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10 relatively honest ways to stay in the USA (3, 4 ways - marriage, study)



The “Forum” dealt with the most popular ways of becoming an American or obtaining a residence permit in the United States.

A list of all ten ways see here. The first two ways see there. This time - marriage and study.

3. Marry an American / marry an American

To suit: all

How long to get: 6 months - 2 years

Difficulty level: average

How much is: from $ 1500 to $ 10000

It is important to know:
- a good lawyer is needed;
- a lot of paperwork;
- since 2013, marriage is considered not only a union between a man and a woman, but also between same-sex spouses, the procedure is the same. Such marriages give the right to enjoy immigration benefits to the full, but not in all states;
- the future husband / wife must earn at least $ 20 per year. If the earnings are less, you need to look for a guarantor.

Stages of the procedure for a foreign bride or groom:

· I-129F petition

· Interview in the US consulate

· K-1 visa (bride / groom)

· body check

· SSN social number

· marriage

· Temporary green card

· Green card

· Citizenship

I-129F petition for K-1 visa (bride / groom) must be filed personally by a US citizen through the official website Department US internal security. There are no quantitative quotas for this document, in contrast to the same work visas that are issued in limited quantities. The term for consideration of a petition is from four months.

New York immigration lawyer Yuras Zyankovich points out that there are two other scenarios: if the marriage was concluded in advance, then the husband / wife of a US citizen can apply for a K-3 visa (spouse visa). He / she will receive a green card upon arrival in the USA. All interviews are conducted at the consulate, and upon arrival, the green card is sent by mail. According to him, "if the marriage is concluded in the United States, then the green card can be obtained without leaving the country and without applying for a visa."


Yuras Zinkovich. Photo: from the personal archive.

After approval petitions need to go on job interview to the US consulate in the homeland of the bride or groom. A K-1 visa allows a foreigner to enter the US legally and enter into a marriage within 90 days. At this time also allowed to work. After marriage, you must send to the immigration service in the same USCIS department Green Card Issue. The next step will be interview with an immigration officer. Suspicion can cause: different addresses of residence, the desire to marry too quickly after dating, a big age difference. If the officers suspect deception, they will have to undergo separate interviews in different rooms, answering detailed questions about every trivial matter. A lawyer may be present during the interview.

“The questions are multifaceted, from food preferences to sex preferences, although they never ask about sex in the presence of a lawyer,” shares ELizaveta Samorukov, an immigration lawyer from Florida. According to her, the questions are not difficult for those who live in a real marriage. The interview turns out to be difficult for those who decided to deceive the state, namely, to enter into a fictitious marriage. According to USCIS statistics, about 75% of marriages with foreigners are fictitious. “Sham marriage is a federal crime and can be punished with five years in prison, a $ 250 fine, or both,” warns Zyankovich.


Elizaveta Samorukov. Photo: from the personal archive

Initially, the green card is issued for two years. “According to statistics, this is exactly how much it takes to check the relationship. If the test of time is passed, the green card is issued for ten years and then you can apply for citizenship, ”says Samorukova.

Three months before expiration “Two year green card” need to apply to “Ten year green card”it does not automatically happen. A lot of people are punctured on this: after receiving a two-year green card, they stop collecting documents confirming marriage (for example, general accounts, photos, certificates from neighbors). Then it is time to file a petition for a permanent green card, and they quickly begin to collect something. A certain percentage of people do not pass this stage. In this case, you have to undergo a second interview in the immigration service. Failure means that the green card will be taken away.

According to Samorukova, marriage is the fastest and cheapest way to obtain a green card with a claim for citizenship. In addition, it serves as a kind of indulgence. “A person can be illegal in a country for a very long time. And marriage is the only way of immigration that forgives illegal stay in the United States for an unlimited amount of time, ”the lawyer clarifies.

The history of registration of a traditional marriage, for love, is described above. We are not giving examples here - there are many of them. Another thing is a sham marriage or when the partners are same-sex. "Forum" does not indicate the names of the heroes for reasons of their safety.

