Q&A: Can permanent resident petition for girlfriend ? (7/12/11)
Question Detail: I am an immgrant.My gf will visit me here.I want to propose and sponsor her. Can she stay here while I am sponsoring her? I am a greencard holder only. I want to surprise my GF and marry her when she come here for a visit. Can I sponsor her and her kid from previous relationship and ask her to stay here while I am sponsoring them? Do she need leave the country after I marry her? How much it will cost me to hire a lawyer? How long is the process?
Answer: You will have to marry her first. Then you can file I-130 visa petition. However, she and her child cannot legally stay here waiting for the visa number to become current, which may take 3-4 years. She must leave the US before her I-94 expires. If she can find other independent way to stay, such as H-1 visa, that will be fine. Overstaying her visa in the US may subject her to removal proceedings. On the other hand, if you later become US citizen, she will be able to adjust her status to permanent resident even she overstayed her visa.