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Marrying a U.S. citizen with soon-to-expire I-20?


I'm a French citizen and I'm getting married soon to my boyfriend (U.S. citizen) of 5 years. I came to the U.S. on a F1 student visa back in 2008 and have stayed here ever since. My boyfriend and I just decided to get married. However my I-20 expires this May and my F1 visa expires in August of 2015. Ideally we would like to get married in June, July or even August so that our families and friends (some coming from abroad) have ample time to prepare and attend our wedding ceremony. Is this feasible given that my I-20 expires soon? A friend suggested that we hold a civil ceremony for now, then apply for a green card and hold a traditional large-scale wedding later.

Also, is it possible for us to travel to my hometown once while applying for a green card? My family would like to hold a religious ceremony in my country as well.

Could you advise us what is the best (and obviously legal) course of action? We're both clueless at this point, since we've never been married before. We reside in Wisconsin.


3 Answers

  • 7 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Complicated, but soluble. You want a few things- you want to get married, live in the US, have a big wedding here and another ceremony in France. None of that is difficult, but your timing may be affected.

    Best bet- take your fiance to USCIS and ask about the duration of the processing. Once you are legally married (say through a small civil ceremony), he can petition for your residence in the USA. Any sort of wedding can happen any time afterwards. Sure, you'll already be married, but you can do the "cake, reception, lots of friends" thing after. You can even do another ceremony, celebrating three months of marriage. "And they said it wouldn't last" could even be a theme.

    When you file the application for residency, ask about an "advance parole." You're not supposed to leave the US until you get your green card, but that could take too long for your planned religious ceremony in France. An "advance parole" will let you back into the US. Confirm your plans with USCIS. Don't take someone's Y!A word for gospel and get really disappointed if you get rejected at the border on the way back. ....

    What you're asking for isn't impossible, but you should talk with USCIS about the process and timing. ... Good luck!!

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  • 7 years ago

    The moment you got married, you apply for Adjustment of Status which included Advance Parole. About 10 weeks later you'll be able to travel.

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  • pk
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Yes you can do that. To save energy, have the civil ceremony and file. Save the religious ceremony for after.

    But I'd make sure to have that religious/family ceremony done before your interview, complete with both sides of the family in the photos.


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