Fictitious marriage is very popular among compatriots as a way to get a green card, but it is often expensive and dangerous, and sometimes it can also end in blackmail, physical injury and mental illness. On average, a foreigner pays $ 10 for marriage to a fictitious spouse. In New York, the rates are higher - $ 000 - 35. Fictitious spouses become solely for the sake of money. It should be understood that the above amounts for America are not large, so usually people with low incomes, drug or alcohol problems, who are ready to go for violations of the law, checks and paperwork for several years for the sake of money. Irina, 000, a doctor from St. Petersburg, experienced all of the above “charms” of a fictitious marriage. Girlfriends found a candidate for husbands. Before coming to America, the “young people” were connected via Skype, where they discussed all the details every day. Irina also paid for the arrival of her future husband to Russia, where they took joint photographs and even met relatives. “We were well prepared, so everything went almost perfect before the wedding, but right after I went to hell,” Irina recalls. According to the woman, blackmail, sexual abuse and constant scandals have become a part of her daily life. The new American husband threatened to put Irina in jail if she complained about him. The fictitious marriage lasted four years, costing Irina tens of thousands of dollars in compensation and nervous breakdowns. The divorce dragged on for another two years.

4. Go to study.

To suit: all

How long to get: from 1 to 3 months

Difficulty level: just

How much is: from free if received a grant to $ 60 000 per year

It is important to know:
- you have to really learn;
- a visa gives the right to stay in the country, but not a green card or citizenship;
- there are significant restrictions on the ability to work, the most realistic is to get an internship that is low (or in no way) paid;

It is impossible to get a green card for studies, but for many it is a great way to legally temporarily stay in the United States for up to 8 years, make contacts and try to “figure it out on the spot”.
English language schools are considered the most affordable and easiest way to obtain a student visa. Not all schools can issue such visas - authorization from the US Immigration and Naturalization Service is required. In New York, Forum has found two such schools that can exchange a tourist visa for a student visa.

At school Alcc the author was asked to fill out the l-20 form required to obtain an F-1 student visa, determine the level of English proficiency and pay for the studies. You can start from the elementary level, but to maintain the visa status, you will have to attend classes regularly, study at least 18 hours a week, otherwise the status will be canceled. At ALCC, a month costs about $ 600. For those served from abroad - $ 890. The price depends on the level and the selected schedule. This type of visa allows you to earn extra money, but no more than twenty hours a week and only on the campus of an educational institution - work off campus is prohibited. In some rare and exceptional cases, it is possible to apply for a work permit, but this is less than 1% of all cases.

At another school - Bell Language School's, we were warned that it is possible to change the type of visa to a student one no later than a month before the end of the period of stay on a tourist visa.
The F-1 visa is issued to study at accredited colleges and universities, private high schools, and to study English at accredited schools. The M-1 visa implies professional training in the United States. Details are available on the Education USA website. Student visas are canceled if studies are interrupted, but there is a grace period during which, if another school is found, the immigration service turns a blind eye to the violation. Usually it is 60 days, five months is a practical maximum.

Oliver Wyman partner and bestselling business author Adrian Slyvotsky advises all compatriots to try their luck at work and study in the United States. According to him, specialists in the field of IT, engineering and chemistry are most in demand now. According to the expert, to achieve the realization of the American dream you need to “change your lifestyle and spend on your development (reading, communication and development of professional skills) for 20 hours more.”


Adrian Slyvotsky. Photo:

Historian Irina Vushko did just that, but it took years. She came to the United States to attend graduate school at prestigious Yale University and received a scholarship from the government. Irina recalls that she had no particular problems with the paperwork. “The standard procedure is to collect documents for for this visa, interview and relocation. Studying in the USA is much more difficult than paperwork for it, ”jokes Vushko. However, after graduation, the girl had to leave the United States (her student visa was valid only for the duration of her studies). She tried to look for work for another four years, entering as a tourist.


Irina Vushko. Photo: from the personal archive

Three years ago, Irina finally got her way and received an offer to teach at the New York Hunter College. Now this prestigious university has already issued Irina citizenship.

After graduating from college or university (but not a language school), you can apply for OPT. In this case, a work permit is issued for up to one year to consolidate the knowledge gained in practice. Many graduates use this opportunity to appeal to the employer and convince him to sponsor them for a work visa or a green card for the work category.

Read the following materials in other ways:

1. Win the lottery

2. Ask for political asylum

5. To get a job

6. Invest or open joint business

7. Reunite with family

8. Go to serve in the us army

9. Become a witness in a high-profile case

10. Stay illegal and wait for amnesty

Be sure to visit our groupwhere you can ask for advice and share experiences.

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