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F1 student marrying USC wanting to stay on F1

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My fiancee and I have a complicated immigration situation.

I am a US citizen, he is on an F1 visa. He is in medical school (3 years left) which will then require postgraduate training (residency 3-5 years). He has a scholarship from his home country for medical school that requires him to go back to "pay back" the scholarship with service in that country and he is in a special international program in medschool that does not allow him to change his visa status. We are planning a destination wedding in December which is more of a symbolic ceremony and were planning on going to city hall for the legal papers. We do not want to file for a greencard for him, we do not want to file for AOS, he is required by his government to stay on the F1 and therefore he has no true intent to immigrate. As opposed to most people on this forum we truly just want him to be able to stay on his F1 and are planning on leaving the US when he finishes his training. However he still needs to come in and out of the country on his F1 visa for at least the next three years, but most likely 8 years. He also needs to renew his F1 visa as it expires next summer.

Should we just delay the legal marriage to avoid trouble? Should we do it after he renews his F1 so they don't give him trouble for being married? Is it ok to do it now since we don't have plans for filing for AOS or petition for a greencard anytime soon since we are planning on living abroad? Will having a symbolic ceremony abroad mess with any of this?

Thanks for the help!

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To my knowledge, you can't do residency on F-1 visa. He has to get H1b or J-1 visa for residency. Being married to USC won't be hurdle in getting H1b or J-1 visa down the road. Good luck.

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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Plenty of people are married to US Citizens but do not wish to immigrate to the US.

It is not a requirement

“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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Are you sure his visa is F-1 as it sounds more like a J-1 which typically requires a 2-year home residency before one can apply to immigrate to the US. He may have signed a contract with his home country obligating him to do more.

I might have him check with the international student office at his school how marriage might effect his J-1(F-1?) status though I think it won't really effect it. You just can't apply for a green card for him.

Obviously, once you go to City Hall you are legally married. The symbolic ceremony you speak of may or may not be considered a legal marriage depending on the customs/laws of whatever country you plan on doing this in.

If you are OK to committing to spending the required time in his home country, I don't think you will have any issues with your intended plan.

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I don't understand how his government can bar him from changing his visa status to a permanent resident if he is on an F1? Forgive me if it sounds like a naive question, but what's the harm of changing to a green card, and perhaps become a US-Citizen (if you apply for AOS now after marriage, AOS would take 6-8 months to get a green card and 3 more years after that apply for citizenship). He can still go back to his home country to serve his obligations for 3 years afterwards.

When he starts his medical residency, he will most likely be asked to apply for a J1 visa. J1 is a non immigrant visa, and you have to prove non immigrant intent. Most times you won't have a problem proving that because with graduate medical education, your J1 is attached to a 2 year home residency requirement. Sometimes it can get tricky when the applicant declares that he / she is married to a US Citizen. If he is lucky to get his program to sponser an H1B then that would be a better option due to dual intent.

N-400 Naturalization acpplication



9/9/2018: 90 day window early application opened. (3 year rule)

9/9/2018: N-400 Application submitted ONLINE. Estimated case completion: November 2019 (14 months).

9/10/2018: NOA

9/15/2018:Scheduled for Biometrics appointment. Scheduled for 10/1/2018




7/22/2015: Mailed I-130, I-485, I-131, I-765

7/28/2015: Received electronic notification that USCIS has received my case and they are forwarding it to national benefits center.

8/1/2015: Received Hard copy of NOA of all 4 forms by mail.

8/6/2015: Received Biometrics appointment in mail, date 8/20

8/20/2015: Biometrics completed.

8/31/2015: Case updated to Interview scheduled for 10/1/2015

9/1/2015: Received interview letter hardcopy by mail

9/28/2015: EAD / AP Card in production

10/1/2015: Interview completed, unfortunately will need further review...

10/3/2015: Recieved EAD / AP combo card in mail

11/16/2015: Completed first Infopass. J1 file still pending from DOS

12/9/2015: I485 / I130 approved. I-485 updated to "New Card is being produced"!!!

12/14/2015: Received I130/I485 approval / Welcome letter

12/15/2015: Received Green Card in mail!!!!


J1 Exceptional Hardship Waiver Timeline:


12/18/2014: Form DS-3035 was received by the DOS

11/2014-2/2015: We collected letters of support from Family

2/15/2015: Last DS-2019 was received.

2/27/2015: Sent I-612 + Affidavit and supporting documents (This was sent to California Service Center)

3/4/2015: USCIS received I-612 and sent Form I-797C notice of action in mail which I received later on.

4/9/2015: USCIS requested another non-USCIS advisory opinion for Form I-612

4/14/2015: From I-612 and I-613 were received by the DOS

5/6/2015: DOS: Post input: received,

6/27/2015: DOS decision turned to Favorable recommendation, Recommendation sent on 6/26

7/2/2015: USCIS approved I-612 application online

7/9/2015: Received Hard copy approval in mail

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