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  1. #1
    kevola is offline Junior Member
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    Sep 2008
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    Us citizen marrying immigrant with j1 visa

    Hi, I am a US citizen and i am going to marry a Colombian National. She is currently a J-1 status and is spanish hgh school teacher. Her H1 sponsorship ends Jan 9, 2009 so she is only teaching ubtil Jan9, 2009. She has been here legally for 10 years. She was just granted a 2 year waiver for her J1 by the USA and Colombian govt's last month . But she realizes she would need a new h1 sponsor to stay past Jan 9, 2009 as her H1 sponsorship expires with the current employer.

    But, it has all changed as we have decided to get married! We need to find out what the best course of action is next, and how marrying an immigrant while still in the USA, with j1 status, and a 2 year waiver, affects her status? We would like to marry within the next month or as soon possible. But of course we feel it is prudent to understand the facts first.
    1) Does her status change after marriage? If yes, how quickly does it change from the date of the marriage in the usa?
    2) Can she stay in the usa past Jan 9, 2009 due the fact that she is now married to a us citizen?
    3) Can she then work, if she can stay past Jan 9, 2009 because she is married to a US citizen?
    I appreciate your help. Thank you, kevin
  2. #2
    evcalyptos is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    3,352
    Quote Originally Posted by kevola View Post
    Hi, I am a US citizen and i am going to marry a Colombian National. She is currently a J-1 status and is spanish hgh school teacher. Her H1 sponsorship ends Jan 9, 2009 so she is only teaching ubtil Jan9, 2009. She has been here legally for 10 years. She was just granted a 2 year waiver for her J1 by the USA and Colombian govt's last month . But she realizes she would need a new h1 sponsor to stay past Jan 9, 2009 as her H1 sponsorship expires with the current employer.

    But, it has all changed as we have decided to get married! We need to find out what the best course of action is next, and how marrying an immigrant while still in the USA, with j1 status, and a 2 year waiver, affects her status? We would like to marry within the next month or as soon possible. But of course we feel it is prudent to understand the facts first.
    1) Does her status change after marriage? If yes, how quickly does it change from the date of the marriage in the usa?
    2) Can she stay in the usa past Jan 9, 2009 due the fact that she is now married to a us citizen?
    3) Can she then work, if she can stay past Jan 9, 2009 because she is married to a US citizen?
    I appreciate your help. Thank you, kevin
    Congratulations on your happy decision

    I think it would be a really good idea for the 2 of you to have a consultation with a lawyer familiar with J-1 adjustments and waivers before you file anything, but you are doing the right thing by getting some info ahead of time. This will maximize your meeting with a lawyer and make the best use of your $$. It's worth it to pay for a consultation when one of you has an immigration/visa history.

    The first thing to know -- (and most Americans, like me, back when) think that a foreigner getting married to a US citizen (USC) is the end of it.
    Being married to a USC on its own, does nothing for the foreign spouse.

    1-- No, her 'status' does not change specifically. Getting married does make her an "Immediate Relative" (spouse) of a USC though, and when you declare that relationship with a "petition I-130" you make her eligible to --apply-- for an immigration benefit.
    Other foreign persons in the US may be eligible to even apply.

    (anything I capitalize or put in quote marks means it's a word with specific immigration meanings and they are phrases/words you should look for in your research)

    2-- She can stay past 1/09 --IF-- you petition for her, and she applies for Permanent Residence. Her application is commonly known as "AOS" for "Adjustment of Status". Her application must be received before her current visa/I-94 expires.

    3-- Not because she is married to a USC specifically, but because she is an AOS applicant, she can also apply for a new work permit, called an EAD or Employment Authorization Document. These EADs take about 3 months to receive, so if she does not want her work interrupted, she must get married and put her application in ..well heck, pretty much immediately.

    This is an excellent layman's guide to the AOS process:
    [url]http://www.familybasedimmigration.com/forum/adjustment-of-status.php[/url]

    There are a million and one details to this that are very important.. an error at this stage can be devastating (we read sad stories online every day of families separated over paperwork errors). I often advocate for people doing their own case, like I did, but you should know that it takes a tremendous amount of time.
    You have the added complication of the J-1 and the waiver that she says she already has.

    I strongly encourage you to do your own research, not rush, and to speak to a couple of lawyers. In about one week of daily reading (it takes a while what with all the lingo etc) you will have a good idea if this is something you want to do on your own, or if you think a $1000 or so fee is a good investment for professional help.
    Remember that most of us only do this once in our lives; a pro should be doing this every day and have an up to date working relationship with USCIS.

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