Colleges and universities in the United States host numerous students from other countries every year. Sometimes, studying in the U.S. also leads to finding love. For those who decide to get married and stay here after their student visa expires, the process of becoming a legal permanent resident is essential – and complicated.
Here are a few things to consider throughout this process:
Accounting for state marriage laws
Marriage laws in Texas are straightforward – there are no residency requirements, blood tests or physicals. But, other states may have these requirements. Be sure to check the regulations of the state where you are getting married.
Adjusting your status
Applying for a green card after being in the U.S. on a student visa is known as an Adjustment of Status (AOS). Students with F-1 and J-1 student visas can take advantage of this process. Under U.S. Customs and Immigration regulations if you are married to a U.S. citizen, you are eligible to apply for a green card.
Tracking down forms
Adjusting your status involves a significant amount of paperwork. USCIS often requires several forms, including:
- I-130 Petition for Alien Relative
- I-485 Application to Register or Adjust Status
- I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
Be sure to gather all evidence and documentation required by these forms. An error or omission can lead to a delay or even denial of your application.
Asking for help
Adjustment of status forms are available for free through the USCIS website. But, it helps to have an experienced immigration attorney go over them with you and your spouse to ensure they are filled out correctly, the first time. As we have previously discussed on this blog, there are many ways a form mistake can derail your green card process.