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    windowsyl's Avatar
    windowsyl Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 21, 2018, 02:23 AM
    Should we plan to marry early so we can stay in the same country?
    Okay guys, sorry this is about to get really complex:

    I'm a student at one of the top 10 universities in the US, and will be graduating in Jan. 2020. My boyfriend (of one year) attends school with me, and will be graduating in May 2020. As we begin planning our future post-grad and applying, we find ourselves in a unique situation with some issues I've had trouble googling advice on.

    First and foremost, he is an international student from Brazil here on an education visa. We recently were informed that his chances of finding a company who's willing and able to procure one of the limited H-1B visas available in the US each year are slim to none. Thus, we find ourselves pursuing alternate options.

    We've been living together basically the entirety of our time together. In addition to sharing a lease for the past 7 months, we survived a 3 month stint prior, in which we moved between hotels/AirBNBs weekly, as well as an entire summer living together in a single, cramped Candlewood Suites' room in the fairly distant suburbs of Chicago with one car and zero friends/connections in the state. Thus, we've already tackled the majority of the relationship-threatening key issues that couples face during the transition to life together post-grad: navigating different income levels and drastically different spending habits, managing a home between our equally-demanding course-loads, dealing with my ADHD and resulting disorganization in distinct juxtaposition to his OCD-like tendencies and inability to work in a messy environment, etc.

    We tackle everything together, referring to ourselves as "Team (my surname)-(his surname)", and are both confident that we're going to make it work after college. As such, we plan on getting engaged a few months before I graduate, as a sign of our commitment to a future together post-grad.

    Additionally, we're both against any sort of long-distance lacking a specific/predetermined duration (and ideally against long-term in general). Our relationship is rooted in a joint/shared narrative, which necessitates involvement in each other's daily lives and our creation of an environment in which we both comfortably and amply share our inner lives/thoughts. Moreover, his last serious relationship ended because he was cheated on, so he has significant trauma/latent jealousy as a result. The point: We don't want to tackle long-distance unless absolutely necessary, and are willing to make considerable sacrifices to avoid it.

    In regards to the alternate options we're exploring, he has dual citizenship in Brazil and Portugal, the latter of which includes authorization to work anywhere in the EU. As such, we're pursuing opportunities in EU countries (with an emphasis on English speaking ones as I'm currently monolingual), in hopes that it might be easier for me to get a visa there than it is for him to get a visa here. We've also considered pursuing careers together in Brazil, where we think visa-procurement (for me) will be easiest of all. However, I can't speak more than a few words of Portuguese, and, while I'm totally willing to take intensive language courses should it be our best/only chance at staying together, it's not exactly ideal.

    We've both expressed willingness to follow each other to any location, pending the offers we receive and the options that we're presented regarding visas. For me, that's easy, as I want to be a writer, and plan to only work my post-grad job long enough to save up the necessary funds to cover my cost of living for a few years, after which, I plan to quit and write a novel. He's passionately pursuing a career in finance. However, he's also willing to follow me anywhere should I get a too-good-to-pass-up offer, as long as we can figure out the necessary visas. AKA: we're both really committed to this.

    Finally, despite our original plans for a long engagement of ~3 years (developed before we discovered how difficult it is to get an H-1B visa), we're considering getting married within the first year after he graduates (before his current visa expires). We'd need to decide on this option early, however, once committed we must marry and complete the subsequent green card app process within the first year following his graduation or he risks an accusation of application fraud and almost-certain termination.

    The only reservations I have in regards to this final option are those fueled by stories I've heard about people who were ed over by marriage/divorce, as well as the fact that I can't see my parents being on-board (however, it's not their life).

    I can't fathom a life without him in it, and I'm fully committed to finding a way for us to pursue a life in the same city. I'm afraid of irreparably straining and damaging our relationship with an early marriage, however, I'm even more afraid that without work-authorization in the same country we'll be forced into long-distance (with the potential need for a visa and >$1000 plane ticket just to visit each other, which would be the case if he went home to Brazil).

    Would I be na´ve to marry him early so as to significantly increase our options, minimize the risks and uncertainties, and give us at least one country that we're both authorized to work in? How do I choose which option will give our relationship the highest chance at success? Do you have any advice on how to navigate such a complex and multi-faceted decision that relies so heavily on bureaucratic bull?
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692

    Oct 21, 2018, 05:01 AM
    What has given you the idea that he can stay if you just get married?

    Yes he may apply for a change of status and normally stay till the hearing. But there is income requirements to show that you and he can afford to stay in the US without the use of government welfare.

    So if you meet the income level to sponsor him, And can prove this from bank account records. Show you can provide him a home to live in, (it can be a rental) And can show a history of being together, it may be possible to get a probationary green card (for 2 years) and then have a new hearing after that time.

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