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F1 under OPT - Grad School Plans & CR1

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Hi everybody,

I've been reading the forum topics a lot and it has certainly helped to clear up so many confusion regarding my situation. However, my US-citizen boyfriend and I (F-1 holder) are still looking at our options and we do not know what the best option would be for our situation and what we want to do. I hope you all can help us with our journey.

I'll start with our situation. I am currently under OPT and in the process of extending this since I hold a STEM degree. This means that, assuming my STEM extension is approved and I hold my employment, I have until December 2016 to stay in the US. It seems very unlikely that I will receive sponsorship any time in the future so we are looking into getting married sometime before this date.

However, I would like to apply to a Graduate School and hopefully start in Fall 2016. Although I am looking a lot at Graduate Schools in the US, I am leaning more towards a Graduate School in the Netherlands as the program fits perfectly with my desired field of study and my career goals. My boyfriend and I are willing to marry any time soon, but we don't know what our timeline should be if we want to make sure I can still start my Master's Degree in Fall 2016 and still able to start the process of getting my Green Card through CR1. Can I leave for the Netherlands after I file AoS and do my biometrics and interview at a consulate abroad?

Please advise. All comments are highly appreciated. Thanks!

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mimolicious is right. You need to reside in the US. I am just now applying for my AoS after being here on a F1 visa. I am on the final stages of my PhD though. You can apply for the AP document which allows you to travel abroad (more like in case of emergency) but you cannot LIVE anywhere outside the US. I'd find a program here but most importantly, I'd only marry for the right reasons.

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Thanks mimolicious and marynemoga. We are happily together and we are not just planning our future just because of my immigration status.

If I am offered a position at a Graduate School in the US, which should I apply for first - F1 or CR1? I understand that filing for both at the same time would result in rejection of either or both visas because of contradicting intent. Is this correct?

Please advise.

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I would personally go for the CR1 because you guys have already been talking about getting married. If you apply for an F1, get married and then apply for CR1, you might be denied because you applied for an F1 when you already had plans to get married. This is what they call 'intent'. Now, remember that you need to have this figured out before you apply to grad school. They need to know what your legal status is in order to issue your I-20.

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This is a bit out of my immigration knowledge but I guess you'd have to apply for a K1 visa. Another scenario is if you guys get married abroad, then you'd have to apply for IR1 or CR1 if you decide to apply after being married for less than 2 years.

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So... if we do get married before I move to the Netherlands and my boyfriend files for I-130 while I am abroad, would that work?

I am assuming that it takes around 14 months for the CR-1 process and my Master's degree would be done in 24 months.

I read that after I am approved for CR-1, I have 6 months to travel to the US and receive my actual Green Card. Can I extend the 6 month time limit if my reasoning is to complete my Master's Degree?

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Get Married if you both are ready and happy before you leave for graduate study in fall 16. Maintain your Opt status until you leave for Netherland. File for CR-1 in Dec 16 or Jan 17, process will take roughly 12-14 months and after visa approval you will have 6 months to arrive in US. (actually 6 months from the date of your medical). You will be able to finish your study by then. Good Luck.

Edited by Super King

February 28- AOS package sent. ( I-130, I-485, I-765)
March 5- Package delivered to USCIS Chicago.
March 11- Email and text notification with Receipt Numbers.
March 14- Hardcopy of NOA1 for all three applications.
March 21- Received biometrics appointment letter for 04/04/2014
April 2 - Completed Walk in Biometrics appointment successfully. (Original Appointment was for 4th April)
April 9- I-485 Case status has been updated to " Testing & Interview "
April 16- Text and email alert for case update for AOS interview on 22nd May 2014.
April 18- Hardcopy of Interview notice received in mail.
May 22- AOS interview, approved on the spot and got stamp in my passport.
May 27 - Approval notice of I-130 and I-485 in mail.
May 29- Received GC in mail.

ROC Timeline:

03/28/2016: I-751 package sent to CSC

03/29/2016: Package delivered.

03/31/2016: cheque cached.

04/02/2016: Received NOA1 in mail, dated 03/29/2016.

04/13/2016: Received Biometrics notice for the date of 04/25/2016.

04/21/2016: Early walk in Biometrics

09/28/2016: Text and email alert about approval of ROC

10/06/2016: Received 10-years green card in mail

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If we do not get married before I leave for the Netherlands, what are the options for me to get back into the US and obtain Permanent Residency?

You can get married in the US and then go to grad school in the Netherlands. When you're about 1 year away from graduating, file for IR/CR-1 and you will then move back to the US to be with your husband.

Conversely, if you decide to stay in the US, you can get married and AOS immediately (no need to go the CR-1 route since you already IN the US). In both cases, you get a green card, so you'll pretty much have to live in the US. The difference is in the timing and where you are located at the time of application.

Good luck!

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