You came here on an F-1 international student visa. I have already finished my studies, as well as my practical training for Postgraduate. I I was out of place here because I fell in love. My wife is a permanent resident. Now we want to order Green card. Will I have to travel to my country to take my immigrant visa interview? If I must, what are my chances of obtaining permanent residency?
– Burnt to. Staten Island, New York
You can be interviewed in the United States, a process called “status adjustment,” but only if your spouse becomes a US citizen.
If she is not naturalized, she will have to go to her immigrant visa interview at a US consulate in another country. But it still wasn’t a big problem.
As a spouse of a permanent resident, you fall into the second family preference category. Applicants in this category cannot amend their status if they are here illegally.
If your spouse has naturalized, you have the right to be an immediate family member of a US citizen, and USCIS will forgive her for being here unlawfully.
As the spouse of a US citizen, your legal entry into the country is sufficient to allow you to adjust your status.
F-1 students can be interviewed at the United States Consulate without being penalized for being here illegally, unless USCIS or an immigration judge makes a formal decision about the illegal situation.
However, adjustment of status, when you have this option, is always the best way to apply for permanent residency.
Alan Wernick directs the CUNY Citizenship Now project at the City University of New York. Send questions to: [email protected]. Twitter: awernick