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Student status during Adjustment of Status?

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What happens if a PhD student in the country on an F-1 visa applies to adjust status?

My fiance is currently a university-supported PhD student, a few months from finishing, and receives a living stipend and a hefty tuition discount.

We are thinking of getting married and adjusting status over the summer.

Can he stay enrolled as a student while adjusting status? And, is there any way he can continue to receive the stipend/tuition discount while waiting to get his EAD/AP? It seems this would probably count as "work"... Or am I wrong?


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His F1 status will be ended with USCIS but his student status at school isn't changed. He can go on studying as normal.


12/06/2014: Package filed

12/31/2014: Fingerprinted

02/06/2015: In-Line for Interview

04/15/2015: Passed Interview

05/05/2015: Oath letter was sent

05/22/2015: Oath Ceremony

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Most grad schools don't even allow you to start a pHD program w/o permanent resident or citizen status. Count yourself lucky.

AOS TIMELINE (adjusting from F-1)

  • 06/24/2011 Wedding
  • 02/27/2012 Day 01 Filed AOS packet for (I-130, I-485 & I-765)
  • 02/29/2012 Day 03 Packet received @ Chicago lockbox (signed by "D Colonna")
  • 03/01/2012 Day 04 USCIS officially receives I-130 & I-765 paperwork according to their site.
  • 03/05/2012 Day 07 USCIS Acceptance (email) notification "NOA1" routed to NBC for processing.
  • 03/08/2012 Day 10 Checks cashed by USCIS.
  • 03/09/2012 Day 11 Received biometrics appointment letter; (appt. date= 03/27/2012)
  • 03/12/2012 Day 14 Hard copies (NOA1) received.
  • 03/15/2012 Day 17 RFE (requesting initial evidence) for I-485 sent (USCIS site.)
  • 03/20/2012 Day 22 RFE received (I-864 tax supporting evidence required for both petitioner + sole joint sponsor)
  • 03/27/2012 Day 29 Biometrics appointment @ local USCIS office successful. I-485 RFE responded to.
  • 04/03/2012 Day 36 USPS delivers on 3/29; USCIS officially receives RFE response (RFE Response Review)
  • 04/16/2012 Day 49 EAD approved email! Card production ordered.
  • 04/25/2012 Day 58 EAD card in hand; Get my new job on same day! smile.png
  • 04/27/2012 Day 60 USCIS mails notice for AOS interview
  • 06/01/2012 Day 95 AOS Interview (no decision)
  • 06/20/2013 Day 479 Still in limbo...waiting. sad.png (Reapplied for 2nd EAD and was approved tho)
  • 07/17/2014 Day 871 I130/I485 AOS approved.
  • 07/25/2014 Day 889 10 yr GC in hand! :)

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Thanks, Nancy. When you say he can study "as normal" can he still receive his student stipend and tuition discount?

Yup nothing changes. Scholarship/ stipend/ grant is based on his studying standing not his residency. But if the scholarship is just for international students, then he might lose it. He needs to talk to scholarship/ grant dept to find out.


12/06/2014: Package filed

12/31/2014: Fingerprinted

02/06/2015: In-Line for Interview

04/15/2015: Passed Interview

05/05/2015: Oath letter was sent

05/22/2015: Oath Ceremony

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Ducky, on F-1 when one does AOS till the pending of the case his/her status is that of an adjustee. Even if the student receives TA/GA or other scholarship that is independent of the students immigration status, thus the student still is eligible for all the benefits associated. The student wont be considered 'instate' till the adjudication of the AOS. Not that it matters but thats the proceedure. According to USCIS if you apply for EAD based on AOS then for F-1 cases they loose their F-1 status only and become 'adjustees'. Being an adjustee is a valid status and maintains legal presence in the country till the adjudication process. Now if they loose their case for any reasons and AOS is denied, they cannot revert back to being on F-1 status without volunatry departure, in case they have applied for EAD. Taking the best case senario that AOS is approved for your fiancee, after procurement of physical GC, your fiancee will have to go to the visa officer in charge of SEVIS at the school and ask them to terminate the status as your fiancee is now a Permanent Resident. Same has to be done at the graduate school. Next inform the DMV (some states) and SSN office.

All F-1 students can work 20 hours on campus. All TA/GA etc are considered on campus work which wont be affected. You fiancee can also do CPT/OPT post school even as AOS is pending, just have to apply for a seperate EAD in this instance. All graduate students on TA/GA or scholarship the tuttion level falls automatically to 'instate' as long as they have it. Anyways you have to pay the fees which is the same for all students.

Thus you dont have nay problems and get happily married and enjoy.

Edited by ravi_niu

eligibility Criteria: 3 years

10-14-2013: Eligibility Date

11-01-2013: Application Sent

11-04-2013: Application Received

11-04-2013: Priority Date

11-07-2013: Check/Money Order Cashed

11-13-2013: Bio-metric Letter sent Date

11-18-2013: Bio-metric Date (Walk in)

12-12-2013: In-line for Interview

01-02-2014: Interview Date Letter Received

02-05-2014: Interview

02-14-2014: Oath scheduling que

03-25-2014: Oath scheduled

03-28-2014: Oath Date Letter Received

04-24-2014: Oath Ceremony

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Thanks all for the replies.

@MikeX: did not know that grad schools would hesitate to accept international PhD students on a non-immigrant visa. My boyfriend's U has a huge population of international students at the grad level - something like 45% of PhD students, most of whom I know are on F-1 status. Perhaps because it's an isolated engineering school with mid-level academics, that's kind of become their niche. And he had also already done a Master's there.

Anyway thanks again to all for the information!

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I have never heard of universities being hesitant to accept international students for PhD programs. My university - as all the other major universities in NYC - all have very strong international student bodies in both MA and PhD level programs.

Regarding the status issue, I agree with all previous posters. I filed for AOS in March 2011 from F1, and continued to finish my studies from March to May with AOS pending. It was no issue whatsoever. It is a good idea to keep your school's international student service office/IS adviser informed of the change.

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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