I-129F Filing Fee: Current Costs for K-1 Visa Petitions

The I-129F petition is an essential form for those seeking to bring their alien fiancé(e) to the United States on a K-1 visa, as well as their children with K-2 classification. This form is also used when a U.S. citizen wishes to bring their spouse (K-3) and their children (K-4) to the U.S. to apply for lawful permanent resident status. The completion and submission of this form to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a critical first step in a process that paves the way for a foreign national to marry their U.S. citizen fiancé(e) within the country.

Filing fees are an integral part of the petition process with USCIS, and the I-129F is no exception. An accurate fee must accompany the petition; otherwise, the USCIS will reject the submission. It is important for petitioners to be aware of the correct amount, as well as any changes to the fee structure that may have occurred. They should also note the available methods for payment to ensure smooth processing of their application.

Additionally, petitioners should be conscious of any recent injunctions or changes to immigration law that may affect the filing fees or the petition process itself. For instance, legal actions can enjoin certain rules, affecting how the USCIS implements fee schedules and other related requirements. Navigating the requirements successfully requires a thorough understanding of both the form and the current immigration policies.

I-129F Filing Fee Overview

The I-129F filing fee is a mandatory payment for petitioners seeking to bring their fiancé(e) to the United States. Accurate knowledge of the fee structure is crucial for a smooth application process.

Current Fee Amount

As of the last update, the filing fee for the I-129F petition, known as the Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), is set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). To ensure accuracy, applicants should always verify the current filing fee on the official USCIS website or by contacting their offices, as fees can change.

Fee Changes and History

Historically, immigration filing fees have been subject to adjustments. These changes typically reflect operational costs and inflation. USCIS periodically reviews and may alter fees; significant updates would be officially announced and documented. Applicants should remain alert to any potential announcements by USCIS about changes to the fee structure to avoid any financial misunderstandings during their application process.

Eligibility Criteria

For the I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), there are stringent eligibility criteria set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that individuals must meet to file successfully. These include parameters for the relationships that may qualify and financial thresholds to ensure support for the incoming fiancé(e).

Qualifying Relationships

  • Fiancé(e) Visa (K-1 and K-2 for children): The petitioner must be a U.S. citizen engaged to a foreign national, intending to marry within 90 days of the fiancé(e)’s entry into the United States. The petitioner and the fiancé(e) must have met in person at least once within two years of filing the petition, although waivers for this requirement may be granted in certain circumstances.
  • Spouse Visa (K-3 and K-4 for children): If the petitioner is already married to the beneficiary, the petitioner can seek to bring the spouse to the U.S. while the immigrant visa petition is pending.

Income Requirements

For the petitioner to sponsor their fiancé(e), they must demonstrate the ability to financially support their fiancé(e), meeting or exceeding 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This assurance is necessary to prevent the beneficiary from becoming a public charge while in the United States. The income requirement is a critical point of assessment during the adjudication of the I-129F petition.

Payment Process

When filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), applicants must precisely follow the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines for payment submission. This ensures the processing of their petition without delays due to payment issues.

Accepted Payment Methods

USCIS accepts several payment methods for the I-129F filing fee. Applicants can choose from the following options:

  • Money order
  • Cashier’s check
  • Personal check

For petitions filed at a USCIS lockbox facility, applicants have the additional option to pay by:

  • Credit card, using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Payment Submission Guidelines

Failure to adhere to the USCIS’s payment submission guidelines can result in the rejection of the petition. Applicants should observe the following guidelines:

  1. Exact Amount: The payment must cover the exact filing fee amount, which is currently set at $535.
  2. Payee Information: Checks or money orders should be made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Abbreviations such as “USDHS” or “DHS” are not advisable.
  3. Correct Form: When paying by credit card at a USCIS lockbox facility, Form G-1450 must be completed and included with the petition package.

By meticulously following these payment methods and submission guidelines, applicants can ensure that their payment for Form I-129F is processed correctly, facilitating a smoother application process.

Additional Costs

When filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), applicants should be aware that the base filing fee is not the only expense they may incur. Here is a breakdown of potential additional costs associated with this process:

  • Biometrics Services Fee: Some applicants may need to provide biometrics, and an additional fee is required for this service.
  • Travel and Accommodation: As the applicant’s partner will likely need to attend an interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad, travel costs and potential accommodations should be factored in.
  • Medical Examination: A medical examination is required for the fiancé(e) visa process. The cost varies by country and physician but can be significant.
  • Translation Services: All documents submitted must be in English or accompanied by a certified English translation. If originals are in another language, translation services will be an additional cost.
  • Mailing and Courier Fees: Secure mailing of documents can add to the expenses, especially for international courier services.
  • Legal Services: If the couple decides to hire an immigration attorney or consultant, this will result in additional fees, varying based on the complexity of the case and the professional’s rates.

