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Thread: J1 overstayed about to marry US citizen.

  1. #1

    J1 overstayed about to marry US citizen.

    Hello everyone, this is something that has been bothering me for a while now.

    I came to the US under a J1 visa in december/15 to work for about 3 months and then leave and since I was enrolled in college in my country I just came here to improve my english, and I had already a job settled with a agency. However before actually coming to the US, I convinced an online friend from a gaming community to join me into an adventure to Utah and enjoy the snowboarding season! We knew each other for a few years but only online, but I knew he wasnt going to kill me, so I asked if he wanted to join me, share housing, expenses, maybe buy a car and all the stuff. He is from NY and since he was unemployed at the time, he thought it was a fun idea. We found a roommate, however we told him we were a couple and was just looking for jobs (we never told him I was an immigrant for I was scared he wouldnt agree on having me around, I know it sounds mean and I do regret that but later on we told him and he was cool about it). We were sharing the same room (we were paying only 450usd a month which was extremely cheap compared to some friends that were living in near towns), we had inflated beds and as soon as we got there we made a deal, Id pay for rent and he would get us a car. I was working, he was snowboarding and looking for jobs, we started doing things together more often until the day we actually made out (being away from your family around Christmas time ***** lol) and after that we started hanging out. We were always together and we fell in love. We were together every time, and he made my time abroad so fun. He then asked me to be his girlfriend, and time passed and it was time for me to come home. I never did. Past the 3 months, I had 1 month to stay for vacation, he asked me to meet his parents, we crossed the country on a 99 nissan, visited so many states and when I got to meet his family I had a blast. They are the most loving and caring family I ever been part of, even more than my own. For a whole month I lived with them, and then again when it was time to leave, I never left. His parents offered me to stay at their house as long as we needed. September first, after dating for 8 months, my boyfriend asked me to marry him and I said yes! Now this is where the nightmare starts.

    We know we have to file for forms, for adjustment of status and all of that. My 180 days overstay will end in October 14, we dont know if we should rush and apply now or wait until we are settled and have our own place and risk going over these 180 days and be better settled (we are still working on income and affidavit of support).

    Also I am being super paranoid about our marriage being seen as fraud or getting my visa viewed as fraud since I came here and stayed. What if it gets denied because they think there was a visa fraud? How can we confront that? And what do with the 3 year bar?
    I really dont want to be away from him, I have been living with him and this family for the past year of my life, his mother and father have accepted me as their own, I have enormous affection for his grandparents and sister, and Im certain I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
    Im scared and desperate. Please, what should we do? What are the actions to be taken if our marriage gets denied? What can happen if I overstayed? I have read every website but there is no exact detailed steps on what to do in our specific case.

    My fiancee thinks Im overthinking and overreacting, but I just dont want to spend time apart from him. Having to go back to my country, or to spend 3 years away is way too long.
    Please, help.

    ps: I forgot to mention my visa doesnt require that I leave the US for 2 years. It says on my I-94.
    Last edited by Akm; 09-29-2016 at 09:25 PM.

  2. #2
    First, you only have the 3-year / 10-year unlawful presence ban if you accrue 180 days / 1 year of "unlawful presence", and then leave the US. If you don't leave the US, you will never have this ban. Even if you had years of unlawful presence, if you are still in the US, you could apply for Adjustment of Status any time.

    Second, you likely don't have, and won't have, any "unlawful presence" because you only automatically start accruing "unlawful presence" if you stay past the date on your I-94. J-1 are admitted for "D/S" on their I-94, not a date. So you do not ever automatically start accruing "unlawful presence" no matter how long you stay. (You could also start accruing unlawful presence when 1) a final order was made against you in an immigration court proceeding, or 2) you apply for a benefit to USCIS and are denied with them ruling you out of status. Neither of these have happened.) And anyway, as discussed earlier, "unlawful presence" (which you don't have, but if you did) doesn't matter anyway if you stay in the US and apply for Adjustment of Status. It's only if you leave the US that it matters.

    There is fraud only if you lied to the visa officer or immigration officer at entry, or your marriage is fake. From your description, there wouldn't have been any reason for you to lie about anything on the way here, so the only way you can be denied is if they don't believe your marriage is genuine, and that is very unlikely in your situation.

  3. #3
    Newacct is right, but you still need to consult an immigration attorney on adjustment of status.

  4. #4
    This first thing you need to do is go see a good immigration lawyer who can advise you. I am a psychotherapist who writes psychological reports as an expert witness in immigration cases. The lawyer is the one who can determine whether or not such a report can help in your individual situation or not, but you may wish to ask your attorney if you need either or both of the following: 1.) a report from a mental health professional to show that if you are deported (the current term is 'removed' ) from the U.S., this will cause extreme hardship to your U.S. citizen spouse and 2.) a report from a mental health professional that will show that your marriage is 'bona fide' (real). I have written many such reports for my clients and often they have been successful. My advise to you is to get professional advice and help, first from a lawyer and then if the lawyer so advises, from a mental health professional who specializes in this area. Good luck, and if you have further questions, feel free to contact me at Phyllis Gould, LCSW

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