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Getting married with an F-1

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Filed: Timeline

Hi everybody. I currently am in possession of a F-1 visa that expires on 2013, and I just finished my first year of school in the US. My fiancee is an American citizen who was born in the US. We have been planning our wedding for over a year, and we are getting married next month. We plan on staying in America after we get married, so I'd need work authorization and permanent residence permit. Now, there are some things that are worrying me:

-First, what's exactly all the paperwork that we need to fill after the wedding? From what I'm reading, it should be this one, but I really am not sure at all so if somebody could tell me 'yes' or 'no' I'd appreciate it.

-Can I keep studying at college while my adjustment of status is being processed? Because, and correct me if I'm wrong, while the AOS is processed I have no status, so my student visa wouldn't be valid anymore. So either I couldn't register in classes at all, or I would have to register not as a international student. Anybody has heard of a case like that?

-I am getting worried at the approval rates for I-130 and I-485, as seen here. I don't know how trustworthy that website is, but the change in the statistics is brutal in the past couple of years. In 2009 68% of people had their I-485 approve, but only 10% in 2011?! How can that be? Should I be really worried?

I would highly appreciate any guidance about these areas.

Thank you for your time.

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I entered the US in 2009 with an F-1 visa, and submitted my AOS package in March this year. AOS from F-1 is a fairly straight forward process in my opinion, it just requires attention to detail and patience with the forms and paperwork. Your F-1 is valid for another few years so you are in no rush to submit the paperwork, but at the same time it is probably a good idea to get it out of the way as soon as possible, especially since re-entering the US with an F-1 visa might become a bit more challenging after you are married to a US citizen.

You are right, technically you are in a way in "status limbo" once you have submitted the AOS paperwork. You are no longer an F1 student, but you are not really anything else either until you have a decision on your GC application. However, this doesn't really matter - the period while your AOS is pending is a period of authorized stay in the US, and you are free to continue your studies while the application is pending. It shouldn't affect your ability to register for classes etc. in any way for all I know, but it's always good to check about that with your school's international student advisers as well. The only difference will be that you cannot travel out of the country and re-enter with your F-1 visa anymore once you have submitted your AOS papers, you will have to wait to receive your advance parole document which takes usually between 70 and 90 days from submitting the papers. With that you can then travel abroad and re-enter while your AOS is pending.

The link you posted for the AOS guide is the correct one. You'll be submitting the I-130 and I-485 concurrently, whith all the additional required paperwork like the affidavit of support and medical paperwork. You should also file the I-131 for the advance parole and I-765 for employment authorization. Follow the guide here, and make sure you download and use the most recent versions of all the forms, which you can find on the USCIS website.

I don't know what that website is that has those statistics, but I would not worry about that at all. That drop in the Texas service center approval rates seems very odd to me and I don't think it can be accurate.. if you guys don't have any red flags (very short courtship, very big age difference etc.) you should have nothing to worry about - if you have a legitimate marriage and proof of that legitimacy, it should be a pretty painless process. It is of course always good to prepare for challenges, but AOS from F1 with no overstay and nothing fishy in your past is pretty safe and my understanding is that most people get approved without any problems. Good luck for your journey - and also, in the future post on the AOS from work, tourist and student visa forum since that is the process you will be embarking on - you will get more replies there!


Adjustment of Status from F-1 to Legal Permanent Resident

02/11/2011 Married at Manhattan City Hall

03/03/2011 - Day 0 - AOS -package mailed to Chicago Lockbox

03/04/2011 - Day 1 - AOS -package signed for at USCIS

03/09/2011 - Day 6 - E-mail notification received for all petitions

03/10/2011 - Day 7 - Checks cashed

03/11/2011 - Day 8 - NOA 1 received for all 4 forms

03/21/2011 - Day 18 - Biometrics letter received, biometrics scheduled for 04/14/2011

03/31/2011 - Day 28 - Successful walk-in biometrics done

05/12/2011 - Day 70 - EAD Arrived, issued on 05/02

06/14/2011 - Day 103 - E-mail notice: Interview letter mailed, interview scheduled for July 20th

07/20/2011 - Day 139 - Interview at Federal Plaza USCIS location

07/22/2011 - Day 141 - E-mail approval notice received (Card production)

07/27/2011 - Day 146 - 2nd Card Production Email received

07/28/2011 - Day 147 - Post-Decision Activity Email from USCIS

08/04/2011 - Day 154 - Husband returns home from abroad; Welcome Letter and GC have arrived in the mail

("Resident since" date on the GC is 07/20/2011

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Filed: Timeline

Thank you very much for your reply. First hand experience is exactly what I need! I am glad everything seems to be working out great for you and your husband and I hope we are as blessed.

