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K1 Fiancé Visa: Do's & Don'ts

When you decide to tackle the task of bringing your foreign fiancé to the US, you will find that the task is daunting, at best. The form I-129F can be challenging for some, and many attempt to "self-file" these petitions (not use an agency or attorney). But what many self-filers don't do is look at their petition as a third party; they know the relationship is real, and so should USCIS, right? Wrong!!

Since the process is quite a challenge, many overlook certain things that should be included in the petition. Yes, there are the basic requirements that must be fulfilled, but frontloading a petition with additional supporting documents can make a big difference!!

Since I started doing these fiancé visa petitions in 2004, I have stuck to a particular method that has given Visa Services International the best approval rate in the industry, with a consistent 100% approval rate since 2004.

So, what needs to be included in your fiancé visa petition? That's a question that has been bounced all over the globe, with no consistent answers, but my suggestions are based on 14 years of experience in preparing these K1/K2 fiancé visa petitions, again with a 100% approval rate.

-First, and naturally, you need to submit a fully completed I-129F fiancé visa petition, aka K1 fiancé visa petition. Make sure you answer every question on this form, as applicable. If certain info is hard to obtain, WAIT!!! Do not file it as incomplete, hoping that USCIS will simply overlook your mistakes!!

-Second, be sure to include all of the required documentation in support of the fiancé visa petition. This can vary from one person to the next, but the instructions are quite clear on required documents for your situation.

-Submit form G-1145 with the petition. This will allow USCIS to notify you via text or email that your fiancé visa petition has been accepted for processing.

-Here's where many people fall short: evidence which proves that you & your fiancé have a valid relationship, and have met, in person, during the preceding 2 years. What can you use to prove that the relationship is real?

*Photographs together; write the date taken on the back of each; 8-12 pic's are ok

*Entry/departure stamps in your US passport

*Boarding passes, or a copy of your itinerary for every trip you've made to visit the K1 fiance

*Proof of remittance to your K1 fiancé

*Chat logs; these can clearly show that there is an ongoing relationship between you & your fiance

*Hotel receipts, gift receipts, proof of mailing gifts, etc.

*Skype screenshots; these are a great way to show a real relationship

-What documentation must be included in the fiancé visa petition?

The basics are proof of who you are, and proof of who your fiancé is, such as passport copies, or a copy of a valid, government-issued photo ID.

If either of you have a prior marriage, you need to include proof that the marriage has been legally terminated; divorce decrees or annulment papers are a must!!

You also must include passport-style pictures of each person, which includes any children that your fiancé wishes to bring to the US (aka K2 beneficiaries).

-The big one is the letter of intent to marry. This can be a basic letter, which clearly states each parties' intention of getting married within 90 days of the fiancé arriving in the US using the K1 visa. However, on form I-129F, there is a question that asks you to describe the nature of your relationship, and they don't really give you much space to tell your story. Visa Services International has always advised clients doing the fiancé visa process to use 2-3 sheets of paper, and tell their love story: how they met, how the relationship grew, how they fell in love, when they first me, the things they did together, etc. The letter should finish with the statement of intent to marry within 90 days of arrival on the K1 visa, and both parties need to do one of these letters.

Here's the kicker: The letter of intent and passport-style pic's that you send with the petition to USCIS must be original; letters of intent must be signed. If you know this is what you want to do, have your K1 fiancé get the passport pic's & letter of intent FIRST, before you do anything else. Why? Because it will take 2-4 weeks for these things to arrive in the mail here in the US, and you don't want that stalling your progress.

Now, there are additional things you can do to help your petition, and this is where frontloading comes into play.

*Instead of only sending a copy of the passports, send birth certificates as well. If your fiancé has never been married, have her get a certificate of no marriage (referred to as a CENOMAR in the Philippines, for example).

*Also, for the embassy interview, your fiancé must submit a police clearance to the US embassy, and it must be current. Go ahead and get one early in the paperwork process, and submit it with the fiancé visa petition.

*In addition, at the embassy interview, you, the US petitioner, must provide form I-134, Affidavit of Support. This is proof that you will be able to take care of your foreign fiancé financially once they arrive in the US. So why not give USCIS the preliminary proof when you file the fiancé visa petition? Include a copy of your most recent tax return.

These extra steps can not only help establish a valid relationship, but the extra effort you've taken to prepare the fiancé visa petition (together) is a clear indication that you are both serious about this, and desire a future together.

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