I am an F-1 student with my visa ending this May 2012. My I-20 (as it stands right now) ends December 2012. I then have another year to do Optional Practical Training. I do have a boyfriend that I hope will ask me to marry hom, as we are nearly at that point of the relationship, but I fear that I am running out of time and that if we get married beyond the time frame of December 2012, immigration would view it as a desperate act and not see the marriage as valid.
Can anyone help? Many thanks in advance.
I don't see that as a desparate act, but a wonderful move to move your life forward. I assume your boyfriend is a U.S. citizen. The USCIS will look at whether it is a real relationship, and whether you are commited to a permanent life together, and the timing in this case should not be an issue. I would suggest that you marry and file your application within the period of your F-1 status (that is, before 60 days have passed after your OPT expires) so you maintain continuously a legal status. (You can still file after your F-1 status has expired, but you should not go out of status if you can avoid it).
You automatically become deportable when your status expires. Whether that would be an issue if you file for adjustment of status, will depend on the immigration status of your spouse.
You should retain an experienced immigration lawyer to review all the facts and advise you accordingly.
Although you didn't state it, I will assume your boyfriend is a US citizen. Don't rush marriage. If you need more time for your relationship to grow, go back to school & work on a Masters, or Doctor's degree. Bottom line, immigration won't hold a last-minute marriage against you ... as long as you can show that you had a long-term relationship.
It is always wise to consult personally with an immigration attorney before taking any action with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service or Department of State Consular Post.
Do not rely on information you get on a website.
If you are low income and feel that you can not afford an attorney, try contacting one of the organizations on this list: http://www.justice.gov/eoir/probono/states.htm
If you are not low income, please consider contacting one of the attorneys on Avvo.
Franco Capriotti - Senior Legal Counsel - Capriotti International Law
SKYPE CONSULTATIONS AVAILABLE - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.capriotti.com
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