your U.S. passport, your Certificate of Naturalization, or your Certificate of Citizenship. (Please see USCIS Form I-129F for information on the use of copies.)
* 2 Form G-325A Biographic Data Sheets (one for you and one for your fiancé(e))
* One color photo of you and one of your fiancé(e) taken within 30 days of filing (please see Form I-129F for more instructions on photos).
* A copy of any divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees if either you or your fiancé(e) have been previously married.
* Proof of permission to marry if you or your fiancé(e) are subject to any age restrictions. (For instance, in some U.S. states, you must receive special permission to marry if you are under the age of 16.)
There is a tremendous amount of "hoopla" that circulates about this form, the time it takes to process and how difficult filing the form actually is. I’m not going to try to minimize anything but I do want to assure you that this is not anywhere near as difficult as some people would have you believe.
If you do a Google search for this form you’ll find dozens of agencies and actual attorneys who offer to handle this process for fees from $500 on up to stratospheric prices. If you can figure out you own name and address, though, I can assure you that you do not need to spend this sort of money.
The process is simply this:
Not really all that much to it. In future posts we will go through this process in a very hands-on, step by step manner so that anyone can do it.
In closing I’d like to add a caveat, though. A few people … and you likely know who you are … should consider hiring competent legal assistance from day one. In particular if you have had petitions turned down in the past, if you have a criminal record, if you fiancé(e) is currently married, has worked in a bar or as a prostitute, etc.
If you are like 99% of the couples who go through this procedure every year, just follow along … we’ll help you make it work.