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nsull527

Planning to marry my boyfriend who is here on a j1 visa

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I'm hoping to get some advice from anyone who has been in this situation or is familiar with it.

 

My boyfriend is here on a j1 visa (Irish graduate visa). We do not believe he has the two year requirement.

 

What steps do we need to take to get married and have his status adjusted? What forms will we need to fill out? We're hoping to go to the courthouse next week to get everything sorted. His visa will no longer be valid on April 3 so we have about a month. We live together and have been together (with proof of our relationship, timestamped photos, boarding passes to visit each other, etc) for almost two years.

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You can get started here: 

 

https://www.visajourney.com/content/i130guide2

 

It lists all the forms you need to fill out. Get married, get the marriage certificate, apply for adjustment of status to permanent resident (AOS). Because I assume you want him to stay in the country while his green card is processed? Also, I would apply for AOS before April 3rd if I were you, but if for some reason you can't it's not the end of the world, overstay will be forgiven in his case because he married you.


Swedish/American couple, met at university, eventually filed the I-129F petition in 2017.

K1 NOA1: 9/12/2017. NOA2: 3/10/2018. Case # Assigned: 3/28/2018. Embassy Received: 3/29/2018. Medical: 4/18/2018. Interview: 5/3/2018. VOH: 5/8/2018. US Entry (POE JFK): 5/24/2018.

 

AOS Package Sent: 6/4/2018. NOA1/Received Date: 6/5/2018. e-Notified: 6/11/2018. NOA1 Hardcopy: 6/14/2018. Biometrics Appt: 6/28/2018. I-485 Ready to be Scheduled for Interview: 7/25/2018. I-765 Card in Production: 9/19/2018. I-765 Card Mailed: 9/21/2018. I-765/I-131 Combo Card Received: 9/25/2018. I-765/I-131 Renewal Sent: 4/2/2019. NOA1/Received Date: 4/3/2019.

GC Interview Scheduled: X/XX/2019. GC Interview: X/XX/2019.

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Oh and, you said you don't think he has a two year requirement - from what I understand J1 visa holders almost always do so double check this, because if he does you're going to need a waiver.


Swedish/American couple, met at university, eventually filed the I-129F petition in 2017.

K1 NOA1: 9/12/2017. NOA2: 3/10/2018. Case # Assigned: 3/28/2018. Embassy Received: 3/29/2018. Medical: 4/18/2018. Interview: 5/3/2018. VOH: 5/8/2018. US Entry (POE JFK): 5/24/2018.

 

AOS Package Sent: 6/4/2018. NOA1/Received Date: 6/5/2018. e-Notified: 6/11/2018. NOA1 Hardcopy: 6/14/2018. Biometrics Appt: 6/28/2018. I-485 Ready to be Scheduled for Interview: 7/25/2018. I-765 Card in Production: 9/19/2018. I-765 Card Mailed: 9/21/2018. I-765/I-131 Combo Card Received: 9/25/2018. I-765/I-131 Renewal Sent: 4/2/2019. NOA1/Received Date: 4/3/2019.

GC Interview Scheduled: X/XX/2019. GC Interview: X/XX/2019.

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@LizM Thank you so much for your response, that link is incredibly helpful. We double checked on his visa, and he is definitely not subject to the two year return requirement. For all that paperwork -- Do we do that after we're actually married already? do we take this packet to the courthouse with us? So basically if I'm reading that correctly, he'll get the right to work in 60-90 days, but will probably not get the greencard paperwork for months or years? We don't mind waiting -- but what would his citizenship status be while we wait for that to come through? Do you think it's worth it to consult a lawyer or can we just move ahead? I'm fine with consulting a lawyer, but if I can save a couple hundred dollars that would be great. Thank you SO much for your response, I really appreciate it.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, nsull527 said:

@LizM Thank you so much for your response, that link is incredibly helpful. We double checked on his visa, and he is definitely not subject to the two year return requirement. For all that paperwork -- Do we do that after we're actually married already? do we take this packet to the courthouse with us? So basically if I'm reading that correctly, he'll get the right to work in 60-90 days, but will probably not get the greencard paperwork for months or years? We don't mind waiting -- but what would his citizenship status be while we wait for that to come through? Do you think it's worth it to consult a lawyer or can we just move ahead? I'm fine with consulting a lawyer, but if I can save a couple hundred dollars that would be great. Thank you SO much for your response, I really appreciate it.

