Ep. 50 How to Apply for Green Card from Student Visa?

  • F visa holder must know that when you apply for a green card you may lose the chance of renewing your F1.
  • The length of a green card process can take two or more years. This process will not allow you a right to stay in the US.
  • Until you can get to the adjustment of status process, you won’t be allowed to work.
  • It may take years especially for those from India and China.
  • Always get advice from a qualified attorney before filing from an F1

Raw Transcript:

Jacob: Hello everybody, this is Jacob here at Ask An Immigration Lawyer Podcast. You ask, we answer, simple.

I’m getting a lot of questions now that the H1B lottery is over. Many, many people were not selected and they have to go back to student status, they have to give up those jobs because H1B visas were not – they were not selected in the lottery.

So, we have a lot of people who are in student status and they ask: Well, what if this future employer is going to sponsor us directly for green card? We get multiple questions from F1 visa holders that have the option to get sponsored by these employers.

Well, first of all, you have to remember, that unlike the H visa, unlike the H1B visa which is a dual intent, the F visa is a single intent. Which means that if something goes wrong or if, you know, the process [is stuck 00:01:05] the F1 student that now file for a green card may lose this F1 or may lose the chance to renew it just because they file for a green card. So, that’s one thing to consider.

But the other issues that if the student visa is coming to an end, the length of a green card process is really, really – you know, sometimes it can be two years and more. So, even if the company sponsors you for a green card today the process is not allowing you a right to stay in the US, a right to say here in status until you’re actually eligible for the final step which is the 45 adjustment of status.

So, in practice, F1 students need to find a way to keep their status until they get to the 45 step. And, again, it depends on the category and the country of birth. Sometimes it may take years if you’re from India or China. We’re talking about years. So, it’s not just processing time that tell us the overall weight but it’s also the availability of green cards based on the visa bulletin. And this availability is updated pretty much every month by the Department of State and the visa bulletin which is – it’s an online bulletin where we can see every month what visas and how many visas are available for country.

So, as a student, you have no way to work while you wait for the green card to be processed. It’s not like you file for the green card and then you can work. So, until you get to the adjustment of status process you can’t really work.

So, I always tell people that going for the green card straight from there, from visa, is really a complicated process. I wouldn’t recommend it necessarily every time unless really there’s no option. It’s very important to consult with a qualified attorney. They can look into this and decide whether it’s the best way or maybe the other visa options or maybe it’s just worth it just to wait another year so you can file for the H1B the following year or maybe a person can qualify for some other visa. But I always recommend to file for a visa before starting the green card process because many things can happen while the green card is pending and if things go wrong a person may lose their student status. So, always best to get advice from a qualified attorney before filing for a green card from an F1.

Thanks for listening. You ask, we answer, simple. We’ll see you at our next episode. Thanks for listening.