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J1 visa holder marriage to US citizen, please help!!

Discussion in 'Family Based Green Card -Through Marriage/Relative' started by pauper, May 28, 2009.

  1. pauper

    pauper New Member

    Hi all, here's a brief background.. I am a US citizen and plan on marrying my girlfriend in August. She is here on a J1 visa which expires in Sept and is not subject to the 2 year home requirement. However, we have some questions we hope to have answered and are hoping you kind folks might be able to help out. Any help you can provide would be much appreciated..

    1. What would be my girlfriend's status after we marry but when her J1 is expired and her green card application is still in processing? Would she be out-of status? And during this time, would she be able to attend school and get her driver's license?

    2. Does getting married make it any easier for my girlfriend's parents to attain a visitors visa to visit the US? (coming from Thailand)

    3. If at the time my girlfriend's green card expires and she is out of the country, would there be anyway for her to renew without coming back to the US?

    4. As I understand, a birth certificate is required for her green card application and would have to be translated to english. Does it need a notary from the US? Can we have it translated in Thailand?

    5. We plan on self-filing our marriage documents but what are the benefits of having an immigration lawyer file for us? and how much would it cost?

    6. As I understand, the following documents are needed for her application for green card:
    a. I-485 application
    b. I-130 petition for alien relative
    c. I-864 affidavit of support
    Am I missing anything? Also, approximately how much are we looking at in cost for the entire green card process from start to end?

    7. Lastly, we plan on getting a prenup. Should this be done before our marriage or could it be done anytime after? Also, very roughly, how much do lawyers usually charge for this?

    Sorry for the lengthy post.. and again, much thanks to any help you can offer.
  2. mask369

    mask369 Registered Users (C)

    Please use my 2 cent advice at your own risk.
  3. Jackolantern

    Jackolantern Registered Users (C)

    1. Once her I-485 is filed she would no longer be out of status, or if filed before her current status expires, she would not go out of status. She will be able to work when she gets an EAD (takes 2-3 months to arrive after filing the I-765). She will be able to get a driver's license while her green card process is pending, but state requirements vary so it may take anywhere from a week to a number of months before she gets enough of the required papers to apply for the DL, depending on what the state needs to see.

    2. No, it makes it more difficult for them to get a visa. The stronger their daughter's ties are to the US, the more the consulate will suspect her parents will want to overstay. If her parents have enough of their own finances to afford their own ticket and spending money, they should apply on their own merit and shouldn't even mention their daughters existence except where specifically asked.

    3. The initial green card expires in 2 years. Why do you already expect her to be outside the US when it expires? She needs to return to the US before it expires and renew it in the US, and the renewed one will be valid for 10 years.

    4. I'll leave that for others to answer

    5. Having a lawyer handle the processing end-to-end would cost thousands of dollars. I wouldn't advise it unless there are complications involved, like if she has a criminal record or a history of immigration violations. Most people don't use a lawyer. However, it should cost only a few hundred$ for a lawyer to sit down for an hour or two to review your paperwork before you send it in, so you could consider that option.

    6. You also need
    - I-693 (medical exam)
    - I-765 (if she wants work authorization)
    - I-131 (advance parole, if she wants to travel outside the US while her green card is pending)
    - possibly more but I don't remember off the top of my head.

    7. That is a question for a marriage forum, not here. But I would expect that a prenup doesn't look good to an immigration officer (although it is unlikely they would know or ask unless you are a millionaire). Be aware that marriages are looked upon with suspicion whenever a green card is marriage-based and the marriage is new, so you should prepare to be possibly interrogated with tough questions. Another issue is that as her green card sponsor, you are financially responsible for keeping her off the welfare rolls until she works for 10 years or becomes a citizen (whether or not you're still married to her), so the prenup wording should not make it appear that you are trying to circumvent that immigration requirement.
  4. LucyMO

    LucyMO Registered Users (C)

    4) it doesn't matter where it's translated and it doesn't need to be notarized. It needs to be certified by a translator (look that up on www.uscis.gov).

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