I have family responsibilities (children, elders, etc.) and I cannot leave to go overseas.
If you are unable to find someone who can watch your family members for a short period, you will have a hard time convincing the U.S.C.I.S. that they should issue a K visa for your fiancA(C)(e) to come to the U.S. "Extreme hardship" has been interpreted very strictly by the Administrative Appeals Office that reviews petitions that have been rejected by U.S.C.I.S. staff. If you are unable to find a substitute caregiver for a few days they look upon that as unreasonable. Usually one can fly to almost any place within one day, and if you cannot go visit your fiancA(C)(e) in their home country they should be able to come to the U.S. to meet you or in a third country more convenient for both, where they can easily get a visa or travel visa free.
The fact that this is expensive is not an "extreme hardship" as you also have to have sufficient income above the poverty level to support fiancA(C)(e) once they enter the U.S. or after adjustment of status once you are married and file the I-485.
I cannot fly to my fiancA(C)(e)'s home country, I am afraid of planes and have a psychiatric condition.
This also well may not convince the U.S.C.I.S. to grant you a waiver of the 2 year meeting requirement. First, has your fiance(e) tried to come to the U.S. on a visitor or business visa (B1/B2) to meet? You should be able to show that your fiancA(C)(e) has repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to enter the U.S. as a visitor in the last 2 years.
If your intended spouse has been refused entry into the U.S. have you tried to meet them in a 3rd country that you can travel to without taking a plane? Such as by boat or by bus? Mexico does not require any visas so you should be able to take a boat or bus to Mexico to meet your intended fiancA(C)(e).
If you are going to use a medical reason why you cannot travel to visit your fiancA(C)(e) you must be able to objectively establish that you cannot travel through any means possible and that your intended spouse is unable to meet you in any other way. Your doctor should provide a detailed historical report, not just a short note that you cannot travel.
My job will not give me a vacation and I cannot travel long distances; to do so would be an extreme hardship.
Once again,the U.S.C.I.S. .has held that "extreme hardship" means just that, extreme, not just hardship. If you can get a long weekend and take one extra day to travel, let us say, leave Thursday evening, fly out of the country and land overseas Friday morning, then travel to meet your fiancA(C)(e) by Saturday and then begin the return trip on Sunday and back in the United States by Monday evening. The fact that this travel may be expensive or may be a burden or may require you to lose one day of pay is not enough for the U.S.C.I.S. adjudicators or the A.A.O. to make a determination of extreme hardship.
My religion or traditional social custom of my fiancA(C)(e) prevents us meeting before marriage.
If this is true in your case you need to provide extensive documentation to prove that it can be demonstrated "objectively" and it is not just a stance you have adopted in order to convince the U.S.C.I.S. to let your fiancA(C)(e) into the United States prior to meeting. This may require affidavits from a recognized authority or expert in the field that is knowledgeable regarding the marriage and courtship customs of that particular society. The costs of these reports and research may be expensive and you should be prepared to have an expert file a detailed report. If you other relatives have met your fiancA(C)(e) you should provide proof of that and if negotiations have occurred between families or there are ceremonies involved all of these should be carefully documented and the documentation reviewed by a lawyer and expert before submitting it to the U.S.C.I.S. as it will be scrutinized closely.
Can I file a I-129F petition without legal assistance if I have never met my fiancA(C)(e)?
You certainly can, however if you cannot establish the statutory requirements for approving such a petition it will most likely be denied and will then have to be appealed. You should consult with an immigration attorney that has experience in this area before proceeding.
As you can see from the answers provided above it is very difficult to convince the U.S.C.I.S. that your case will allow them to waive the two year meeting condition before approving your petition.
It may be less expensive to travel to your fiancA(C)(e)'s country and establish that you were both in the same place (even if you cannot be physically present together alone) and use that to show that you had a "meeting" that is acceptable to your fiancA(C)(e)'s culture with your relatives taking part (if applicable) or that you met in a third country before attempting to get a petition approved on this very special and limited exception to the requirement that you meet your fiancA(C)(e) prior to filing an I-129F petition.
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