Ep. 2 Husband is Green Card Holder. Wife has F1 Student Visa. Can she stop school, stay and work?

Introduction: You ask we answer your immigration questions. Simple. And now your host immigration lawyer Jacob Sapochnick.

Jacob: This week we have a question from Imelda from Phoenix, Arizona and Imelda is asking the following question. The question is my husband is a green card holder. He became a green card holder about a year ago and I’m a student, I’m an F1 student. If we file the petition for the green card am I able to get a work permit and stay in the US and stop going to school?

Again the question is if I marry a permanent resident can I now stay in the US without any other visa, live and work.

Well, unfortunately the answer is no. If your husband is just a permanent resident, a green card holder, the fact that he’s going to file for an I-130 marriage petition for you is not going to allow you to stay in the US. Because permanent residents are subject to a visa numerical category which means that they have to wait in line until the visa numbers become current. Typically it may take up to three years. And so in the meantime the spouse of the permanent resident must remain in the US in a different visa category. In your case Imelda, it has to be the student visa. You have to maintain your student visa while the I-130 is pending.

I know it’s really a devastating answer and it doesn’t really make sense but that’s the reality. So a lot of people make mistakes, they’re thinking that their permanent residents spouses can actually sponsor them but they can’t. Once he becomes a US citizen of course the process is immediate but I assume that he may have to wait longer to get his citizenship if he only got it last year.

Closing: Thank you for listening to the Ask My Immigration Lawyer Podcast, the show that’s dedicated to answering your immigration questions. Simple as that. See you next week for another round of questions and much needed answers.