Despite the F1 visa's status as a non-permanent visa, it provides the legal residency necessary for applying for permanent residency through marriage. You can get married on an F1 visa and file for permanent residency as long as you don't allow the F1 to expire before your permanent residency case is filed. You must file a series of documents simultaneously along with a hefty application fee. Throughout the process, the immigrant must not leave the country or risk denial of re-entry on the F1.
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Things You'll Need
All supplemental documents
Get married. Your process with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin only after you are legally married. While marriage doesn't automatically grant you a permanent visa, it does provide you with the grounds to apply for one.
Do not leave the United States. Before you file your forms, you should not travel outside the country due to your new marital status. F1 visas are non-permanent with no intent to remain. If you try to enter the U.S. on F1 again while married, an indication of intent to stay, your entry will be denied.
Complete, but do not submit, an I-130 Petition for an Alien Relative. This form must be completed by the U.S. citizen spouse. There is a U.S. $335 fee that accompanies this petition. This and all following USCIS forms can be found at the USCIS website (www.uscis.gov) under the forms section.
Complete, but do not submit, an I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident or Adjust Status. There is a U.S. $1,010 application fee that accompanies this petition.
Complete, but do not send, the I-864 Affidavit of Support from Sponsor & Evidence. There is a U.S. $70 filing fee for this form.
Complete, but do not send, a G-323A form. There is no fee added to this document as it is a supplemental attachment.
Combine all fees together from the I-130, I-485 and I-864 applications into one total payment amount of U.S. $1,415. Make payment in the form of check, money order or cashier's check made payable to the USCIS.
Send all of the forms listed above, I-130, I-485, I-864, G-325A, clipped together in large envelope along with the supplemental documents required for each--stated on the application form of each document as well as in the instructions manual of each--to the USCS filing center. For all residents, you will send your packet containing all the documents and a total payment to:
P.O. Box 805887
Chicago, IL 60680-4120
Wait for the application to be received and filed. You will be contacted for the next step and interview if needed, and then you will receive your green card for permanent residency. In the meanwhile, you should not leave the United States while your status is pending.
Tips & Warnings
It is always a sound idea to consult the advice of an immigration lawyer before submitting your documents. For time sensitive cases, the slightest problem with one of your application forms could set the process back months.Tags: permanent residency, I-130 I-485, I-130 I-485 I-864, I-485 I-864, United States