I have recently gotten engaged to a green card holder. We are making plans for our wedding, very likely to happen this year. However, the following questions arose: 1. Does the fact that I already hold another Master and a Ph.D. degrees accelerate my green card application? I understand that the backlog is of 5-6 years, but I wonder if my advanced education will assist my application. 2. My H-1B application last year was approved, but I did not use the visa, as I decided to go back to school for (yet!) another degree. Will the approval of the H-1B be looked at favorably, unfavorably, or will it not make a difference? 3. I am currently an F-1 holder. If I marry my fiance' this year, may I simply maintain my Visa independent of his? I am eligible to an OPT after I graduate (to happen this year or in mid-2010) and I am certain I will be able to obtain an H-1B afterwards. Therefore, I do not depend on my fiance' to keep a legal status in the country. Is it legal (or advisable) to keep my Immigration records separate from his? 4. How about when we file for taxes, after the wedding happens? May we file separately, or do we need to declare we are married?
1. Advanced degrees do not help in a family-based green card.
2. H-1 approval also does not help in the GC process.
3. Check with your international students office about the OPT part. This one is difficult for me to comment upon.
4. Whether or not you declare, if you are married then that is so. You must state that you are married if any immigration forms ask you. This is VERY important. Regarding taxes, check with a CPA. You do not want tax advice from a guy who barely passed his Federal Tax exam in law school.
If I were you, I would depend on my H-1, not OPT. The H-1 permits dual intent (Nonimmigrant and Immigrant) and is likely to be a strong visa for a person married to a green card holder