I didn't know there was a better forum to ask my question, I'll have it in mind for the future but I'll reply you again with a couple of questions, if you don't mind:

I was pretty sure that I couldn't travel outside of the US during the AOS process, so I decided to come back to my country this summer right before the wedding to spend some time with family and friends, because I knew it would be a while until next time. The issue is, I will be coming back to the US only one week before the wedding, and I am a little worried that such thing could bring me trouble, since I will be entering with my F1 visa but getting married just one week after that. My point of view is, we've been engaged for over a year, dated for 3 years, and there's a whole lot of people that could confirm our relationship over the years. Also, even though the main reason for coming to study in the US was of course being closer to my fiance, I have studied and pass all courses I've done, and I would keep studying even after married. But I am afraid that whoever looks at my AOS case realizes that I entered the country on a F1 visa without telling the official I was going to get married (because, from what I've heard, they wouldn't even let me in) and then get married one week after. Do you think this could be a source of trouble, or I shouldn't worry so much?

Also, what type of document did you send as evidence of bonafide marriage? In the step by step guide, it tells you a lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence (we have already rented an apartment, so that would work), affidavits sworn by third parties, and any other relevant documentation. Now my questions: how many affidavits? Because there are hundreds of people who know about this, all of our families and friends and everybody in the church we attend to. I don't want to put very few affidavits in case it's not enough, but I don't know if I should put 50 either or that could be negative too. What about the 'other relevant documentation'? Would postal cards from the past 3 years work? E-mails? I don't really know what that part is talking about. If you told me what you sent that could give me a better guideline.

Thank you very much, again.

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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Canada
Timeline

Topic has been moved from Student & Visitor Exchange Visa Forum to AOS from Work, Student & Tourist Visa as OP is asking about changing status from a student visa to permanent resident rather than about a student visa.


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Filed: Citizen (apr) Country: Turkey
Timeline

Another loooong time F1 here (around 9 years lol)

You have the right link just follow the guidelines there and you will be fine. We did it everything ourselves, all those filling out forms copying/scanning etc.etc. It is really easy, just follow the instructions on the forms and you will be fine. Don't you think about hiring a lawyer. They do nothing but rob you.

Surely, you can keep on attending school, you will no longer be an F1 after submitting your AOS, and nothing really else too. Your student visa is valid because based on that status your adjusting. But don't over-think these things, it doesn't really matter. You will be able to register just like any other person. without the necessity of that 12 credit bullshit. :) . In my school they even allow for pending I-485 people to pay in-state tuition :) which is great for me. I only have one class to complete my degree, to become a computer scientist.

Those approval rates... bla bla forget about those, unless you are paying for your engagement there's literally NOTHING you need to worry about.


09/01/2002 - Came to USA on an F-1

-
03/11/2011 - (Day 01) - AOs Package Delivered

08/08/2011 - (Day 150) - Green Card arrived

-

04/30/2013 - (Day 00) - I-751 Package Sent

05/01/2013 - (Day 01) - I-751 Package Delivered

01/16/2014 - (Day 261) - I-751 Interview, verbal approval on the spot

04/08/2014 - (Day 343) - I-751 Approved

-

04/28/2014 - (Day 00) - N-400 Package Sent

04/30/2014 - (Day 01) - N-400 Package Delivered

05/03/2014 - (Day 04) - NOA Receipt Date

05/27/2014 - (Day 29) - Walk-In Biometrics (original date was 06/04/2014)

06/27/2014 - (Day 60) - In Line for Interviewing

10/06/2014 - (Day 102) - Interview in Long Island City Field Office, Result: RFE given

10/06/2014 - (Day 102) - Responded RFE

01/23/2015 - (Day 211) - Naturalization Oath Ceremony

01/23/2015 - (Day 211) - US Citizen

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Thank you very much for your reply. First hand experience is exactly what I need! I am glad everything seems to be working out great for you and your husband and I hope we are as blessed.

