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Which would be better for us: a K-1 visa or getting married on my F-1 visa?

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Hi,

Here is our somewhat complicated situation: I am a Canadian citizen, and my fiance is an American citizen. We have been engaged for a long time (about 5-6 years now), and at first had planned for me to come to the US on a K-1 visa. This did not happen, however, because I could not afford to lose my healthcare (I have a condition with costly prescriptions) and at the time, I could not obtain healthcare in America due to the preexisting conditions clauses. We reformulated our plan at that time and decided that we would set our goals on him immigrating to Canada. We did not want to be apart while we waited for the paperwork, so I came to the US on an F-1 student visa, which has allowed me to work on my education in the meantime. We fully intended on my returning to Canada at the end of my studies at that time.

On working with a lawyer however, we discovered that bringing him to Canada would be much more difficult than initially thought due to legal reasons, he had two DUI charges ten years ago which makes him "criminally inadmissable" even though he successfully completed everything required of him at the time it all happened and has since changed his lifestyle dramatically. The paperwork and fees required for this--not to mention the additional time--required to obtain clearance of his record in Canada's eyes, coupled with the healthcare reform in the US, has made us think that we would do better if we returned to our first idea way back when, of me coming to the US.

As mentioned before, I am currently on a F-1 student visa which I have immaculately maintained since 2011. I have limited myself to campus employment with all proper paperwork on file, filed taxes every year as required by the school for this employment, maintained an excellent GPA (doing two degrees and pre-medicine pq's- I have won three scholarships and been selected for very competitive on campus employment positions). I have kept up to date with the international department of my school at all times. I have a year of this visa left; it expires end of August 2016. I should be able to complete both degrees by then, and if the classes I need are not available, might be able to get a couple months of extension (to finish degrees).

Since we have now made up our minds as to what we want to do, my question is: would it be better for us to:
a) Get married on my F-1 visa, then file for AOS; I would maintain the F-1 status of course until the AOS is fully approved;
or
b) I finish my two degrees on my F-1 visa, and we apply for a K-1 visa while I am doing that. If all would be approved and within a reasonable time period of each other, when I graduate, I leave the US for like a day or two and then re-enter on the K-1 visa?

Thank you, input appreciated! We do plan to speak to our immigration lawyer about our questions, but are saving up for the fees--and in the meantime it would be great to hear some thoughts :) I am very concerned doing everything properly, especially as I am hoping for a career in medicine, and need to keep a spotless record if that is going to happen.

Sincerely,

Kate

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Marry and adjust.


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Hi,

Here is our somewhat complicated situation: I am a Canadian citizen, and my fiance is an American citizen. We have been engaged for a long time (about 5-6 years now), and at first had planned for me to come to the US on a K-1 visa. This did not happen, however, because I could not afford to lose my healthcare (I have a condition with costly prescriptions) and at the time, I could not obtain healthcare in America due to the preexisting conditions clauses. We reformulated our plan at that time and decided that we would set our goals on him immigrating to Canada. We did not want to be apart while we waited for the paperwork, so I came to the US on an F-1 student visa, which has allowed me to work on my education in the meantime. We fully intended on my returning to Canada at the end of my studies at that time.

On working with a lawyer however, we discovered that bringing him to Canada would be much more difficult than initially thought due to legal reasons, he had two DUI charges ten years ago which makes him "criminally inadmissable" even though he successfully completed everything required of him at the time it all happened and has since changed his lifestyle dramatically. The paperwork and fees required for this--not to mention the additional time--required to obtain clearance of his record in Canada's eyes, coupled with the healthcare reform in the US, has made us think that we would do better if we returned to our first idea way back when, of me coming to the US.

As mentioned before, I am currently on a F-1 student visa which I have immaculately maintained since 2011. I have limited myself to campus employment with all proper paperwork on file, filed taxes every year as required by the school for this employment, maintained an excellent GPA (doing two degrees and pre-medicine pq's- I have won three scholarships and been selected for very competitive on campus employment positions). I have kept up to date with the international department of my school at all times. I have a year of this visa left; it expires end of August 2016. I should be able to complete both degrees by then, and if the classes I need are not available, might be able to get a couple months of extension (to finish degrees).

Since we have now made up our minds as to what we want to do, my question is: would it be better for us to:

a) Get married on my F-1 visa, then file for AOS; I would maintain the F-1 status of course until the AOS is fully approved;

or

b) I finish my two degrees on my F-1 visa, and we apply for a K-1 visa while I am doing that. If all would be approved and within a reasonable time period of each other, when I graduate, I leave the US for like a day or two and then re-enter on the K-1 visa?

Thank you, input appreciated! We do plan to speak to our immigration lawyer about our questions, but are saving up for the fees--and in the meantime it would be great to hear some thoughts :) I am very concerned doing everything properly, especially as I am hoping for a career in medicine, and need to keep a spotless record if that is going to happen.

Sincerely,

Kate

Hi Kate,

You do not need a K-1 visa to enter the US because you are already here. a) is the correct choice. Get marry, file for AOS, and maintain your F-1 status until you get your green card. You do not need a lawyer if you are good at reading and following instructions. Most people here file on their own without an attorney for simple cases like yours. Read and follow the Guides on this website.

Best of luck.

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Moved from What Visa Do I Need - Family Based Immigration forum to Adjustment of Status from Work, Student, & Tourist Visas forum.


Our journey:

Spoiler

September 2007: Met online via social networking site (MySpace); began exchanging messages.
March 26, 2009: We become a couple!
September 10, 2009: Arrived for first meeting in-person!
June 17, 2010: Arrived for second in-person meeting and start of travel together to other areas of China!
June 21, 2010: Engaged!!!
September 1, 2010: Switched course from K1 to CR-1
December 8, 2010: Wedding date set; it will be on February 18, 2011!
February 9, 2011: Depart for China
February 11, 2011: Registered for marriage in Wuhan, officially married!!!
February 18, 2011: Wedding ceremony in Shiyan!!!
April 22, 2011: Mailed I-130 to Chicago
April 28, 2011: Received NOA1 via text/email, file routed to CSC (priority date April 25th)
April 29, 2011: Updated
May 3, 2011: Received NOA1 hardcopy in mail
July 26, 2011: Received NOA2 via text/email!!!
July 30, 2011: Received NOA2 hardcopy in mail
August 8, 2011: NVC received file
September 1, 2011: NVC case number assigned
September 2, 2011: AOS invoice received, OPTIN email for EP sent
September 7, 2011: Paid AOS bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 9, 2011)
September 8, 2011: OPTIN email accepted, GZO number assigned
September 10, 2011: Emailed AOS package
September 12, 2011: IV bill invoiced
September 13, 2011: Paid IV bill (payment portal showed PAID on September 14, 2011)
September 14, 2011: Emailed IV package
October 3, 2011: Emailed checklist response (checklist generated due to typo on Form DS-230)
October 6, 2011: Case complete at NVC
November 10, 2011: Interview - APPROVED!!!
December 7, 2011: POE - Sea-Tac Airport

September 17, 2013: Mailed I-751 to CSC

September 23, 2013: Received NOA1 in mail (receipt date September 19th)

October 16, 2013: Biometrics Appointment

January 28, 2014: Production of new Green Card ordered

February 3, 2014: New Green Card received; done with USCIS until fall of 2023*

 

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