Love Knows No Borders: Understanding the I-129F Fiancé Visa for International Couples

Posted on Jul 3, 2023 by Chris Prescott

Love knows no borders in our interconnected world. When two people from different countries find love and envision a future together, navigating immigration laws can be a complex endeavor. However, the United States provides a solution through the I-129F Fiancé Visa, offering a pathway for couples to unite on American soil and build their lives together. 

The I-129F Fiancé Visa, also known as the K-1 visa, is a nonimmigrant visa specifically designed for foreign nationals engaged to U.S. citizens. This visa allows the foreign fiancé(e) to enter the United States and get married to their U.S. citizen partner within 90 days of arrival. Once married, the foreign spouse can then apply for adjustment of status to become a lawful permanent resident.

To successfully obtain an I-129F Fiancé Visa, couples must meet certain requirements. Firstly, the petitioner must be a U.S. citizen and confirm their intention to marry their foreign fiancé(e) within 90 days of their arrival in the United States. Also, the couple must have met in person within the past two years. However, there are limited exceptions to this requirement in cases where meeting in person would be impossible due to extreme hardship or cultural reasons.

Additionally, both the U.S. citizen, petitioner, and the foreign fiancé(e) must be legally free to marry. This means they must be unmarried, or if previously married, any prior marriages must have been legally terminated through divorce, annulment, or death of the former spouse.

Once the eligibility requirements are met, the petitioner must file the Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition should include supporting documentation such as evidence of the couple’s relationship, photographs together, proof of in-person meetings, etc.

After the USCIS approves the petition, it will be forwarded to the appropriate U.S. consulate or embassy in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country. The foreign fiancé(e) will then be required to undergo an interview to determine their eligibility for the visa. During the interview, the couple will be evaluated on the authenticity of their relationship, their knowledge of each other, and their future plans as a married couple.

If the interview is successful, the foreign fiancé(e) will be granted the K-1 visa, allowing them to travel to the United States. Once in the United States, the couple has 90 days to get married. If they fail to marry within the allotted time, the foreign fiancé(e) must leave the country.

As for the timeline, it will vary based on the service center processing the I-129F and the consulate/embassy where the K-1 fiancé(e) will attend their interview. These processing times are ever-changing; although, it seems as though they are getting longer instead of shorter.  

Once the foreign fiancé has arrived in the US and the marriage is completed, it is time for the foreign spouse to obtain their green card.  To do this, the form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is filed with USCIS.  Note that once this green card is approved (usually after an interview), they will receive a conditional green card, which is valid for 2 years.  

A I-751 removal of conditions will need to be filed prior to the expiration of the green card in order to obtain the 10 year green card..  For more information on this process, please see our flowchart, located on our website: https://patel-law-group.local/removal-of-conditions-process-form-i-751/

The I-129F Fiancé Visa offers a pathway for international couples to start a life in a country that values diversity and the unity of families. 

If you have any questions regarding the process, please contact PLG Partner, Chris Prescott at