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student/USC married - process help

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I am a current international student who is about to start my 2nd semester of studies in California. I just got married to the love of my life, who is a US Citizen, in December, 2009. Me and my wife want to start the immigration paperwork [for Green Card & then Citizenship], change of status and work authorization right away, including anything else related. Could anyone point us to the right direction please?

1 : Which papers/applications do we individually or collectively file?

2 : Would my student visa continue to be valid after I send in my papers in question 1 above?

3 : Would I still need to go to the school to maintain my student visa/status after I/we apply the forms/applications from question # 1 above? Or can I stop going to school?

4 : Any tips on what to include with our applications or how to prepare for the process?

Thank you! :)


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You'd be petitioning for a family-based visa, Adjustment of Status (F-1 to Immigrant visa) - get a conditional permanent residency (and a work authorization along with that); and after 3 years of marriage, if you meet the other citizenship requirements you can apply for naturalization. More info here.

Your student visa will be valid even after you apply. You would need to continue going to school to maintain your student status in the US - at least until you get the conditional PR status, which may take 4-6 months (an optimistic estimate).

The USCIS site above has links to all the paperwork and instructions on how to fill them out. Some of the forms required are (Note: This is not an exhaustive list)

I-130 Petition for an Alien relative,

I-485 Adjustment of status to Permanent Resident,

I-765 Employment Authorization,

I-864 Affidavit of Support

I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record

Naturally, you might be better off, consulting with a qualified immigration attorney before you file your paperwork. This is important paperwork and you want to give it your best shot the first time. Your biggest hurdle might be getting the Affidavit of Support filled out, unless you are independently wealthy or your wife or someone from her family or some other person is financially-qualified and willing to sponsor you for the required period of time.

Good luck.

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Hi! :)

Ok, so I applied for the green card and yesterday received the receipt notices in the mail that the USCIS has received the documents. I am very happy.

So I have a question please: do you have any suggestion so to what I can do to withdraw from school at the moment? Is there a procedure to it, or do I simply go to my ISO [international student advisor], show them the receipt notice? Or do I have to wait for the "approval" notice? [is "approval" notice different than the receipt notice?]

Thank you!

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