The following items may make your life easier and help you get a little sleep at night 🙂
Make sure to provide these letters (example "Letter of Intent to Marry"), having each letter signed by the author in ink (we recommend each person sign their letter in ink to indicate original authorship of the letter) . The foreign fiance(e) should begin to write this when the US Citizen petitioner is first starting work on the I-129F since it will likely take them a few days to do this and even longer to mail the completed and signed letter to the US petitioner (international mail can be slow if sent at the standard speed). As a note, the latest I-129F also has a similar statement in section 4 (signed by the petitioner). Regardless, many adjudicators still look for the noted letters above.
After filing your I-129F begin to consider items required for the I-134 (needed once your petition reaches the embassy). Contact your financial institution(s) and request information on their procedures to provide the financial documentation required by the I-134. You may be surprised that gathering the required documentation from them is not simply an office visit and may require several weeks for them to mail you the requested forms (Bank of America has been known to mail these documents to you after you visit a local office in person to request them -- and pay). Planning ahead will reduce the chance of an unexpected delay later in the process.
When you complete the I-134 consider making two official copies (both signed). You will be sending one of these to your fiance(e) (via mail likely) and in the unlikely event you need it, you will have a backup in case the original is lost. As long as the cost is minimal this is a good safety net to potentially save time.
Be sure that you have the original documents for any item that you submit as a photocopy in your original petition. The original documents may be requested (even though they allow you to initially submit a copy) by the USCIS and even embassy as part of the adjudication process.
Along with the biographical information form, you will need passport-type (see specification) photos of both you and your fiance(e). Write the full name of the corresponding person on the back of the photo in a permanent soft tipped marker. Place the photos in corresponding plastic bags and label the bag "Photo of (insert name) ". Attach the bag to a sheet of paper and place behind the corresponding I-129F.
When collecting information that "documents proof of having met your fiance(e) within two years" consider information that "factually" places the two of you together first. This means items such as dated photographs, airlines tickets/stubs (proving you boarded) to their country (or for them to the US and your home city), etc.. You should also consider submitting information that validates your relationship which will help the adjudicator understand the scope of your relationship and acts as secondary evidence (photos together, dated emails -edit out personal items first-, etc..).
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NOTE: The above information does not address the specific requirements for any given case and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.
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