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US/Canada... citizenship?


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Not sure how to title this... or how to most efficiently search the topic. (I tried a few terms but couldn't find what I was looking for). With so many US and Canadian brides on here I'm assuming someone is in the a similar situation and can help...


I am a US citizen and my fiance is a Canadian citizen who is here on a student visa. We plan on staying in the states after graduation (May 09) and having him become a US citizen. However, we are not 100% sure on how to proceed. We are thinking about hiring a lawyer to help, but wondering it is necessary (we would like to save the money if possible).


Our understanding is that after we get married he will become a permanent resident... and then can begin the naturalization/citizenship process which will take a few years. Is that correct?


We were also planning on doing a court house wedding before our actual ceremony in Jamaica to avoid any other complications. (Even though we will probably do it no matter what... does anyone know if just being married in Jamaica would be a problem with his citizenship process?)


Lastly, my mom and I were talking and she asked if it would be better for him and his tuition costs if we did the court house ceremony now as opposed to right before we go to Jamaica. (Right now he is paying basically 'out of state' tution which is about doulbe the 'in state' rate and since he is not a citizen is not able to apply for the normal student loans). As we start a rotation process this summer... we will have 3 more full term semesters yet to pay, so it could be significant chunk of money. Does anyone know if we are correct in our thinking that: if we were to get married and he were to become a permanent resident, he would be able to pay in-state tution?


Sorry I know that may be a bit confusing... but as you can tell we are a bit confused as well. Any thoughts/experiences would be great!


In summary we are looking for advice on: immigration lawyers, US citizenship process, court-house vs Jamaica for citizenship process


Thanks in advance!

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In regards to your FI immigrating to the US, I would not hire an immigration lawyer. They will charge you big bucks for something you can do yourself. I'd only hire an immigration lawyer if he didn't fall under any of the categories you can immigrate under, but because you'll be married you can sponsor him as a relative and it's actually pretty easy. (My ex was American and we looked into getting me citizenship as well...trust me, immigration lawyers are NOT the way to go!)


You'd need to fill out a petition to sponsor an alien relative...because he already has a US Visa I don't think he'd have many problems being approved. You need to fill out a form I-130 which you can find here;




The instructions are here;




Submit that with your $355 fee and you're good to go. Like I said, because he already has a Visa he shouldn't face many problems. Just make sure you're married before you go through with this or it will be A LOT harder. Please don't waste your money on an immigration lawyer unless he is denied citizenship!

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Thank you! I figured with the number of people who become citizens... it couldn't be too hard and really didn't want to spend money on a lawyer. We went to talk to a foreign student counselor at school and she immediately pointed us in that direction. (I think she just didn't want to really have to deal with us).


And just to clarify... we do that petition AFTER we get married. Do you know if there is any problems/difficulties getting married at the courthouse with him being a non-citizen?

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I don't think he needs another visa or anything to get married in the states, I think you should just be able to apply for a marriage license and you're ok. If he were still living in Canada you would need to apply for a fiance visa on his behalf, but because he's already in the US I don't think that applies.


I'm not 100% sure on how that all works though - I'm thinking once he graduates his student visa would be over, so you may have to apply for the fiance visa after all.


I think your best bet in that case would be to call Immigration and ask what your best course of action would be (they're usually pretty helpful - of all the people I spoke to I only ran into 1 or 2 a-holes who weren't willing to give me advice!)

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