I didn't know there was a better forum to ask my question, I'll have it in mind for the future but I'll reply you again with a couple of questions, if you don't mind:

I was pretty sure that I couldn't travel outside of the US during the AOS process, so I decided to come back to my country this summer right before the wedding to spend some time with family and friends, because I knew it would be a while until next time. The issue is, I will be coming back to the US only one week before the wedding, and I am a little worried that such thing could bring me trouble, since I will be entering with my F1 visa but getting married just one week after that. My point of view is, we've been engaged for over a year, dated for 3 years, and there's a whole lot of people that could confirm our relationship over the years. Also, even though the main reason for coming to study in the US was of course being closer to my fiance, I have studied and pass all courses I've done, and I would keep studying even after married. But I am afraid that whoever looks at my AOS case realizes that I entered the country on a F1 visa without telling the official I was going to get married (because, from what I've heard, they wouldn't even let me in) and then get married one week after. Do you think this could be a source of trouble, or I shouldn't worry so much?

Also, what type of document did you send as evidence of bonafide marriage? In the step by step guide, it tells you a lease showing joint tenancy of a common residence (we have already rented an apartment, so that would work), affidavits sworn by third parties, and any other relevant documentation. Now my questions: how many affidavits? Because there are hundreds of people who know about this, all of our families and friends and everybody in the church we attend to. I don't want to put very few affidavits in case it's not enough, but I don't know if I should put 50 either or that could be negative too. What about the 'other relevant documentation'? Would postal cards from the past 3 years work? E-mails? I don't really know what that part is talking about. If you told me what you sent that could give me a better guideline.

Thank you very much, again.

...and some more thoughts from another former F-1 student....

Seems to be clear to you now which forms to fill out but you still asked about what evidence to sent. The most important one is the marriage certificate. Get a copy from your recorder's office, city hall where you will get the first one to have your marriage to be official and in the books. This crucial as its the only evidence for the petition of your spouse for you as well as for you to show the eligibility group for your adjustment. When we mailed my AOS package last October we also included a copy of our lease and a group wedding photo of us with parents and siblings, nothing further. We obtained written affidavits from 2 close friends known to us for literally years as well as from my best man who is also my sister in law's husband - aka family. Red somewhere its enough to have 2 - 3 of those, in case they are needed. You mainly will have to proof the marriage ties at the interview, that's where you can show more proof to make your case and bring along additional things like a joint bank account statement, travel/rental car reservations etc. The officer at the interview briefly looked over those at the interview, and kept a copy of a more current joint account statement and updated health insurance benefits added to my case file.

As far as the topic of continuation of your studies goes - well, it all depends on your school, state etc. you will find several topics here on VJ and all come to the conclusion that you can continue your studies, some pay instate, some out of state tuition......

Welcome to Visajourney,

good luck on your path to obtaining the green card and keep us posted, ask any questions and we'd be happy to share our thoughts and experiences

Maxximus


10/13/2010 - Mailed in The Package (AOS, I-765, I-130)

10/17/2010 - USPS confirms delivery to USCIS

10/25/2010 - Check cashed

10/26/2010 - All applications been worked on aka touched

10/28/2010 - NOA1 Receipts for applications received

11/24/2010 - Received appointment for biometrics in the mail for 12/17 *yay*

12/17/2010 - 9.25 a.m. - 9.45 a.m. Biometrics done !!

12/23/2010 - EAD Approved and Card on its way - Email notification received *yay*

01/03/2011 - WOOOHOOO ...EAD Card in Hand!

01/04/2011 - Oh boy....Received Interview Letter today - February 3rd is the day! :)

02/03/2011 - Interview scheduled 12:45 p.m. - out of there before 1:30 p.m. - further review

Coming home, checking for touches at 5:30 p.m. - CARD PRODUCTION ORDERED !!!!

Thank you All on Visajourney for your inputs, experiences and thoughts!!!

02/09/2011 - Yup another e-mail saying that my card production was ordered.

02/10/2011 - E-mail notification "Approval letter was sent today"

02/14/2011 - Welcome Letter / Approval NOA and Card (separate envelope) received!!! :D

Late November 2012 (have to look up my receipts ;) - mailed in ROC I-751

12/12/2012 - NOA 1, status extension received

12/18/2012 - Biometrics appointment letter received

01/08/2013 - Biometrics done

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