If my boyfriend’s J-1 visa expires in 3 weeks, what can we do to maintain his legal status here?

My boyfriend came here with a J-1 visa, which was set to expire in 2 months. However, his host has decided to terminate his contract and has been told his visa will expire in 3 weeks. He is currently enrolled in EMT classes which end just after his visa is set to expire. He doesn’t want to go back to France and we want to stay together. What are our options?

Asked on November 2, 2011 under Immigration Law, California


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can get married and then file for his permanent residence (green card) on the basis of marriage to a US citizen.  After you get married and file, it should be about 4-6 months before you are called in for an interview with the local USCIS office and if everything is approved, he will receive the actual green card in the mail about 3-4 weeks thereafter.  If you are not looking to get married right away and he terminates his J1 visa, he will be out of status and it will be very difficult for him to legalize his status in any way since in order to change status, one must be in status.  The only option left to him if he falls out of status will be eventually to get married to a US citizen.

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