None of that paperwork goes to the courthouse. They don't deal with immigration. You will need to ask them about the process for marriage there.

 

No, not 60-90 days. It's more like 4-7 months for the EAD (work authorization) and AP (travel document).

He cannot leave the US (and re-enter) until he has AP or a green card. Otherwise he needs to complete processing abroad as his green card application will be deemed abandoned.

 

Filing for AOS does not change one's legal status. He remains on J-1 until that status no longer applies (Using an EAD or AP benefit would abandon that status as well). Then he has no legal status, but the pending the AOS application grants an authorized stay. tldr: He can remain in the US awaiting a decision.

Citizenship does not change via marriage or via AOS. It'll be a few years before any talk of adding/changing citizenship applies.

 

Generally a lawyer is not needed unless there are complexities involved (certain criminal offenses and such). The guide linked above covers the forms needed. Then it's just lots of waiting for an interview. Some USCIS field offices take a few months for an interview, but most are taking around a year or so. Some are taking over 18 months.

Edited by geowrian

Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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@geowrian Thank you for clearing that up.. So you're saying there's a chance he won't be able to work for 4-7 months?

 

He cannot leave the US (and re-enter) until he has AP or a green card. Otherwise he needs to complete processing abroad as his green card application will be deemed abandoned.

 

So until he gets a green card, possibly a year to 18 months from now, he will be unable to leave the country?

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If you filed for an EAD, your spouse will get their Employment Authorization Document approved in 30 to 90 days and will be scheduled to have their picture taken and to have their EAD card issued.

 

This is also listed in the step by step guide.. will the EAD not authorize him to work? Or does this article just underestimate how long the waiting time is for these papers?

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5 minutes ago, nsull527 said:

@geowrian Thank you for clearing that up.. So you're saying there's a chance he won't be able to work for 4-7 months?

Very high chance. The 4-7 months is the norm right now.

 

5 minutes ago, nsull527 said:

So until he gets a green card, possibly a year to 18 months from now, he will be unable to leave the country?

Green card OR AP. AP takes around 4-7 months as well (if filed alongside the EAD, you get a combo card that acts as both the EAD and AP).

 

1 minute ago, nsull527 said:

If you filed for an EAD, your spouse will get their Employment Authorization Document approved in 30 to 90 days and will be scheduled to have their picture taken and to have their EAD card issued.

 

This is also listed in the step by step guide.. will the EAD not authorize him to work? Or does this article just underestimate how long the waiting time is for these papers?

That comment is outdated. It used to take ~30-60 days even just a couple years ago, but that's not the case anymore.

 

https://www.visajourney.com/timeline/eadstats.php?cfl=


Timelines:

Spoiler

AOS (I-485 + I-131 + I-765):

9/25/17: sent forms to Chicago

9/27/17: received by USCIS

10/4/17: NOA1 electronic notification received

10/10/17: NOA1 hard copy received. Social Security card being issued in married name (3rd attempt!)

10/14/17: Biometrics appointment notice received

10/25/17: Biometrics

1/2/18: EAD + AP approved (no website update)

1/5/18: EAD + AP mailed

1/8/18: EAD + AP approval notice hardcopies received

1/10/18: EAD + AP received

9/5/18: Interview scheduled notice

10/17/18: Interview

10/24/18: Green card produced notice

10/25/18: Formal approval

10/31/18: Green card received

 

K-1:

Spoiler

I-129F

12/1/17: sent

12/14/17: NOA1 hard copy received

3/10/17: RFE (IMB verification)

3/22/17: RFE response received

3/24/17: Approved!

3/30/17: NOA2 hard copy received

 

NVC

4/6/2017: Received

4/12/2017: Sent to Riyadh embassy

4/16/2017: Case received at Riyadh embassy

4/21/2017: Request case transfer to Manila, approved 4/24/2017

 

K-1

5/1/2017: Case received by Manila (1 week embassy transfer??? Lucky~)

7/13/2017: Interview: APPROVED!!!

7/19/2017: Visa in hand

8/15/2017: POE

 

 

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26 minutes ago, nsull527 said:

@geowrian Thank you for clearing that up.. So you're saying there's a chance he won't be able to work for 4-7 months?

 

He cannot leave the US (and re-enter) until he has AP or a green card. Otherwise he needs to complete processing abroad as his green card application will be deemed abandoned.

 

 

Some people find that the economic burden of only one partner working is too high and it may make sense for the other to return home and await consular processing while working and saving up. Unfortunately this is the trade off for an AOS - $$$ vs being together.

