F1 to Green CardChanging from F1 to Green Card allows international students like you to stay permanently in the United States. There are 5 ways for you to go from F1 to Green Card status.

  1. Self-petitioning from F1 to Green Card
  2. Obtaining employer sponsorship
  3. Changing status to a dual intent visa
  4. Investing in an EB-5 visa
  5. Marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

Transitioning from F1 to Green Card gives you the right to live, work, and study in the USA without restrictions. EB5 BRICS has successfully helped many F-1 visa holders and their families gain US permanent residency through investment immigration. 

How to change from F1 to Green Card?

These are the 5 ways for international students like you to change from F1 to Green Card.

1. Self-petitioning for an EB-1 Green Card

The EB-1 visa is an employment-based green card that does not require employer sponsorship. You can apply for an EB1 visa to go from F1 to Green Card if you have extraordinary ability in the arts, science, education, business, or athletics. 

You must be a recipient of an internationally or nationally recognized award such as the Pulitzer Prize or meet at least 3 of the eligibility requirements for an EB-1 green card. 

Below are some of the eligibility criteria for an EB1 Visa.

  • Membership in associations that require outstanding achievements.
  • Substantial contributions to your field.
  • Authorship of scholarly articles.
  • Command of high salary or remuneration.
  • Published material about you in major professional or trade publications.

A subcategory of the EB-1 visa also allows outstanding researchers or professors to self-petition from F1 to Green Card. 

2. Obtaining employer sponsorship

One of the popular routes for transitioning from F1 to Green Card is through employer sponsorship. You need to find a qualified U.S. sponsoring employer who files a labor certification and Form I-140 immigrant petition for you. This allows you to adjust your status to permanent residency through Form I-485.

Here are the common immigrant categories you can apply for to change from F1 to Green Card through employment sponsorship.

EB-2 Green Card

The EB-2 visa is an employment-based green card for professionals with advanced degrees such as a master’s or doctorate, persons with exceptional ability, or persons with a National Interest Waiver (NIV). A national interest waiver enables you to switch from F-1 to Green Card without the need for employer sponsorship. 

EB-3 Green Card

The EB-3 visa is an employment-based green card for professionals with a bachelor’s degree, skilled workers, or unskilled workers. All EB3 green card applicants must go through labor certification and employer sponsorship when going from F1 to Green Card. 

3. Changing status to a dual intent visa

You can also go through an indirect path by changing your status to a dual intent visa such as H-1B. With an H-1B visa, you can work full-time in the USA while you adjust your status to permanent residency. 

As an F-1 student, you’re able to obtain work experience in the US through practical training programs. Through these, you can find an H1B employer to sponsor your change of status to a dual intent visa and then a green card.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is a type of off-campus employment for F-1 visa students who are completing their academic studies. Your CPT work must be related to your program of study.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is another off-campus employment for F1 students. OPT can be done during or after finishing your academic program.

4. Investing in an EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa is an immigrant category for foreign investors. Getting a Green Card from F1 through EB5 does not require employer or family sponsorship. You only need to satisfy the minimum investment and job creation requirements to get an EB 5 Conditional Green Card. 

We at EB5 BRICS have successfully helped F-1 visa holders and their families secure US permanent residence through EB-5 visa investment. 

5. Marrying a U.S. citizen or permanent resident

F-1 visa students who are spouses of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents are eligible for a marriage green card. Your spouse files the Form I-130 immigrant petition on your behalf. After this, you can adjust your status from F1 to Green Card with an I-485 petition.

What is an F1 Visa?

The F-1 visa is a nonimmigrant visa for foreign students in academic programs in the USA. As a nonimmigrant visa holder, an F-1 student like you can only stay in the United States for the duration of your studies. However, applying for a US Green Card allows you to stay permanently in the USA. Our F1 Visa Guide has all the information you need about studying in America.

What is a Green Card?

A Green Card is an identification document signifying your status as a permanent resident of the United States. With a green card, you and your family gain the right to live, work, and study indefinitely in the USA. Check our Green Card Guide for more information.

How long does it take to change from F1 to Green Card?

Transitioning from F1 to Green Card can take between 18 months and 5 years. The exact processing time for an F-1 to Green Card application depends on the immigrant category you’re applying for.

What are the benefits of changing from F1 to Green Card?

The primary benefit of changing from F1 to Green Card is having the right to live permanently in the USA without restrictions. You can work full-time for any employer anywhere in the United States with a green card. You and your children also qualify for lower tuition rates as permanent residents. 

FAQs about F1 to Green Card Process

What is the best option to obtain a Green Card from F1 for international students?

The top options for obtaining a Green Card from F-1 are employer sponsorship, marriage-based green card, and investment immigration.

Can I stay in the US while transitioning from F1 to Green Card?

Yes, as long as you have filed an I-485 petition to adjust status you can remain in the U.S. while waiting for Green Card approval. Additionally, you can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and travel document as an adjustment of status applicant.

Can students on F1 apply for Green Card?

Yes, despite being a nonimmigrant visa, you have options to stay in the US even after you graduate from your F1 program. The US is welcoming to international students and allows for permanent residency applications through employment, marriage, or investment.