If you are a U.S. citizen, you can sponsor your fiance for a K-1 Fiance Visa. A K-1 Visa will allow your fiance to travel to the U.S. to marry you and then apply for a Marriage Green Card through adjustment of status. Permanent residents (Green Card holders) cannot apply for K-1 Fiance Visas. U.S. Immigration law requires K-1 Fiance Visa applicants to submit supporting documents to the U.S. Government when they apply for a K-1 Visa. This article provides checklists of the supporting documents you will need to collect for each of the three steps of the K-1 Fiance Visa application process.
Written by Jonathan Petts.
Updated October 19, 2022
Checklist #1 - Before you file
There are certain things you will need to do before you file. These steps often require planning and time to complete, so it is good to start working on them a few months before you file your Fiance Visa application.
The five things you will need to do before you file are:
Visit your fiance at least once in the two years before you file. You need to do this unless visiting would cause either of you extreme hardship or would violate your cultural, religious, or social norms. Most people need to satisfy this requirement.
Take 10-15 time-stamped photos of you and your fiance. These should cover as much of the time you have been together as possible. The more pictures you take, the better.
Take time-stamped photos with your fiance's friends and family. These will help prove that you are trying to build a lasting relationship with your fiance. Again, the more photos, the better.
Gather proof of the time you've spent with your fiance. This evidence includes boarding passes, itineraries, hotel receipts, restaurant receipts, store receipts, and other evidence of the time you spent with your fiance. The more evidence you provide, the better.
Gather communication records. Gather a sample of phone call records, text messages, emails, etc., from throughout your relationship that show your relationship has been ongoing.
Get your friends and family to vouch for you. Written statements in support of your marriage from friends, family, and colleagues who are aware of the engagement will help your application. These should typically be in letter form, signed, and, if possible, notarized if possible. Here is a template of a support letter that you can use.
Checklist #2 - I-129F Supporting Documents
The second thing that you will need to do to get a K-1 Fiance Visa is to file Form I-129F, "Petition for Alien Fiancé(e)." This form is also known as a "Fiance Visa petition." The U.S. citizen petitioner will file this form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are four types of required documents that you need to file with Form I-129F. Do not send original documents unless the form instructions tell you to. If you submit any documents (copies or original documents) in a foreign language, you must include a full English translation of those documents. The translation needs to include a certification from the translator that the translation is complete and accurate and that the translator is competent to translate from the foreign language to English. You and your fiance cannot translate your own documents.
You should submit these four things and a cover letter with Form I-129F when you file:
1. Evidence the sponsoring fiance is a U.S. citizen
Their U.S. birth certificate, issued by a civil registrar, vital statistics office, or other civil authority, or
Their naturalization or citizenship certificate issued by USCIS or the former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), or
Their Form FS-240, Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA), issued by a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate, or
Their unexpired U.S. passport, or
An original statement from a U.S. consular officer verifying that they are a U.S. citizen.
2. Evidence that both fiances terminated any previous marriages (if applicable)
A divorce decree,
An annulment order, or
A death certificate for the deceased spouse
3. Miscellaneous Evidence
One color passport-style photograph of the U.S citizen fiance taken within 30 days of filing this petition
One color passport-style photograph of the sponsored fiancé taken within 30 days of filing this petition
Evidence that either fiance has legally changed their name (if applicable)
Evidence to support an IMBRA waiver (if applicable - this does not apply to most people).
A copy of all Form I-94 arrival-departure records the sponsored fiancé has received over the years.
Two sworn statements, one from each fiance, that include a brief description of your relationship and your intent to get married within 90 days after the sponsored fiance enters the United States on their Fiance Visa. It’s a good idea to provide the original signed statements and keep copies for your records. Here is a template for your intent to marry statements.
Evidence that you met in-person at least once in the two years before filing your Form I-129F. If you haven’t met during that period, submit evidence that meeting in-person would violate strict customs of the sponsored fiance's culture or would be an extreme hardship for the U.S. citizen fiance.
4. Filing Fee
You will need to pay the $535 I-129F filing fee when you submit your petition to USCIS. This fee changes from time to time - you can find the current fee on USCIS's fee schedule. You can pay the fee with a money order, personal check, or cashier’s check made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. If you file with a USCIS Lockbox facility, you may also pay by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions. USCIS Service centers can't process credit card payments.
