F1 Visa to Green Card: 5 Ways to Get Your Green Card

F1 Visa to Green Card 5 Ways to Get Your Green Card

The F1 student visa is a single intent visa, meaning you promise to enter the US to study, and then return to your home country once you finish your studies. This means that an F1 visa is not a direct path to a green card, and you cannot enter the US on the F1 visa with the intent to gain lawful permanent residency. However, there are a few paths you can follow after an F1 visa that would lead to a green card. Five of these options are discussed in detail below.

 

1. Change status to a dual intent visa

 

As mentioned above, the F1 visa is not a dual intent visa. So, if you’re looking to eventually get your green card, one of the options to do this is to change status from the F1 visa to a dual intent visa, which would be a nonimmigrant USA work visa that allows you to later apply for a green card (including the H1B visa). Then, once you are on a dual intent visa, you can find an employer who will sponsor you for an employment-based green card - discussed below).

 

2. Marry a US citizen or lawful permanent resident

 

Another option to get a green card if you are in the United States on an F1 visa is for people who meet and fall in love with either a US citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Then, your spouse can petition for your green card. However, you must remember that there is a 90-day rule that must be followed with the F1 visa. If you enter on an F1, you should wait at least 90 days before getting married, or there will be a presumption of immigration fraud (that you entered with the intent to marry, rather than the intent to study) and the green card will be denied. Once you clear the 90-day mark, you still must prove to the government that the relationship is legitimate, but there will not be a presumption of immigration fraud. The application process for this case will include filing Forms I-130 and I-485.

 

3. Receive employer sponsorship

 

Many students often seek employment through CPT (Curriculum Practical Training) or OPT (Optical Practical Training) while studying in the United States. If you find an employer willing to sponsor you for a green card, this could be done through an EB2 or an EB3 employment-based green card. EB2 visas are for people who receive an offer for a job that requires an advanced degree and holding that degree or a minimum of a bachelor's degree and five years of progressive job experience, people who possess exceptional ability in the sciences, business, or arts, or people who have a national interest waiver for the position. This process involves an employer filing Form I-140 and getting an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor. On the other hand, the EB3 visa is reserved for skilled workers, professionals, and certain other workers. Similarly, sponsoring employers must file Form I-140 and labor certification.

 

4. Become an investor

 

The EB5 visa is an investment visa that allows you to get a green card based on investing in a US business and hiring US workers. As a result, if you qualify, you could change your status from F1 to EB5, and then later adjust status to become a green card holder.  To qualify as an EB5 investor, you must 1) make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and 2) plan to create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for qualified US workers. One of the most common questions regarding the EB5 is how much money is required to satisfy the necessary investment amount. The current minimum investment amount to qualify for EB-5 is $800,000. To become a green card holder after changing status from a student visa to an EB5 visa, you will file an I-526 and I-485 to adjust your status.

 

5. Self-petition as a person of extraordinary ability

 

Another option to get a green card after a student visa is the EB1 visa for persons with extraordinary abilities. Because F1 visa holders are in the US gaining an education, they generally have the propensity to fit into one of the categories of people that are eligible for an EB1. These categories are (1) outstanding professors and researchers, (2) people with extraordinary abilities in arts, science, business, athletics, or education, and (3) executive managers who have worked at a foreign branch of a US company for the past 3 years.  The EB1 visa is unique because an applicant can either self-petition or they can find a job in their field with an employer willing to sponsor them. Evidence to show you meet the requirements for an EB1 includes, but is not limited to, published papers or research in your field which has been recognized in journals or the media. To get a green card based on an EB1, you must have an approved I-526 and file to adjust status with an I-485.

 

Schedule a Free Consultation 

 

My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.  If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.

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Michael Ashoori Headshot

Michael Ashoori, Esq.

President of Ashoori Law

I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.

Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped thousands of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.

Got a question? Send me an email.