If someone is in the United States on a student visa how can he become a legal resident?

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Having a student visa means that you are legally in the U.S. They could change their student visa to a working visa (H1. After that they can apply for a green card and later apply for citizenship. Getting a green card can take years. Only after getting a green card they will be able to apply for citizenship. The process can become much easier if that person gets married with an American citizen. Then, it will be a question of months.
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Can someone with a student visa marry a legal alien resident and become a resident?

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details: i married a Frenchman who was here on a student visa. we submitted his residency paperwork but soon after decided to separate. the attorneys we've talked to said that