F1 Students Becoming A Legal Permanent Resident After Getting Married To US Citizen

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.

Once married, the F1 Student must apply for an Adjustment of Status (AOS). The Adjustment of Status application requires the filing of several forms. These forms include:
  • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
  • I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • G-325A Biographic Information
  • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization
  • I-864 Affidavit of Support
As you can imagine, there are several required items that must be submitted along with the forms as well as certain procedures that must be followed during the application process. Given the importance of the matter, I recommend getting help from an experienced attorney to assist you in the process. If you are an F1 student and wish to discuss your marriage and immigration plans or have questions about the AOS process, you are welcome to call me anytime. I can be reached at my office at 1-888-515-3529.
Attorney Jeff Pettys
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