Hello, all. I'm looking for some general feedback about my situation.
I'm a Canadian citizen (27 year old woman) who came to the US in 2013 on a F-1 visa to go to grad school in California. I graduated 2015, then changed to OPT.
It was right around graduation that my boyfriend (a US citizen) and I became romantically involved. I had been single for a long time and am actually his first real girlfriend. He is 33 years old. We moved in together December 2015. For most of 2016, I was trying to find work in my field (as stipulated by OPT). However, I was unsuccessful and did not obtain a work visa to which I could adjust my status. As a result, I had to go back to Canada in November 2016.
While I was in Canada, my boyfriend and I continued our relationship. Finally, in March 2017, we decided it was time for me to come back. At the time, he had not yet met my family and we also decided it was time for him to meet them. I met his family when we first started dating.
So I flew back to California and was granted a B2 visa at the airport. I was told to go to the secondary inspection area because obviously, they knew I had previously held F-1 status and I hadn't been out of the US for THAT long. The officer asked me what my intent was for this trip and I stated it was to visit my boyfriend. He stressed that I am NOT allowed to find work (I knew this already), asked how much cash I had on me (I found this weird; I'd never been asked that before), stamped my passport (with a B2 visa expiring September 2017) and sent me on my way.
A couple weeks after I got back, we flew to the East Coast to meet my family. They were able to drive down from Ontario and we had a nice few days together. My boyfriend's parents also came. It was during this time that my parents told me that if/when my boyfriend and I want to get married, they fully support it.
Now up until this point, my boyfriend and I hadn't planned for marriage to happen yet. My friend's getting married back home in October and we thought it'd be better if we just didn't tie the knot so we could travel together back and forth. However, my parents expressing their support (they're traditional Asian parents; my boyfriend's parents are conservative Christians) changed things a little for us. Obviously, HIS parents have wanted us to get married too. So after this little get-together, my boyfriend and I have decided to go through with it.
He officially proposed a week ago (we don't have rings yet) and we've already spoken to a lawyer through a legal service to ask about the green card application process (the lawyer is not OUR lawyer, but it's the best we could do right now). Now, after doing some research, I found out that getting married on a B2 visa and then applying for AOS is frowned upon. But the lawyer said it's not that big of a deal and it'd be better if we got the process started sooner. I'm just wondering if y'all could shed more light on this.
From what I've read online so far, it seems the crux of the issue is intent. As I said, our intent when I came back to the US a month ago was NOT for us to get married. We were both prepared for me to go back to Canada and for him to visit during my friend's wedding, but our family meet-up changed things. We love each other and the long-distance was tough. I was prepared to do it again though because of the legalities.
Anyway, apologies for the wall of text. Just looking at all the paperwork was overwhelming. I can't imagine how it's gonna be when we get called for our interview. Much love!