Applicants should also prepare for fluctuating costs due to changes in government fees or additional requests for evidence, which may require further documentation and associated costs.

Here is an example of how costs might be tabulated:

Service Estimated Cost Range
Biometrics Services Fee $85 per person
Medical Examination $100 – $500
Translation Services Variable
Mailing/Courier Fees $50 – $200
Legal Services $1,000 – $5,000+

Note: All costs are estimates and vary by individual circumstances.

Fee Waiver Eligibility

When applying for a I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), certain applicants may qualify for a fee waiver if they demonstrate an inability to pay the filing fee.

Waiver Requirements

Applicants must provide evidence that they meet one of the following criteria:

  • They are receiving a means-tested benefit.
  • Their household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • They are experiencing financial hardship that prevents them from paying the filing fee.

Application Process for Fee Waivers

To apply for a fee waiver:

  1. Complete Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or submit a written request.
  2. Attach supporting documentation to prove the claim for inability to pay.
  3. Submit the fee waiver request with the I-129F petition.

Applicants will receive a notification regarding the approval or denial of their fee waiver request.

Processing Times

When filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), applicants should be aware that the processing times can vary significantly based on several factors.

Estimated Timeframe

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides estimations for the processing times of various forms, including the I-129F. As per the most recent data, processing times can range from 5 months to over a year, though timelines may shift depending on the volume of applications and other administrative factors.

Factors Affecting Processing

Several key factors can influence the duration of the processing period:

  • Service Center Workload: Each USCIS service center has a unique caseload. The more applications it handles, the longer processing may take.
  • Filing Accuracy: Incorrect or incomplete information can result in delays or requests for evidence, which prolong the overall processing time.
  • Security Checks: The thoroughness of required background and security checks can affect how quickly an application moves through the system.

Applicants should monitor the USCIS website for the most current processing times for Form I-129F and continuously check their case status online.

Troubleshooting Payment Issues

When filing Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), applicants may encounter payment issues that can lead to delays or rejections. It’s important to understand common errors and know how to resolve payment delays efficiently.

Common Payment Errors

Applicants should be aware of the following frequent payment mistakes:

  • Incorrect Amount: The filing fee must match the required amount at the time of filing. Any discrepancy can result in rejection.
  • Outdated Forms: Payment forms, such as Form G-1450 for credit card transactions, must be current and accurately filled out.
  • Credit Card Issues: Payments made with a credit card issued by a non-U.S. bank or with insufficient funds will not be processed.

A detailed checklist to prevent these errors might include:

  1. Verifying the current filing fee on the official USCIS website.
  2. Ensuring all payment forms are up to date and completely filled.
  3. Confirming the credit card has sufficient funds and is issued by a U.S. bank.

Resolving Payment Delays

To address delays in payment processing, applicants should:

  • Check Case Processing Times: Regularly monitor the USCIS case processing times for any updates that could impact payment processing.
  • Case Status Online: Use the USCIS online tool to track the status of your petition and see if the payment has been accounted for.

If a payment issue arises, applicants may need to:

  • Double-check the payment amount against the USCIS fee schedule.
  • Ensure the correct credit card information was provided and funds are available.
  • Contact USCIS for guidance, especially if a payment appears to have been processed but no case update is available.

By following these guidelines, applicants can preempt and promptly resolve payment issues that may occur during the I-129F filing process.

Contact Information

When applying for the I-129F Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) and needing to determine the appropriate filing fee, applicants may require direct assistance or resources for support. The following contact information can be utilized to seek such assistance.

USCIS Contact Details

For any queries related to filing fees and forms, applicants can contact the USCIS Contact Center. Here are the specific details:

  • Phone: 1-800-375-5283
  • TTY: 1-800-767-1833 (for the deaf or hard of hearing)

Support Resources

Applicants can access various support resources to assist with their I-129F filing:

  • USCIS Official Website: Visit the website for up-to-date information and downloadable forms.
  • USCIS Guide: This guide provides detailed instructions on filling out the I-129F form.

It is advisable to contact USCIS during their business hours for the most efficient service.