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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Marrying a U.S. Citizen - Stay on H1b Visa or Switch to F1 Visa

    Hello,
    I am currently on a H1B visa which expires in August 2014. I have recently been accepted into a PhD program to begin in September and my company (who are my visa sponsors currently) are willing to switch me to a F1 visa so that they can pay for my tuition. I also have the option of staying on my H1B visa during my studies. I am getting married to a US citizen in November of this year and am unsure if it would be more beneficial in terms of getting full citizenship in the future to stay on the H1B or move to the F1. I am also unclear as to what to do after we get married, should I apply for citizenship right away, or wait until my visa expires and then apply?

    Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,281

    Default Re: Marrying a U.S. Citizen - Stay on H1b Visa or Switch to F1 Visa

    Marriage to a US citizen leads to Legal Permanent Residency. Only after you have been a LPR for 5 years (3 if basis is marriage to a US citizen) and the fulfilment of other requirements can one become a naturalized citizen. You need to read the USCIS website. For someone on H1B, you are very uninformed. If you have additional questions, I suggest that you consult a US immigration attorney. Studying full time on an H-1B visa is not generally possible. Many HR personnel are misinformed about US immigration laws.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Marrying a U.S. Citizen - Stay on H1b Visa or Switch to F1 Visa

    Thank you for your feedback. That answers my question as to whcih visa I should be on when I start my PhD. When I am on a student visa when I get married, should I stay on the F1 until it expires or change my status to a LPR?

    Thanks again for your feedback

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,281

    Default Re: Marrying a U.S. Citizen - Stay on H1b Visa or Switch to F1 Visa

    You realize that if you exit the US while on F-1 status and need stamping for reentry, you will not qualify since you would be married to a US citizen and would be assumed to have immigrant intent. You could also be denied entry with a valid F-1 visa due to your marriage. You would not be able to reenter until you receive a green card through consular processing. I do not understand what you believe to be the advantage of not pursuing a green card at the earliest opportunity if you plan to live in the US. I expect you are looking at not paying FICA taxes on OPT as a financial benefit; this is a short term view since Social Security benefits have and age and work length relationship for some benefits.

    You really need to read the family based immigration information on the USCIS website.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Marrying a U.S. Citizen - Stay on H1b Visa or Switch to F1 Visa

    Quote Quoting TheMac4
    View Post
    Thank you for your feedback. That answers my question as to whcih visa I should be on when I start my PhD. When I am on a student visa when I get married, should I stay on the F1 until it expires or change my status to a LPR?

    Thanks again for your feedback
    If your goal is to become a US citizen, then you should apply to adjust your status to LPR after you are married. LPR will also allow you to work, study, and live in the US indefinitely. After three years of being married to a US citizen and in LPR status, you can apply for naturalization.

    Unless there's some particular reason you need to stay on the F1 visa, you can start the adjustment of status process as soon as you are married and do not need to wait for it to expire. People with F1 status have more restrictions than LPRs, so adjusting status when you can may be useful for you.

    Also, you can apply for advance parole and an employment authorization document with your adjustment of status application, which would allow you to work and to re-enter the U.S. after leaving. In fact, you'll need advance parole before you leave the country or your adjustment application may be cancelled.

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