Green Card Question

Today, my wife and I went by to AIT to start the Green Card process for her, and I was quite suprised by what they told me. I want to see if it is true.

Basically, I thought the greencard process was going to be a complete nightmare and take a couple of years, but after doing a basic interview the gentleman at AIT told me since I have been in Taiwan less than a year (easy to prove domicile) we should receive her immigrant visa within the next 2-3 months. That is if everything goes well. After that he said we have 6 months to enter the states and withing 1-2 months from that time she will recieve her green card. Huh??

The gentleman seemed like he was very knowledgable, was very friendly, and had no problem answering any of our questions, but from everything I have heard I thought the process was much more difficult and lengthy in time. More like 2-3 years for her to receive her greencard, not 3-5 months.

Does this sound right to anyone else here that has went through this?? I want to make sure so I can set my expectations right?

Hey cw.jc,

As the spouse of a US citizen, your wife is what is referred to as a first preference immigrant visa applicant. Adjusting her status from non-immigrant to immigrant is quite simple and it does not take a long time.

The stories of long waits you have heard are probably for second and third and fourth preference immigrants. Those preferences all need to wait for an available visa, as they are limited yearly by quota, and the higher an immigrant’s preference the more likely he/she is to get a visa in any given year. Contrastingly, there is no quota and thus no limit for visas issued to spouses of US citizens… thus, there is very little wait.

When she enters the US she will receive a stamp in her passport that will enable her to live and work in the US until she receives her green card (permanent residency certificate). However, the permanent residency she receives will be a “conditional” permanent residency status. At the end of two years you and your wife must jointly file to remove the conditional status. Then, if after three years your wife has lived in the US for a period of 18 months, she will be eligible to apply for natuarlization (to become a US citizen).

Thanks Tigerman. I just needed the assurance, problem is now is we really have no desire to go back that soon (required to go back within six months after the visa is issued). We will probably wait a few months before we initiate the rest of the process.

Thanks Again

also, people who file for their spouses while in the united states have a much longer wait.

Another option if your wife already has a tourist/business visa already is to go to the US on that and then file for an adjustment of status. She cannot work until the paperwork is accepted and she cannot travel outside the US until the green card is issued (there is an immigration rule that any pending applications are abandoned if you leave the country, but there’s forms you can file to get around that). But if you just want to get her living with you in the US, that’s the fastest way.

The one catch is that the purpose of her travel cannot be for immigration. If she arrives in the US and says she intends to stay, they may chuck her out because she doesn’t have an immigrant visa. However, once she is there for a legitimate purpose under the visa, you can apply for the change of status and she will become an immigrant.

If you are not planning on staying in the US at this time, there is no need to apply now for a green card.

Being a spouse of a US citizen, your wife will have no problem ever getting a B-1/B-2 visa (business/tourist). These can be made valid for 6 month stays and can be multiple entry good for five years.

If she gets a green card now, and you do not intend to stay in the US, you will have to worry about maintaining the green card and re-entry permits and you’ll have to be remembering dates and stuff.

PM me if you want to talk about this further.

Good point. She will also have to file US income taxes with a green card for worldwide income, including Taiwan.

A few years ago I started the application process for my wife because we were planning on moving to the US, but plans changed and we abandoned the application because there was little benefit and lots of downside in her getting a green card with no solid plans to use it.

My wife and I had been married (in the US, but residing in Taiwan) for two years before we applied for her greencard. The folks down at AIT were shocked that we hadn’t applied sooner (from what they said, most people do it immediately). From the time we picked up the first documents until the process was finished w/ stamped passport in hand took us six weeks.

What about over a year? I’ve been in Taiwan almost 3 years now, and I just got married back in October to a Taiwanese gal. Am I excluded from this fast-track green card process?

[quote=“Tigerman”]Hey cw.jc,
When she enters the US she will receive a stamp in her passport that will enable her to live and work in the US until she receives her green card (permanent residency certificate). However, the permanent residency she receives will be a “conditional” permanent residency status. At the end of two years you and your wife must jointly file to remove the conditional status.[/quote]

Hmm. Is this always the case? I don’t recall anything about filing to have the conditional status removed after two years. We’ve been back here close to 5 years now…

This happened to a friend of mine. They had been married for 10 years and had 2 kids. Took them several months and thousands in attorney fees to gte it sorted out.

duplicate post

It is conditional for the first two years of marriage. If the foreign spouse gets the green card after being married for more than two years, it will not be a conditional one. If the green card is iissued before then, it is conditional until your two year anniversary.

Good point. She will also have to file US income taxes with a green card for worldwide income, including Taiwan.

A few years ago I started the application process for my wife because we were planning on moving to the US, but plans changed and [color=red]we abandoned the application because there was little benefit and lots of downside in her getting a green card with no solid plans to use it[/color].[/quote]

Little benefit? I’ve flown to the US with my wife three times and the 2d and 3d times it was a real hassle that my wife was traveling on a regular tourist visa. I went through the Citizen line in customs and she went through the Non-Citizen line. Their computers indicate that we’re married. The 1st time we were both at the front of lines that were close to each other, so the officer in her line asked where her husband was, she pointed at me, I waved, the officers said a few words back and forth and they let us through. The 2d and 3d times our lines were far apart and it took her over an hour to get through Customs, because after a couple of preliminary questions about her marriage and non-citizen status, they sent her to a separate immigration room where she had to wait in a long line, then answer many questions about her husband and her intent to apply for a green card etc. If we had a connecting flight to catch we would have missed it, but even without that it was a major hassle (in part because we’d just flown across the ocean and I was holding our baby and had to stand around for an hour waiting).

Additionally, every time China threatens Taiwan my wife tells me I better hurry up and get her immigrant visa. She’s afraid I’ll take the baby and leave without her, so she threatens to hide our passports.

As for the wife having to file a tax return in the US, I’m already filing a joint return in the US anyway, I believe, so I don’t think that will change, I think.

Anyway, I was very pleased to see the reports above about how easy the process is, because it looked like a pain in the ass to me. I just looked on the AIT website and found this info. Those of you who got visas for your respective wives, did you get a V visa? Was it really necessary to get all this paperwork (the handout AIT gave me required less)?

[quote]Immigration law provides three ways for you, a lawful permanent resident (LPR), to bring your spouse, children and sons/daughters to the United States. They are:

It is conditional for the first two years of marriage. If the foreign spouse gets the green card after being married for more than two years, it will not be a conditional one. If the green card is iissued before then, it is conditional until your two year anniversary.[/quote]

Thanks! We had been married 5 years before we applied for the green card.

On a separate note to MT, even before we she had her green card, we went together through the “US citizen” line at passport control.

Thanks Jeff. Maybe we’ll just try that next time.

But if we did decide to go ahead with the process now, is it a V Visa that she would need to get as the wife of a citizen and does one really need all hte matters referred to in my prior post – medical exam, police certificates, etc? Many of those items weren’t listed on the handout I received previously from the AIT.

As Jeff mentioned, you can both go together through the citizen/resident line. The first time we went after being married we went through the non-resident line together and the officer told us we coulda used the other line, so we’ve done that since and it hasn’t been a problem.

Since you have a child now, you would probably be better off filing as head of household, but you can only do that if your spouse doesn’t have a green card. See here: [forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.ph … 892#114892](Does Taiwanese spouse need to file US tax return?

[quote=“Mother Theresa”]
But if we did decide to go ahead with the process now, is it a V Visa that she would need to get as the wife of a citizen and does one really need all hte matters referred to in my prior post – medical exam, police certificates, etc? Many of those items weren’t listed on the handout I received previously from the AIT.[/quote]

Yes, Visitor Visa is the one she needs to travel with you.

There are two stages to get to the Immigrant Visa. The second stage, the AIT will need your wife medical checkup and police certificate, etc.

After you have completed the first stage and approve of your petition, they will give you a second package for you to fill.
Don’t worry, they know what they are doing :wink:
Be patient and walk step by step with them :smiley: