What challenges will we face if we decide to get married before he is granted a Green Card? 2 Answers as of March 28, 2011

My boyfriend of 3 years has been in the US for the past 5 years on an H1B (he's a Canadian citizen). He applied for a Green Card before we met and has some time to go before he's granted one (he's being sponsored by his brother). What challenges will we face if we decide to get married before he is granted a Green Card? And once we are married, how long until he is able to become a citizen? I'm concerned about having children before he is granted citizenship.

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Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law
Theresa E. Tilton, Attorney at Law | Theresa E. Tilton
Are you a US citizen? If so, marrying this man could bring him to the head of the immigration line. Spouses of US citizens do not have to wait for immigration visas. If you are a legal resident yourself, you can still shorten his wait, since spouses of legal residents have priority over siblings of US citizens. If your spouse gets a green card through your sponsorship, he will have to wait just three years after getting the green card before becoming a US citizen. I do not understand your hesitation about having children with a Canadian citizen. If they are born in the USA, they are US citizens from birth. If you give birth to them in Canada, you can still use the N-600 to certify that they are US citizens by birth to you, a US citizen.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/28/2011
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
If you are a U.S. citizen, I would recommend that you also file a petition for him as he can then simultaneously apply for permanent residency - in most states this is about a 3-4 month process currently. Once he is a permanent resident he would not need to maintain his H-B. As a permanent resident he has most of the rights of a U.S. citizen (He cannot vote; could still be deported for certain major crimes; and is not eligible for certain public benefits immediately). There is no reason to delay having children if he is a permanent resident. (They would have dual citizenship in Canada and the U.S.). After he has been a permanent resident for 2 years and 9 months he can apply for U.S. citizenship if still married to you and he has met the physical presence and continuous residence in the U.s. requirements. If we can assist you with his permanent residency feel free to contact me below for more detailed information on the procedures, forms and supporting documents required, and fees.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/25/2011
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