US permanent residency: Marriage after a student visa entry?

| Jun 29, 2019 | U.s. Permanent Residency |

Many students in Florida universities are immigrants who entered the United States from other countries of origin. The student visa process allows thousands of people to attend U.S. colleges and universities on a temporary basis. If an immigrant marries a U.S. citizen or someone with U.S. permanent residency, his or her legal status will also change.

By marrying a U.S. citizen, an immigrant may be eligible to obtain a green card, thus allowing him or her permanent residency status. He or she may be able to live and work in the United States while retaining citizenship in his or her country of origin. However, those who have crossed U.S. borders under student visa status must be careful not to place themselves at risk for legal action. If at any time during a stay in this country as a student a person plans to apply for permanent residency, he or she is no longer free to leave and re-enter the United States on his or her student visa.

Once a student immigrant makes plans to marry a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident, he or she is no longer considered a non-immigrant but becomes a prospective immigrant. This is why travel out of or back into the United States is no longer permitted under a student visa, which is a non-immigrant legal status. The process of legally adjusting one’s status as a spouse of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident involves numerous documents and application fees and must be done within certain time frames.

It is not uncommon for people to meet their prospective spouses in college. However, when one of a pair is a non-immigrant guest in Florida or another state, it is critical that he or she understands the process of seeking U.S. permanent residency. To avoid doing something that places one’s legal status at risk, it is helpful to turn to an experienced immigration attorney for guidance and support.

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