All U.S. citizens seeking to file an I-129F Petition for Alien Fiance with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must demonstrate that they have met their fiance(e) in person within two years of filing the petition. Those who have not met their fiance(e) in person within two years would still like to file an I-129F may do so provided USCIS waives the two-year meeting requirement.

Applying for a waiver must be done in conjunction with the original I-129F filing. There are two scenarios of how a meeting requirement waiver may be granted:

  • If meeting between the petitioner and beneficiary would result in “extreme hardship” to the petitioner;
  • If such meeting would violate long-standing customs of the beneficiary’s culture.

Extreme Hardship to the Petitioner

USCIS interprets extreme hardship to the petitioner as showing that it is close to physically impossible for the petitioner to be able to meet the beneficiary. For example, the petitioner not being financially able to make a trip to meet the beneficiary or the petitioner not being able to have enough time off work to meet the beneficiary is not viewed as extreme hardship. However, if the petitioner is suffering from a medical condition in which they are physically unable to travel may be seen as extreme hardship. At the same time, the petitioner being unable to travel because they are incarcerated or on parole is normally not seen as extreme hardship to the petitioner.

Meeting Prior to Marriage Would Violate of Long-Standing Customs of the Beneficiaries Culture

In situations where it is physically possible for the couple to meet but doing so would violate long-standing customs of the beneficiary’s culture, a waiver may be sought. However, proving that such a meeting would violate long-standing cultural traditions must be backed up by hard evidence. One example may be that in certain cultures, it is a long-established tradition for a couple not to have physically met until their wedding night.


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