I am a U.S. citizen (originally from Kansas) currently living in Brazil on a student visa. I am looking to marry my Brazilian boyfriend of 2 years, and we are trying to figure out the best option for our situation. We met and dated for 5 months in France, and then lived apart for one year (during which I visited him in Brazil in December and March), and I arrived in Brazil in July to study. The year apart was terrible -- and we'd like to minimize that long-distance-relationship suffering in the future.
I am planning on returning to the U.S. in July to begin a Master's program, probably only coming back to Brazil to visit over the Christmas holidays, and perhaps to have an internship next summer.
He is graduated with a Master's degree, and has a good job now in Brazil with an American company that would be willing to transfer him to the US. We do not like the idea of him waiting around in the US on a fiance visa or otherwise without the proper authorization to work.
As far as I know, we have the following options:
1) Get married in Brazil before I leave, through a civil ceremony. We would like to have a formal church wedding once I am out of grad school, but ideally we would like the paperwork processed by then so we can begin to plan our life together (i.e. jobs, house, etc.)
a) begin the paperwork for permanent residency through the U.S. Consulate here
b) begin the paperwork for permament residency only after I am back in the U.S.
2) Wait until the next time he comes to visit on a tourist visa and get married in the U.S., and then begin the paperwork with him still living in Brazil and me in the U.S.
3) Apply for a fianc'e visa and get married on that when it comes through.
-- At what point will he be authorized to work in the US?
We have never lived together -- I do not believe in living together before marriage, although we have lived a total of 14 months to date in the same city (Thank God for this!!). Even if we get married within the next 3-4 months, I will most likely continue living with my current "host family," as that was the arrangement with my study program. Does this make our situation look fraudulent if we have never lived together?
Is the process more complicated getting married in Brazil or in the US, assuming that in either case he will return to Brazil and I will remain in the US while the paperwork is being processed? Will he still be able to come to the US on his valid B1/B2 visa to visit or for business purposes while his immigrant status is pending?
Also, we are as yet uncertain if we will want to live in the US or in Brazil. If we plan to live in brazil, can he still apply for a green card to avoid the hassle of applying for a visa every time we want to go back to visit my family?
Will it harm the chances of his family obtaining visas to attend our "proper" religious wedding ceremony if we are already "officially" married two years prior?
As as student, I do not have income to support him. He does not agree that my dad should co-sponsor him; he doesn't think this is right. I read that he may be able to claim his own support, if we have proof of a job that he will have after obtaining his green card. Can this be his current job, if he plans on staying in Brazil? Should they provide a letter guaranteeing him employment in Michigan if he should take the opportunity?
I am sure I have many many more questions -- and any advice anyone has on our situation will be greatly appreciated!