How can I extend my stay?

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How can I extend my stay?

I am currently a J1 scholar. My employer promised me at least 3 years of

contract but today, after 2 years of work, he told me he might not be able to

renew my DS2019 after end of July. I never expected to live in the US for

more than a few years but I fell in love with a US citizens and we are now

engaged. We were not in a hurry to get married as I was expecting to be on a

legal status until at least July of next year. However, a couple of weeks ago, my

fiance got arrested and he will have to spend 6 months in prison, date of

release end of August. My employer agreed on filing a H1B application for

me if it can give me more time to get another legal status. I am also applying

to similar job than my current one. Would it be a good idea to apply for a H1B?

Should we try to get married while he is in prison? Is that even possible? Or

should I apply for a fiance visa at the end of my J1 visa? I don’t mind going

back in my country for a few weeks if I don’t have another option I am not

subjected to the 2-year home residency rule but I am afraid it will make my

reentry in the US difficult or make impossible my marriage with my fiance.

Asked on February 24, 2016 under Immigration Law, Arkansas


SB Member California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

So, first of all, you need to understand that there are a few issues to consider.  The fiancee visa petition is not just a few weeks; it is about a year long process so if you leave and have your fiance file that, you will not be able to return for about 1 year, until the fiancee visa application is approved and you get the fiancee visa.  Secondly, the H-1B process is subject to a lottery because there are many more applicants than visa numbers available so just because your employer may be willing to file that on your behalf is not necessarily a guarantee that your application will be selected for processing and ultimately be approved.  If you really intend to get married, assuming your fiance really will be released in August, you can probably just plan to do that as soon as he is released and file for your adjustment of status at that time.  If your fiance is a Us citizen then it should be fine.

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