Do I need to have a formal engagement for the I-129F?

There is a great question floating around the internet currently about how formal does your engagement actually have to be to qualify for a fiancé(e) visa. If you’re getting ready to apply for the I-129F application which is the first step in obtaining a fiancé(e) visa, you have to be engaged. What does that mean? And some people are wondering especially in this time of coronavirus, they might be having discussions about marriage by chat or by phone.
Unfortunately, right now we can’t all be together for these extravagant sort of down-on-one-knee, in person, more traditional engagements. We might not be able to physically hand a ring to someone or do things that we would consider to be more traditional having to do with engagements here in the United States.

The good thing and the thing we definitely want you to understand is that there’s not a legal definition of what it means to be formally engaged. All the government and USCIS are saying is “do these two people actually truly intend to marry each other.” So, all it really is going to require for you to be engaged is you saying that you’re engaged, and of course you have to have evidence to prove that you have this relationship. That’s another issue.

There is another legal requirement that you have met in person within the two years prior to filing your petition, though. That’s still a requirement. But say you’ve seen each other while you were dating, but this past year has been rough and obviously you couldn’t travel internationally to see each other. But over this year of long-distance relationship, you’ve realized that life is short and crazy and we want to be together and so we are going to get married and you’ve made that decision. You don’t have to have a formal party. You don’t have to announce it somehow. You just need to be both on the same page, both legally free to marry each other. You’re going to have to have completed prior divorces and things like that if you were previously married. And then you start getting evidence of the relationship which can include a formal type of engagement, but it doesn’t have to.

So, just be aware that there seem to be some rumors flying around online that are adding requirements that aren’t necessary and that aren’t true. We like to always debunk those and give you some peace of mind when that is the case. That’s the story about how formal your engagement has to be, and we have a lot of other videos about how to actually prove this relationship that you have. So, even though you don’t need a formal engagement—There’s no such thing really— You do have to have a lot of relationship evidence and we even have a free resource on our website about that in great detail.

Get Weekly Updates

Sign up for the "Immigration for Couples" newsletter, sent directly to your inbox every Monday and Thursday. We understand that navigating immigration laws as a couple can be challenging, so we're here to offer you guidance and support. Our newsletter includes easy-to-understand articles, helpful tips, and inspiring success stories to help you and your loved one every step of the way. Each edition is filled with compassionate advice and practical solutions to help you manage the complexities of immigration together. Let us help make your journey a little easier—subscribe today!

Start Receiving Our Newsletter