Filing Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) is an essential first step for many individuals hoping to bring their foreign fiancé to the United States through the K-1 nonimmigrant visa program. This allows meeting in person to get legally married within 90 days of the visa holder’s entry. USCIS states that 80 percent of cases are currently processed for this petition within 9 to 19 months.
After this time, USCIS can still be processing your application, but you are able to request an e-service request for being “outside of processing times.” To note, this only includes the first step in the process. After the petition is approved, the petition is transferred to the National Visa Center for Step 2.
Knowing what to expect regarding processing timeframes helps petitioners prepare accordingly and resolve any potential issues in a timely manner. At New Frontier Immigration Law, our Phoenix immigration lawyers can help you complete and file Form I-129F to minimize the chances of a mistake leading to unnecessary delays.
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Steps in the Processing of Your Petition
After Form I-129F is received by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a variety of steps are taken to process the petition. The first thing that USCIS will do will be to send you a receipt notice, with a reference number you can use to track the status of your petition on their website. USCIS will then begin processing your petition by:
- Verifying information accuracy
- Initiating background checks with security agencies
- Notifying you of any additional information they need to process your petition
- Interviewing you and your fiancé(e)
Once they have completed these steps, USCIS will either approve, deny or request additional evidence to make a decision on your case.
While the majority of petitions are processed within the expected timeline, delays can arise, and USCIS officers may require additional time to investigate certain issues with your case.
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Factors that Can Alter the Processing Time
Several factors can come into play that will alter the amount of time it takes to process your petition. Some of the things that most commonly affect the processing time of Form I-129F include:
- The number of petitions received
- Staffing at the USCIS facility where the petition is being processed
- Whether or not any mistakes were made on the petition
Processing time estimates take into account the routine eligibility review, background screening process, and often necessary follow-up requests for evidence or clarification from applicants. Providing the correct documentation from the start significantly streamlines this process. It is difficult to predict individual results with certainty.
File Early in Case of Delays
Because there is no guarantee on the timeline for processing your Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), it is wise for petitioners to plan finances, travel, and wedding timelines based on maximum expected processing durations instead of hoping for the fastest outcomes. Completing applications fully from the start helps minimize such delays.
The earlier you file and the more you do to ensure your petition is full and accurate, the less stress you will face down the road while waiting for the processing of your petition to be completed.
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What to Do If Your Petition Exceeds Posted USCIS Estimates
In the event a Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) exceeds the posted USCIS estimated completion time frame without notification or response, individuals can initiate polite status inquiries through normal administrative channels.
Doing this will flag your case for USCIS to notify them of potential errors proactively for resolution assistance. If there is still no movement in your case, there are additional options for further escalations.
At this point, you may want to consider hiring an immigration lawyer to make inquiries on your behalf and attempt to move your case forward. While waiting understandably proves anxious, you should avoid using demanding or presumptuous tones when dealing with USCIS officers as not only is this behavior unlikely to help, but it could actually negatively impact your petition.
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Reach Out to an Experienced Immigration Lawyer Today
You don’t have to wait for your petition to hit a snag to hire an immigration lawyer. By working with an attorney from the start, you can greatly improve your chances of filing a complete and accurate petition that avoids many of the delays that petitions with mistakes face.
At New Frontier Immigration Law, we have helped countless people successfully file Form I-129F for a K-1 Fiancé Visa. Our team of experienced immigration lawyers understands the complexities of the immigration system and can help give you the best odds of a smooth filing process and quick approval.
Contact us today by phone or through our website to schedule your free consultation with a member of our legal team.