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Adjustment of Status from 1 through marriage to a citizen

Decatur, GA |

I am on 1 visa ( fully funded Ph . D Student at Emory ) and it expires this summer , but my 1 - 20 is valid until 2016 . I have full funding for my PhD work till 2014 May . I was planning to marry my boyfriend ( who is a citizen ) and realized I need adjustment of status . Am I eligible to file it if my visa expires in May 2013 ? Do we need legal help to file this ? We met while we were both students in Germany 7 years ago and applying for PhD . Is this a straight forward case ?

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Attorney answers 4


I would strongly urge you to hire an immigration lawyer. Applications for immigration benefits are kept on file in USCIS and can negatively affect future applications, such as application to Remove Conditions on Residence and Naturalization. There is much more to applying for immigration benefits than completing forms. Unless you have training in immigration law, you are likely not even aware of all the potential pitfalls. For instance, marrying a U.S. citizen within a couple of months of stepping off of a plane can cause major problems for even the most well intentioned and law abiding foreign national.

A lawyer will ensure that you present your strongest application to USCIS. If you proceed withou a lawyer and your application is denied, you will have to constantly re-explain the denial whenever you request an immigration benefit in the future, whether it be from a U.S. consulate, CBP, or USCIS. Get a lawyer and do it right the first time! You should also bear in mind that repeating anything in the world of immigration is on a time scale of months or years. As a result, it can easily cost you more time and money to obtain an immigration benefit on your own than if you use an attorney. Plus, keep in mind that there are significant “opportunity costs” as well. (A good example is where someone has to re-submit a work permit application and wait a few additional months before working).

If you appreciate the time spent preparing this answer, kindly consider marking it BEST ANSWER or HELPFUL. Good luck to you.

Dean P. Murray
The Murray Law Firm
560 Sylvan Avenue
Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632
T: (201)875-2600
F: (201)549-8700

Mr. Murray's response is NOT legal advice and does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. You should NOT rely on this response. Mr. Murray's response was generated without conducting a full inquiry as would occur during a face to face attorney-client consultation. It is likely that the response above may be made less accurate, or become entirely inaccurate, as you, i.e. the questioner, disclose additional facts that should only be discussed during a private consultation with an attorney. I strongly recommend that you consult an attorney who is licensed to practice law in your state (or, in the case of immigration law, and attorney in ANY state), whereupon all relevant facts will be discussed. All responses posted by Mr. Murray on are intended as general information for the education of the public, and not for any specific individual.


Once you are marreid you may apply to adjust your status from F-1 student to permanent resident. Your husband will petition for you and you apply to adjust status along with a request for work and travel permits all in a one-step process.

I would recommend having an attorney handle it for you to make sure everythign goes smoothly and yoru case does nto get delayed by your lack of knowledge of immigration procedures. If we can assist you cnotanct me as indicated below.

Lynne R. Feldman, Attorney at Law
Concentrating in Immigration and Nationality Law
2221 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 201
San Diego, CA 92108
phone: (619) 299-9600, facsimile: (619) 923-3277

Formerly Adjunct Professor -- Immigration law
University of Illinois College of Law


I would urge you to consult with and hire an immigration lawyer to assist you with this case. Not because I think you’re not capable of handling it; you may will be, but in order for the lawyer to debrief and brief you, analyze, assess and evaluate your case in order to maximize the possibilities for a successful result.


A U.S. citizen may petition for his wife to adjust status even if her student visa or other visa has expired. As others have responded, there are many advantages to working with an immigration attorney regardless of whether a case may seem relatively "straight forward." Many immigration firms, including mine, offer services an a "flat fee" basis, and some, including mine, offer an initial consultation free of charge.

[Note: Consistent with Avvo policy, this communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.] David N. Soloway Frazier, Soloway & Poorak, P.C. 1800 Century Place, Suite 100 Atlanta, Georgia 30345 404-320-7000 * 1-877-232-5352 *

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