Would marriage make my immigration status more complicated? 4 Answers as of March 13, 2011

I have been here on a J-1 visa WITH the 2-year requirement, as a student on a scholarship. The plan is, preferably, to go on with my academic career pursuing a PhD AND not be separated from my live-in boyfriend of 1 year (American citizen). Aside from the possibility of entering a PhD program and getting an F-1 (working on it), would getting married be a viable 'plan B' for us to stay together? Or, could the marriage possibly make things more complicated?

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
I would advise that there are means to apply to remove the 2-year return condition on your J-1. If your case does not fall within one of the exceptions allowing that removal, then getting the PhD admission is a viable option. Being married is viable, but you are in the U.S. with the understanding of return to your country. If you are applying for a permanent visa, in an interview a USCIS officer could make a decision that you are engaged in fraud, by coming into the country for false pretenses. However, if you are able to show that you fully intended to stay, but had a change of mind when you met your boyfriend, that can overcome any presumption of fraud. An attorney's help is needed. If you wish to consult with me on the possibility of my services for you (and your boyfriend), please by all means call or e-mail for an appointment.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/13/2011
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC
Feldman Feldman & Associates, PC | Lynne Feldman
You should check on the rules of the scholarship to see if this would continue if you got off the J-1. You should know that getting married to a U.S. citizen though will not by itself get you out of the two year foreign residency requirement and you will not be allowed to apply for permanent residency or any work status without first getting a waiver. Your next move should be to look at options for obtaining a waiver if any. If you would like a consultation, contact me as indicated below. We do charge for consultations but what you pay for the consult will be accredit toward the fees for your case if we are retained for immigration services thereafter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/11/2011
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law
Law Office of Immigration & International Trade Law | Linda Liang
No matter what, you have to obtain a waiver for your J1 in order to adjust status.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/8/2011
Law Offices of Caro Kinsella
Law Offices of Caro Kinsella | Caro Kinsella, Esq.
If you and your boyfriend want to get married; I would take this option as you will be able to get work authorization within 90 days of filing the petition and eventually a conditional green card. Feel free to contact my office for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 3/8/2011
Click to View More Answers: