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I am a physician doing a NIW. I just got married to an american, can i get my green card through my husband and not the NIW?

Troy, NY |

I have been on the NIW in an underserved area of NY for the past 1 year. I have 4 more years to go before the green card is approved. I have an alien number already but everything is pending while I fulfill the 5-year requirement. My question is - will my marriage to an american allow me to expedite obtaining a green card?

Also, I was never on the J-1 visa. I was on an H-1b for 5 years but due to circumstances surrounding my job search, decided to do a NIW.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

Thanks for your inquiry. My recommendation would be to speak with a competent attorney as soon as possible and certainly before taking any steps forward on moving in a different direction. Arguably, not having to comply with the pre-requisites to obtaining the NIW would be the more expeditious way to obtain residency, but moving away from the requirements attached to the NIW may not be as easy as simply deciding to move to a different application process.

Like anyone else filing an application for adjustment of status (or to obtain an immigrant visa through the US Consular Office abroad), you must establish that you are admissible to the US. A question was raised b a colleague on the J-1 visa and you indicated that you were not subject to any J-1 visa two year foreign residency requirement and that is good. Nonetheless, you would want someone who can review your paperwork and make sure that there are no surprises if you go in a different direction.

The other issue to consider is that once you decide to go in another direction, you may lose the opportunity to pursue the NIW pathway. Listen, relationships in the US end all of the time. And while I wish you the very best, you want to make sure that marriage is the right way to pursue permanency in your immigration status. Far too often, foreign nationals do not consider the possible consequences of doing things for the wrong reasons and go in the direction which gets them to the finish line that much faster.

In a situation like this, I would suggest that you and the fiance make an appointment to talk to an attorney who can review what you have and make sure that you are adequately and accurately advised on how to proceed. If after looking at all of the information available marriage is the way to go, then so be it. But in a situation such as this I would be much more concerend about making sure that I obtain all of the right answers to all of the right questoins and make an informed and reasoned decision.

Talk to someone who understand the complications and can speak frankly too you. Maybe the thought of the relationship going sour is not the conversation that you woudl like to have. But you have think about the future. CIS is processing applications much faster than it did even a year ago and it is likely that you will receive conditional status through the marriage if that is the pathway chosen. You have to keep all of this in mind in making a decision.

Good luck.


If you have a J visa, you probably still have restrictions that will bar you from using marriage.

Meet with an attorney to explore your options in private.

IMMIGRATION LAW PROFESSOR for 10 years -- LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This answer is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


Your facts are confusing. If you were lawfully admitted into the country, there is nothing that precludes you from filing for AOS based on your marriage to a U.S. citizen.

Behar Intl. Counsel 619.234.5962 Kindly be advised that the answer above is only general in nature cannot be construed as legal advice, given that not enough facts are known. It is your responsibility to retain a lawyer to analyze the facts specific to your particular situation in order to give you specific advice. Specific answers will require cognizance of all pertinent facts about your case. Any answers offered on Avvo are of a general nature only, and are not meant to create an attorney-client relationship.


Needs more facts of your case, but most likely no. Please check your J1 waiver conditions. You must complete the terms and conditions imposed on the waiver.

This answer is of a general nature and should not be relied upon as final, nor is it intended as legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney before making any legal decisions. Gen Kimura, (832) 247-6932.