Choosing the Right Photos for your Fiancee or Spousal Visa Petition, I-129F or I-130 foreign mail order brides Preparing a successful I-129F or I-130 Fiancee or Spousal visa petition is both 'Art' and 'Science'. Choose the right photos, and tell a clear and compelling story. has personal ads from women from Asia, China, Russia that seek honest western men..

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My name is Fred Wahl. I am a matchmaker. I help my clients find each other for romance and marriage. Then I help them navigate USCIS immigration to bring their alien fiancees or spouses to the USA.

I believe in providing personal service. If you have questions about Fiancee or Spousal Visas, call me.
1-800-806-3210 x702 or 1-213-341-0808 x702

Choosing the Right Photos to Prove your
relationship is Bona Fide

Preparing a successful visa petition is both 'Art' and 'Science'. The science is filling in the blanks correctly, and remembering to attach all the official documents that are needed.  The 'Art' comes in when you choose what evidence to present and how much to present, in order to prove to a possibly  unfriendly stranger that you are a bona fide couple.

One element of the rainbow of evidence, are photographs, of the two of you as a couple. Imagine this as if you were giving slide show, but you only have a few minutes to tell your whole story. Choosing the 'right' photos to show to immigration is very important.

Simple Purpose:

1. To prove you have met 'face to face'

Key purpose is your Opportunity

2. To demonstrate you have a 'bona fide' relationship

Easy to accomplish #1, #2 is more Art than Science.
You want to tell a story. The story should be about a genuine, 'in love' couple that wants to spend the rest of their lives together.

What should be in the photos?

Couple Should Be in the Photo: 
This is all about the two of you, so both of you should be in each photo.

Positive Body Language:
Smiling, holding hands, leaning in to each
other. One of my clients took pictures of him and his girl friend on his first trip to meet each other. It was obvious from the photos that they  were strangers,  and a bit uncomfortable with each other. Her arms  were always crossed across her chest, and they always kept as much distance between them as they could. I insisted that he go on a second trip, and get more photos and proof of the bona fides. And it worked just great. They ended up very happy to take more time to build their relationship and enjoy their engagement. The photos from the second trip showed a real couple, who were happy to be together and comfortable in each others company.

Mid-distance shots.
Another client gave me a bunch of photos of he and
his fiancee, taken when he was holding the camera at arms length away from his body pointing back at the couples faces. Such a photo accomplishs #1 that the couple met. but does nothing to prove bona fides. Better the shot is taken at a farther distance and the background is easily identifiable. These close up face shots could have, and probably were taken all at the same time, which is a red flag.

Identifiable Backgrounds.
Make sure there are easily identifyable landmarks
or events going on  in the background. If a couple are trying to trick immigration and pretend a sham marriage in order to obtain a passport, typically the tricksters don't spend too much time together. So there photos would usually be taken all at once, one afternoon. So instead you want to make sure it is obvious you have spent a lot of time together and shared some travel and activities. So presenting a photo in front of downtown, another at  the zoo, another at the acqarium, another at a historical site or  in front of a 'Welcome to Our town' sign, for a town far away from the city  she lives in, another in the countryside, mountains, lake, beach all add up to 'tell the story' that you have a genuine relationship.

Seasons, Events, Holidays: 
If you make multiple trips. Try to vary the time of year you go, so that the background of the photos clearly indicate this was a totally different trip. For example if the fiancee's country has winter and summer, some photos with snow in the background, or wearing heavy coats easily delineate from another trip taken during the heat of summer. If the seasons look similar, try to find backgrounds that indicate a seasonal holiday. The background might have a decorated Christmas Tree, or a Happy New Year's  banner, or show an independence day, Kings Birthday or other national holiday, or celebration.

Time of Day:
Vary the time of day. Choose some photos taken at day and some at night.

Date Stamping:
Having your camera automatically insert the month,
day and year onto each photo. Is the simplest, and most effective way to demonstrate when your photos have been taken and that they have been taken on different days. Another way to also show the date is to find a background that shows the date, a sign in front of a wedding party, or a sign in a hotel lobby often show the date.

Vary the clothing you wear. Again you want to dispel any suggestion that you are taking all the photos on the same day. So each day of your trip vary the wardrobe that you and your partner are wearing. So each photo that you say is taken on a different day, looks consistent with another day.

Friends or Coworkers:
If a couple is genuine, one would expect the proud fiancee to 'show off' and introduce her fiance to her friends or coworkers or fellow students. So a group photo at her place of study, work or liesure with her peers is a good choice.

A serious fiance will meet his new 'in laws' and especially want to meet her parents or family elders to 'ask for her hand'. A photo showing the couple together with her happy 'on board' family is a must.