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Yea so basically, choose for him to stay while green card is processed means he won't be able to work or travel out of the country for about 4-7 months after you have applied. After 4-7 months he will get EAD/AP combo card, which he can use to work+travel until he gets his green card.

 

If on the other hand you marry now, he returns to his country and you apply for a green card for him then, process will take 12-15 months but he can work in his country during that time and he will have his green card within weeks of arriving. So basically, being together is more expensive, staying apart is more cheap, it's a matter of your preference. Although being out of a job can be quite tough for other reasons than financial, of course.


Swedish/American couple, met at university, eventually filed the I-129F petition in 2017.

K1 NOA1: 9/12/2017. NOA2: 3/10/2018. Case # Assigned: 3/28/2018. Embassy Received: 3/29/2018. Medical: 4/18/2018. Interview: 5/3/2018. VOH: 5/8/2018. US Entry (POE JFK): 5/24/2018.

 

AOS Package Sent: 6/4/2018. NOA1/Received Date: 6/5/2018. e-Notified: 6/11/2018. NOA1 Hardcopy: 6/14/2018. Biometrics Appt: 6/28/2018. I-485 Ready to be Scheduled for Interview: 7/25/2018. I-765 Card in Production: 9/19/2018. I-765 Card Mailed: 9/21/2018. I-765/I-131 Combo Card Received: 9/25/2018. I-765/I-131 Renewal Sent: 4/2/2019. NOA1/Received Date: 4/3/2019.

GC Interview Scheduled: X/XX/2019. GC Interview: X/XX/2019.

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, LizM said:

 

If on the other hand you marry now, he returns to his country and you apply for a green card for him then, process will take 12-15 months but he can work in his country during that time and he will have his green card within weeks of arriving. So basically, being together is more expensive, staying apart is more cheap, it's a matter of your preference. Although being out of a job can be quite tough for other reasons than financial, of course.

Note that in the above scenario he will be a LPR with a temporary green card from the moment his immigrant visa is stamped on arrival. He can literally walk out the airport and legally get a job. He doesn’t have to wait for his plastic green card to do anything a green card holder can do.

 

the last sentence in the quote above is important too - VJ is littered with threads of people complaining about being stuck at home for months unable to do anything while they wait for their EADs to come through.

Edited by SusieQQQ

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@SusieQQQ @LizM @geowrian Thank you all so much for the input. I feel like I have a good amount of resources to use now going forward, so I really appreciate it. I'm sure I'll have lots more questions down the line, but this is super helpful for getting started. 

 

We'll probably end up going the AOS route for now, knowing that the wait times are significantly longer than previous years, as it seems we are in a position to do so. Seems like the whole process will be faster, albeit more expensive, but at least we'll be together.

 

Thanks again!

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Most J1's do not have the 2 year HRR 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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~~Moved to AOS from Work, Student &Tourist Visas, from Student and Exchange visas - The OP is looking at this process~~


Spoiler

Met Playing Everquest in 2005
Engaged 9-15-2006
K-1 & 4 K-2'S
Filed 05-09-07
Interview 03-12-08
Visa received 04-21-08
Entry 05-06-08
Married 06-21-08
AOS X5
Filed 07-08-08
Cards Received01-22-09
Roc X5
Filed 10-17-10
Cards Received02-22-11
Citizenship
Filed 10-17-11
Interview 01-12-12
Oath 06-29-12

Citizenship for older 2 boys

Filed 03/08/2014

NOA/fee waiver 03/19/2014

Biometrics 04/15/14

Interview 05/29/14

In line for Oath 06/20/14

Oath 09/19/2014 We are all done! All USC no more USCIS

 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, LizM said:

Yea so basically, choose for him to stay while green card is processed means he won't be able to work or travel out of the country for about 4-7 months after you have applied. After 4-7 months he will get EAD/AP combo card, which he can use to work+travel until he gets his green card.

 

If on the other hand you marry now, he returns to his country and you apply for a green card for him then, process will take 12-15 months but he can work in his country during that time and he will have his green card within weeks of arriving. So basically, being together is more expensive, staying apart is more cheap, it's a matter of your preference. Although being out of a job can be quite tough for other reasons than financial, of course.

With the CR-1 the beneficiary has a green card upon entry into the US. The stamped visa in the passport serves as the green card until the physical green card arrives in the mail.

Edited by Cathi


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