We can help you prepare the paperwork for your Form I-129F petition for free with our simple web application.
Checklist #3: DS-160 Supporting Documents
The third thing that you will need to do to get a K-1 Fiance Visa is to file Form DS-160, the "Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application." There are five types of required documents that you will need to provide after you file the DS-160. Unless the National Visa Center ("NVC") or the embassy/consulate handling your case says otherwise, the sponsored fiance should bring these items to their visa interview.
Do not provide original documents unless the NVC or Consulate/Embassy handling your case tells you to. If you submit any documents (copies or original documents) in a foreign language, you must include a full English translation of those documents. The translation needs to include a certification from the translator that the translation is complete and accurate and that the translator is competent to translate from the foreign language to English. You and your fiance cannot translate your own documents.
Documents from the sponsored fiance
A printout of their Form DS-160 confirmation page. The sponsored fiance must print their DS-160 confirmation page to bring to the visa interview.
Their valid passport. The passport must be valid for at least six months after their intended period of stay in the U.S. (unless their country-specific agreements provide say otherwise).
Their birth certificate. This must be their official birth certificate issued by a government agency in the country where they were born.
Official proof that their previous marriages have ended. This includes things like divorce, annulment, or death certificate(s) for all former spouses.
Police certificates from the country where they currently live and all countries where they have lived for six months or more since they were 16 years old. You can get a police clearance certificate from the relevant authority in each country. The U.S. Department of Status ("DoS") explains how to get police clearance certificates from each country on its website. On the DoS website, select the first letter of the country’s name, select the country, and click on the “Police, Court, Prison Records” tab.
Their sealed medical examination records. The sponsored fiance will get these records from a doctor abroad who is authorized by the State Department (a "panel physician") during their required immigration medical exam. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate handling the case will send information about this examination a few weeks after receiving the DS-160. The U.S. State Department provides helpful info about the Medical Examination Process on its website.
Two passport-style photos. The sponsored fiance must provide two passport-style photos that meet the photograph requirements explained on the State Department's website.
Documents from both fiances
Evidence that the sponsored fiance will not become a "Public Charge." During their visa interview, the sponsored fiance will need to show the consular officer that they will not become a "Public Charge" once they arrive in the United States. Supporting evidence includes things like the sponsored fiance's tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements. The sponsored fiance can either prove that they can support themselves or show that their U.S. citizen fiancé can support them. The Consular Officer may require the sponsored fiance to provide a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support completed by the U.S. citizen fiance. Form I-134 also requires evidence of financial support - things like the U.S. Citizen Fiance's tax returns, pay stubs, and bank statements. You never know if the consular officer will require Form I-134, so it is always good to bring a completed I-134 to the interview.
Evidence of relationship. The consular officer will need the sponsored fiance to prove that they plan to marry their U.S. citizen fiance. The easiest way to show this is to bring a copy of the approved I-129F package to the interview.
The Immigration Visa Filing Fee
There is a $265 filing fee for a K-1 Fiance Visa, and you can pay it at the visa interview with a check or money order. In many cases, you can also pay this fee online with a debit card or credit card after you file your DS-160. If you pay the fee online, the sponsored fiance will need to bring the online receipt to the visa interview. It’s essential to review the specific instructions about payment on the interview notice that the embassy or consulate sends when they schedule the visa interview. This fee changes from time to time. For a list of the current fees for the Department of State, check out the Fees for Visa Services page of their website.
Documents proving your relationship is legitimate
The consular officer may ask the sponsored fiance for additional information to prove that your relationship is legitimate. This is why you'll want to have all of the items outlined above in "Checklist #1 - Before you file." The sponsored fiance should bring these items to their visa interview.
U.S. Embassy/Consulate-Specific Requirements
The embassy or consulate handling your case may require the sponsored fiance to bring documents not listed above to the visa interview. Check the interview notice that they send you for specific requirements. You can also review U.S. Embassy/Consulate-Specific Instructions online to learn what additional requirements your embassy or consulate has.