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Visa issues - Brit trying to learn in the US.. with a US g/f too...

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Hi guys,


I have tried to search here and all over the net for conclusive answers to my dilemma, I hope you can help and thanks in advance.


This is my situation:


I met my girlfriend (a US Citizen) whilst we were both traveling around the world for a year. We spent the rest of our travels together and she came back to the UK to see Europe. We have been together for about a year a half. She is now moving back to the US (Las Vegas) in March to start work again.


I have always wanted to fly helicopters and I have been saving to train in the US. By August 2008 I should be ready financially to move to the States (probably Guidance, Prescott, AZ) and start my training. BUT I/we have some choices to make:


Option A>

Apply to Guidance Helicopters for a visa, via the academic institution Embry Riddle, who apparently would issue a F-1 Visa. Then do my training, maybe do an academic course too (might be compulsory to get a visa) and then hopefully work for up to 12 months on my F-1 visa as I read: "F-1 students are also eligible for off-campus employment in the form of Optional Practical Training. OPT allows students to work full-time for 12 months following graduation if the work relates to the students' degree specialisation." And probably get married to my g/f at some point...Unless that would invalidate my F-1 visa and stop my training/work...


Option B>

Apply for a K-1 visa as me and my g/f see our future together. Then once the k-1 is approved (can take 9+ months), get married in the states, apply for a social security number and what ever else I need to be able to legally work/study. Then start my flight program at Guidance without any worry/need for a visa to study and work to get my instructor hours afterwards...Not sure if I can visit her in the 9 months before the visa is issued though :-(


Both options give rise to some questions:


* Would I only get an F-1 visa if I joined an academic program at Embry?

* Can I work on a F-1 visa as an instructor after my training?

* Would the F-1 12 months OPT employment start when I finish the academic course or the flight training?

* Is one option much better than the other? Or is there another way to train, get experience and be in the same country as my life partner?


Thanks again for any help you can offer...



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Try www.gg-pilot.com he is a good guy, and very knowledgeable on the Visa issue. Also just some friendly advice I would not recommend using the term "life partner" when describing your girlfriend when here in the states. It sometimes has a different meaning here, and you may get some funny looks. Best of luck to you.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Don't you get citizenship or something if you are married to a US citizen?


No, you won't. By marrying your girlfriend, you will get a 2 year green card. After 2 years you go through a test to see if the marriage was a sham just to get you a green card (see that awful film "green card" with gerard depadieu). This may be ok if the marriage is stable. 2 years can be a long time.


My recommendation is to speak to Sam at Bristow Academy. She has all the good advice. Believe me - getting a green card via anything else but marriage requires you to be very very skillful, important or both. You'll need a good lawyer too, and if you PM me I'll give you the name of a great one.

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I am a European just like you and I have a greencard since i am married to my US Citizen ;)


It took me 2 months to get my greencard. We were already married (got married in Houston) and were living in the Netherlands when i applied.


My greencard (it actually has some green on it) is valid for 2 years but all you have to do to get rid of the 2 year part is apply for removal of the condition (form I-751). The nyou are a US resident whether your relation blooms or crashes (hope the former).


I am not aware of any "tests" to check if your marriage is real or fake.


If you have any questions pm me.





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Hey mate,


Sounds like you've got a plan going on. Don't know about the options you've mentioned, but is a similar story to me.


I'm from Australia and met a US girl. The way I did it, and the way you may have to is as follows :


1. Applied to www.flightschoolcandidates.gov for permission to train (you will need to apply for your private training, instrument training and any multi engine training you do). It's $130 each time. You will also need to liaise with your intended school to get a form (I-20 I think it i called, from memory) to take for your interview for a US visa, along with proof of $$$ for training.

2. Applied to US embassy in Sydney for M-1 visa.

3. Came to the US as a student, started training immediately. Got married 4 months later and applied for green card and work permit. Work permit came 6 months later, have my immigration (green card) interview this week.


It was all a pretty straightforward process (but none of it seems that way while you are doing it). There's a bunch of paperwork involved though. I thought about the fiance visa but heard too many negative things about the process involved, and it was too restrictive. The M-1 visa allows you to leave and return at whim, so long as it is a multi entry visa, which was useful when we went on our honeymoon. I'm at Bristow Academy.


I hope this has been of help, you're welcome to PM or email me for more info.


Good luck!




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