Once you and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident consider marriage, your immigration status for the purposes of leaving and entering the United States changes. You are no longer considered an F-1 non-immigrant but a prospective immigrant.

After marriage, you must apply to adjust your status to permanent residency through USCIS to receive the benefits of residency which allow you to live and work in the U.S. while retaining citizenship in your home country. Link to government site explaining permanent residency through a family member--your spouse.

  • Requirements
    • The marriage must:
      • not have been entered into for the sole purpose of conferring permanent residence status on the alien,
      • be legally binding when performed and
      • be currently in effect.

 

  • Application Procedure 
    • Obtain the required forms and documents as listed by USCIS on their Website at https://www.uscis.gov, click on “Green Card (Permanent Residence)”–center left menu, click on “Green Card Through Family, follow the link on the upper right for “Green Card Based Forms.” Currently the forms are: 
      • I-130 Petition for Alien Relative $355,
      • I-131 Application for Travel Document (optional),
      • G-325A Biographic Information (one for you and for your spouse),
      • I-485 Adjustment of Status Application $1,010,
      • I-693 Medical Examination form (call 1-800-375-5283 for current list of doctors),
      • I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (optional),
      • I-864 Affidavit of Support–include copy of latest IRS form 1040 and copy of previous year’s W-2
    • For answers to questions or concerns, you should consult directly with USCIS officers (appointments made through the InfoPass Website, https://infopass.uscis.govor with an attorney knowledgeable in immigration law since the application process involves your immigrant status and International Services works with non-immigrant status.
    • Obtain checks or money orders for the $355 and $1,010application fees
    • Obtain passport style photos as directed.
    • Mail your application in the order specified on the USCIS website to:
      • If sent through U.S. Postal Service:

        U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

        P.O. Box 805887

        Chicago, IL 60680-4120

      • If sent through non-U.S. Postal Service courier:

        U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

        Attn: FBASI

        131 South Dearborn – 3rd Floor

        Chicago, IL 60603-5520

         

    • Processing may take up to 14 months and involves interviews and providing biometrics. During this time you may work and travel outside the U.S. only if you have applied for and received the appropriate work and travel authorizations. These take approximately three months to process. note: During this time you become ineligible for non-immigrant (F-1) benefits like re-entry into the U.S. with a Form I-20 after a temporary absence from the country.
    • You are officially designated as a conditional permanent resident when a designating stamp is placed in your passport. Conditional permanent residency extends for two years.
    • Within 90 days before the two-year anniversary of being granted conditional residency, you must apply to have the conditions removed and to become a permanent legal resident; otherwise, your residency is automatically terminated. Legal permanent residency is granted for ten years and may be renewed multiple times. After a minimum of three years of legal permanent residency, you may apply to become a U.S. citizen. This process is called naturalization.

NOTE: IT IS ILLEGAL TO LEAVE THE UNITED STATES AND RE-ENTER ON YOUR STUDENT VISA IF AT ANY TIME DURING YOUR STUDIES YOU INTEND TO APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY.