Just wanted to add an update to this thread after having finally completed the process today (ARC will be arriving in 14 days):
We attempted to get the JFRV in Macau last week but they refused to accept that the USA did not have a Marriage Registration system and said that Americans have produced a registration paper before (my wife got into a slightly heated argument with them over this). After more research on AIT’s website (see “Marriage and Divorce” FAQ), it looks like what has probably been produced is another affidavit stating that the marriage is legal and recognized in the USA (not exactly sure what it has to say and if you’re going that route you’d probably want to ask what it has to say before dropping another $50USD).
So instead what I ended up getting was a “Tourist Visa for Visiting Relatives” that had my wife’s name on it and was around $220USD (for rush processing). When we had called previously they had said that it can be done in 2 days (submit the morning of 1 day and pick up the afternoon of the next) but then once we got there they said the minimum is 3 days. After some more arguing / pleading they were able to get it to us the next morning – but be warned that you may not be as lucky.
Coming back in on the tourist visa, I had to ask the immigration officer to please use the visa instead of the visa-exempt stamp he was about to give me – I’d also recommend asking and not just assuming it will be used because he missed mine.
Then heading down to MOFA in Kaohsiung, it looked like they needed the following documents (your spouse will need to be present for the first time I believe, but not the renewals):
- A form that is available at MOFA that requires a passport picture that just basically claims that you want a resident visa (forgot the exact name of the form)
- Health Check (no copy required)
- Wife’s current rental agreement + copy (we live together but she’s the only one on the lease)
- Copy of Wife’s ID card (and they also wanted to examine the real one before handing it back)
- FBI Background Check + Translated and Authenticated into Chinese (this is not required if apply at an embassy abroad but is required if applying at MOFA for some reason). My wife did the translation and then we headed down to a local notary office to get a stamp on it (highly recommend this place, was $750NTD and about 15min)
- They did not need a copy of the marriage certificate or anything – maybe it’s already in the system? Or maybe it’s because it was needed to get the original Tourist Visa for Visiting Relatives?
- No AIT Affidavit was required when applying at MOFA
- And then it was about $3200NTD to order the ARC which should hopefully arrive in about 14 days
Overall it was much more work that I was originally thinking it would be – but I have a feeling getting my wife a USA green card when we’re ready to move back to the states will be more of a pain…