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Author Topic: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?  (Read 4706 times)

3ML

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Does anyone know how easy this would be? Could my girlfriend get a work Visa in the states while I'm at law school? Would we need to be engaged? Married? Does she have to have a job first?

Basically she wants to go to Med School in the states, but take a year off and work first so her last year's grades go out with her application. She'll also use that time to study for the MCAT. But without a work Visa she can't work in the states. Does anyone know how this would work?

allyreese

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2005, 05:52:59 PM »
If she's just your girlfriend she will need her employer to sponsor her, depending on the kind of work she does and the kind of place she wants to work, that can be either very easy or very difficult.  If she can't find a place that will sponsor her H-1 visa, you can get engaged or married... if it's just an engagement I believe there's a time limit of like 6 mo that they give you before it expires and you would have to get married - if you get married (new hubby and i have just gone through this) you file some paperwork saying that you want to sponsor her based on marriage... the only prob is you're supposed to be making enough money to support her (HHS says 125% of the poverty level) and I'm not sure if you're going to be pulling that off while you're a law student but if she makes enough money and you've lived together for 6 mo before you file your forms, then her income could be included in that calculation...

Honestly, the easiest way for her to stay would be student status I believe, but that doesn't seem like it fits her plans...

It's all a pain in the ass and I hope it works out for you... feel free to ask me if you have any questions...

3ML

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2005, 06:08:07 PM »
If she's just your girlfriend she will need her employer to sponsor her, depending on the kind of work she does and the kind of place she wants to work, that can be either very easy or very difficult.  If she can't find a place that will sponsor her H-1 visa, you can get engaged or married... if it's just an engagement I believe there's a time limit of like 6 mo that they give you before it expires and you would have to get married - if you get married (new hubby and i have just gone through this) you file some paperwork saying that you want to sponsor her based on marriage... the only prob is you're supposed to be making enough money to support her (HHS says 125% of the poverty level) and I'm not sure if you're going to be pulling that off while you're a law student but if she makes enough money and you've lived together for 6 mo before you file your forms, then her income could be included in that calculation...

Honestly, the easiest way for her to stay would be student status I believe, but that doesn't seem like it fits her plans...

It's all a pain in the ass and I hope it works out for you... feel free to ask me if you have any questions...

That is a pain, because I have no idea what law school I want to go to, she hasn't written the MCATs yet and therefore can't do med school. I'm not familiar with the terminology you used, but how hard would it be to get an employer to sponsor her? For example, she has an uncle who owns a medium sized law firm in California. Could he sponsor her for the summer, have her be his secretary and then, puff, she quits and moves somewhere with me? Would she still be entitled to work?

For that matter, could he sponsor me so I could work for his firm summer before 1L? If we were engaged, would that grant her a work Visa? What if we were married?

I just want to confirm my original post was clear. I am a Canadian and so is she, we do not have dual citizenship (actually she does with Britain, but that's useless here).

allyreese

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2005, 06:19:48 PM »
If that uncle can get you both jobs that sounds like the best place to start.  When a company sponsors somebody's visa it costs them some money, and often it's hard to find a place who wants you so much that they'll pay for the paperwork and what not...

As for marriage, I'm not sure how it works if you're also here on a student visa, but I'm pretty sure you would be able to sponsor her somehow...  Things have gotten a little more complicated recently with the INS but when hubby and I did it earlier this year, the week after we filed the paperwork they gave him a temporary work permit that is renewable as long as they're processing our application, which they still are...

Anyway, go to www.uscis.gov and search for "marriage" and "student" and "fiance" and read through the forms and crap, that'll help you understand your options... they have a 1-800 number also I believe, but they aren't very helpful...

Also, ask that uncle whether his firm could maybe sponsor one or both of you... if they can this is the easiest way to go because they'll probably handle all of the paperwork for you... and I don't think it matters if you're only working there for a year, my hubby only had his first H-1 (work visa) for about 14 months before he changed jobs and we got married...

3ML

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2005, 06:51:52 PM »
This looks like it will be a huge headache...

DodgerLaw

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2005, 07:00:52 PM »
Damn bacon-eaters!  ;)

_____

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2005, 07:20:24 PM »
This looks like it will be a huge headache...
It is.  (I just did this for my husband who was here in F-1 status and now has a green card...)

Your main problem is that neither of you are US citizens or permanent residents.

What does this mean?

Option A
You get an F-1 student visa for law school, she is not your wife, therefore she is no one and has no right to follow you to the US, much less work there.

Option B
You get married, you an F-1 student visa, she gets an F-2 visa (a dependent of someone on an F-1 visa), which means she can follow you, but in that status, she can neither study nor work.  (IE To go to med school, she'd have to petition a change of status to F-1 for herself, having a med school acceptance in hand).

Neither of these options is very pretty.

Problems I see with the Fiancee thing:
Only US citizens are allowed to petition visas for Fiances. That's not you, so you're SOL.  (IE If you want her to come to the US because of you, she MUST be your wife.)

Furthermore, the problems I see with the Uncle thing:
If she gets an H-1 visa to work with her Uncle, and then STOPS working there, her visa expires and she has to go back home.  So the H-1 from the Uncle is most likely NOT going to solve your problems.  (Of course, you could have here work there while she's applying to Med School, etc, but she couldn't stop working there until her change to F-1 comes through.)

That said, there is another loop-hole, IF you can find a way to exploit it.

The rules of the F-1 student visa say that, upon GRADUATION from a program, a student can petition employment for up to 1 year.  This is called OPT.

The easiest way to exploit this loophole is usually to come to the US, enroll in an English school as an F-1 student, graduate (the programs often take as little as 6 months), and then take your year of OPT.

Your problem? You're Canadian. You already speak English.  No one is going to give you (or your girlfriend) an F-1 visa to study English.

Bottom line: she can either marry you, and follow you as an F-2, or you can just spend the year apart while she does the med school app thing.

Either way, you'll probably end up separated anyhow.  You never know where you'll get in for law school, nor where she'll get in for med school...

Good luck, and let me know if you have any further questions...

3ML

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2005, 07:38:38 PM »
Ouch, that pretty much kills all hope. What about her coming as a student then. Is there something like the one year masters programs we have here? I know that there are few terminal masters programs, but is there some kind of school she could do?

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2005, 07:43:49 PM »
Ouch, that pretty much kills all hope. What about her coming as a student then. Is there something like the one year masters programs we have here? I know that there are few terminal masters programs, but is there some kind of school she could do?

There are plenty of masters programs she could apply to, depending on her background.  Of course, depending on her background, the masters degrees for which she would be a likely candidate may last more than 1 year.  You'd have to check that out.

If she were to be accepted to such a master's program, whether one year or two, she would then have to apply for an F-1 visa, just like you will have to, and then--once she graduates from her program--she could work for up to a year. But that still requires finding someone willing to employ you (IE jump through all the immigration hoops that they don't have to jump through for US citizens and residents).

So even if she does come as a student, you still have the same problem: you don't know where either of you is going to end up.

3ML

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Re: Significant Other Getting A Work Visa while I'm in Law School?
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2005, 07:53:35 PM »
anod our solution to that has been to look at cities with numerous law schools and med schools (NYC, DC, Boston, Chicago mainly). I'd really like to stay down in the states after graduation (coming back to Canada to practice is a huge pain).

I just spoke with her, she's obviously not too happy about this. Really at a loss as to what to do, she's even talking about giving up on medicine and writing the LSATs and going in to law (would not suit her at all).

This is not making me happy at all...