Articles Posted in F1 and J1 Student Visas

Students from all over the world come to the United States to study. They typically enter the US on either a J-1 or F-1 Student Visa. They study and then sometimes fall in love. Many times the relationship develops to such a point that that student wishes to get married and stay in the US. The good news is that in most cases, the student can get married and stay in the US and become a legal Permanent Resident of the United States. There are a few options that a student can choose from depending on the type of visa the student was originally granted. In this article, we will focus on students with an F1 Student Visa.  Students with J1 Visa will be discussed in a separate and following article. In some limited cases, students with a J1 Visa must obtain a waiver to stay in the US after getting married and this topic will be fully discussed. For now, lets just focus on the F1 Student visas.
F1 Visas are granted to students who plan to study in the US. They are valid for the duration of the course work and for a brief period of time after the completion of the student’s course of study. In some cases, the student is given time to gain work experience after completing their studies and this is called OPT. Then once the OPT time expires, the F1 student is required to return home.  However, if the student falls in love while in the US and gets married to a US citizen, the student/spouse can apply for an Adjustment of Status to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) and likely stay in the US to live and work without returning home first.

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Students who travel to the United States on an F1 or J1 visa to study, often times fall in love with somebody they meet while in school. These relationships sometimes evolve into marriages. Fortunately, and in the vast majority of cases, US Immigration law allows the foreign student to adjust status and become a US Legal Permanent Resident and stay in the United States. The complicity of the process depends on whether the married student’s visa is an F1 or J1 with a 2 year foreign residency restriction.
For the married students here on an F1 visa, the process is fairly straight forward. After getting married, the couple first need to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Spouse and an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The same process is used for married students on a J1 visa without the two year foreign residency restriction. In some cases, a J1 visa will be issued, but with a two residency restriction. This means that at the expiration of the students class work and possible subsequent occupational training, unless a waiver is granted, the student has to return home to their country of origin for two years before they can apply for an adjustment of status and become a US legal permanent resident as the spouse of a US citizen. In those cases where the married student is here on a J1 with a two year foreign residency restriction, the process of obtaining a waiver to avoid having to return home for two years can be difficult.

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