Less is More:
Don't be repetitive.  One of my clients gave me 12 pictures of him and his fiancee at a single restaurant.  Of course, every single picture was precious to him and his fiancee. But they should be saved for the family album not used for the visa petition. One, possibly two pictures telling about a moment in your time together is interesting. 10 pictures repeating the same story is boring and not effective at all. Better to share 12 photos that each and every one tell of a
different activity or event that occured while the couple was enjoying their time together.

What you should Avoid:

You want to keep the Consular officer who is reviewing your petition and preparing to interview your fiancee, friendly and on your side, interested and feeling positively about you and your fiancee when he sees your photos. Each photo should bring him closer to identifying with you as a genuine couple.  He may have strong moral, racial, religious and/s cultural biases. Be extra careful not to inadvertantly offend him. If he feels offended, or that something is wrong, he will dig for problems until he finds justification to deny your case. Make sure your entire petition consistently leads him to be utterly convinced you are a bona fide couple

No Sexually Charged Images:
No Kissing or groping.  My clients present me with a lot of photos with them kissing, hugging, the girl sitting on his lap, laying on a bed together or simply obviously in a hotel room. While none of these so far has been X rated, I am a liberal person, butI would be uncomfortable if my daughter was in those pictures. Just show normal happy, friendly, comfortable couples.

No King Kong carrying Fay Raye, images:
When I see a 6 foot tall, 270 pound man, bear hugging while towering completely over a tiny 5', 100 pound, girl. I can't help but feel uncomfortable for her. Try to minimize size differences. Try mid range shots, or have both sitting down side by side, so their heads are about the same level.

Avoid Negative Body language: 
Any negative body language by the couple obviously should be avoided.  In addition look how the other people in the photo appear. I got one photo of a couple with her parents. The couple was smiling but the parents were scowling. Perhaps thats the way the parents always look. We will never know. But that particular photo made it appear they were not happy with the engagement. That could be a red flag.

Avoid Culturally Offensive Images:
I got a photo and the couple were in front of a statue of a character out of her countries cultural history. The couple made hand gestures like the character was wearing horns.  Perhaps the CO would have thought that funny, like the couple did. Or perhaps he would have been offended. I would not take the chance.

Don't cheat: 
Every week I catch one of my clients faking the dates on his trip photos.  He took a few photos on one day, then falsely claimed they were taken on different days, so he could (he believed) tell a better story about his trip. Ever CO carefully looks at the clothing the couple is wearing and the backgrounds in each picture. If told two pictures were supposedly taken a week apart, but the couple is wearing exactly the same outfit, the CO knows there is fraud going on.  Don't attempt to use photo processing software to fake photos. Once caught in even the smallest  misrepresentation, the entire petition is put in question. My clients were lucky I caught their ill advised attempt and stopped it before it could get them into trouble.

My imaginary ideal of the timeline of a genuine romantic engagement

My ideal couple have been corresponding for 6 months or MORE. The man flys to meet her for the first time. They spend a week getting to  know each other. She shows him her country. They are in love.

3 to 6 months later, he can't bear to be apart from her any longer and flys back to her country. He stays longer this time. He meets her family. He  gives her a ring. They have an engagement party. She shows him more of her country.

Upon his return to the USA he submits the petition.

The photos this couple should attach to their Fiancee or Spousal, I-129F or I-130 petition are:

From First trip:
Photos of the couple together on different days, wearing different cloths, in various identifiable locations.

Second trip:
Same: Photos of the couple together on different days,
wearing different cloths, in various identifiable locations. Now added are photos with her family, and/or friends. An engagement party. She wearing the ring.

Certainly not everyone's experience is like this 'ideal case'. But the closer your courtship and engagement appears to be like that of other genuine couples from her country and culture, the better.

When you choose the right photos, and tell a clear and compelling story,  the more likely it is your petition will have smooth sailing.

To see samples of photos, and a Youtube presentation that describes how to choose your photos go to:
Visa Coach Petition Photographs

Fred Wahl

ps. Watch my Fiancee Visa training videos, they provide a lot of free information on how to apply for your visa, and how to avoid mistakes.

If you are  starting a relationship, or still looking, take a minute to watch my most important video on "How to prove a genuine relationship for the Fiancee or Spousal vis"a".  You will be much better prepared in case you find your life partner and petition to live together in the USA.

Of course if you have already found your partner and are applying for a K-1 or K-3 visa, put the suggestions shown on the youtube video to immediate use to making your petition more believable and thus ensuring  a happy ending to your visa application.

Watch this video describing how to prove a bone fide, genuine relationship for USCIS when applying for a K-1 Fiancee or CR-1 Spousal Visa, using I-129F or I-130 Petitions

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