Help with JFRV VISA Process

Hey all, this is my first post. I read the pinned stuff on the JFRV but it was from 2005 so I thought it’d be better to clarify things here.

So ya, my wife and I got married in Taiwan a few months ago. Went to the HHR building with 2 witnesses and signed the document.

I also got my FBI background check which is valid for a couple more months. The only thing I haven’t done yet was the health check in Taiwan which I’ll knock out soon.

Alright, so here is my confusion. I’ve been trying to get straight answers by calling AIT, BOCA, and NIA in Taiwan but the answers always seem to vary.

Basically, I just need confirmation what I need to do next. I thought all I had left besides the health check was go overseas to an official Taiwan immigration office and apply for the JFRV.

However, now I am told that in order to apply for the JFRV, I first need to be legally married in to my wife in the USA and have those documents translated to be submitted with the JFRV.

Is that true? I also saw people suggest getting a lawyer to deal with these kinds of matters. Is that necessary?

Any and all help is welcomed, and thanks in advance.

I’m from the US and live in Taiwan under a marriage visa. My wife and I have only gotten married in Taiwan, never in the states. I know other people who have done the same thing. The only document related to marriage that I needed to provide was proof that I wasn’t married in the US. Since the US does not have a central marriage registry, Americans go to AIT and “swear” before a notary that they are not married. That’s the only thing I can think of you needing, but I would think you needed to have the done before going to HHR. Did you do this part of the process?

Yes, that’s correct. Before going to the HHR, I had to go to AIT and get a Single Affidavit.

But you never went through the process of getting a JFRV, right?

So I’m trying to find out if I need to be legally married in the states if applying for this visa.

I have a JFRV, but I lived in Taiwan on a work visa until I got married. Maybe that makes it different. but I’ve never heard of that requirement. I did need to have the proof of single status affidavit translated. NIA will give you the best information regarding this. Who told you that you need to be legally married in the US to apply?

The NIA offices told me I needed it to apply for JFRV.

The difference between is I don’t have a work visa, so that might be what makes the difference.

Like I said, it’s confusing since NIA has given different answers in the past. But after my wife talked to them several times, the consistent answer now seems to show that we need to be legally wed in the states for it to be recognized.

I’m hoping it isn’t true but I have a feeling someone on here can give a definitive answer one way or another.

I will marry this week in Taiwan and the next day I will apply for a JFRV ARC, I don’t need to do weeding or register the marry in my home country. You can apply for a vistor visa TS in Honk Kong or whatever country I guess, and in Taiwan do the ARC. For what I know is like that

EDIT: in Taiwan talking to the right person and get the right answer can be really difficult


Original and one photocopy of marriage registration issued by competent authorities of the applicant’s country.

  1. For countries which do not have marriage registration, original and one photocopy of the certificate of marriage are required.

so, in your case, I think it is a certificate you got from them.

From the NIA’s website, referring to Taiwan’s Immigration Act:

As far as I can tell, there is nothing stating the need to have a marriage certificate from your home country, only that if it is part of your proof of marriage, then it has to be translated/notarized.

I would suggest calling NIA one more time and specifically referencing the above web page. If that doesn’t work, you can ask a lawyer just to see if it is possible. If you can afford it, I would just find a good lawyer in Taipei and ask for a consultation (just so you can ask whether it is possible for you to get your ARC without a US marriage certificate). The following website also lists sources for free legal advice in Taipei:

Reading the law though, I highly doubt that you need a marriage certificate from the states.

For clarification, the page is on ARC, which @lonelyplanet will obtain after he will get a resident visa for the purpose of joining family. You didn’t get it, because you are already on a work based ARC, and just changed the purpose.

thoug this part may be right. I think OP just needs the certificate from HHR where they did get married.

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I’m pretty sure that JFRV and work visas all fall under the category of ARCs. Your reason/basis for applying for residency is either work or joining a family, but you are always applying for a resident certificate. In fact, both cards still say ARC, they just entail different restrictions for work.

The regulations explain that the prospective applicants can either be: a) foreign national applying for ARCs (for work, marriage, business, etc), or b) foreign nationals with ARCs who wish to modify the reason for their residency. In the case of myself and the OP, I would fall under b, while he would fall under a.

I know many people here refer marriage based ARC as JFRV, but strictly speaking, visa and ARC are different things. OP needs to get a residence visa before getting an ARC, and the requirement of marriage certificate from original country is for getting the visa based on marriage.

I’m sure you also got a residence visa based on your employment, before you got your work based ARC.

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Great discussion, keep it up.

As Tando pointed out, in my case I don’t have a VISA related to my employment in Taiwan.

I’ll do the following.

  1. Call NIA again and reference the article posted above.

  2. Definitely want to give a lawyer a call for consultation.

Though main concern at moment is getting to JFRV, in the future I am considering moving back to the states and want to see about green card applications for my wife and I think having a lawyer on retainer would be nice.

I’ll keep my eye out on this thread for new messages and answer questions if needed.

I’ll also update what NIA or a lawyer says.

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visa may be BOCA’s matter.

I only needed the affidavit, along with a notarized translation. Saved money by doing the translation myself, and notarization cost about 750$.

Edit: not american

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Called BOCA, they are still insisting that since I’m American, our marriage must be known by the United States and we’ll need 2 marriage certificates to apply for the JFRV.

And I was mistaken earlier when I said my wife was asking NIA, she was in fact asking BOCA before as well, my bad.

Did you ask to the TECO in your region? They must issue many marriage based residence visas for US citizens.

Went through this exact process earlier this year and found myself in a similar situation to you – everyone kept telling me that I needed it to be “registered” in the US but the US does not have a central marriage registration system and all “abroad” marriages are automatically valid in the US, so this is not possible.

I just skimmed this thread so I’m not sure if you’re currently in Taiwan on a tourist visa (ie 90-day-visa-exempt) or if you’re in Taiwan on a work visa? The following is if you’re in Taiwan on a visa-exempt status (I think a work visa is slightly different in that you don’t need to leave the country and can just head down to NIA):

  • Taiwan doesn’t let you change to a JFRV visa if you’re in Taiwan on a visa-exempt status. This means that you’ll have to plan a trip to HK or Macau. I believe you have two paths here:
    1. You can try to apply for a JFRV visa directly in HK/Macau. This was my original plan, but the lady at the Macau TECRO office kept stating that I needed prove that the marriage was “registered” in the US and that people had produced a document before stating as such. I believe that this document was just another affidavit stating that the marriage is valid in the US , but since I was already in Macau I couldn’t get this.
    1. So instead, I applied for a “Tourist Visa for Visiting Relatives” in Macau and entered Taiwan on that. I then went down to the NIA office and was able to convert that to an ARC without any issues (and without the affidavit).

I wrote more information on the process here: American having issues with getting ARC after extensive research

Let me know if you still have any questions – I’d plan for a 4 day trip in Macau, or 3 day in HK


Wow, that makes so much sense. And ya, looks like we are on the same boat. I’ll be sure to ask more questions if any pop up, but for the first time, I feel like I can actually see the path forward, thanks so much.


@lonelyplanet Hey, I just read this thread because I’m also facing the same situation, I’m not american tho, but still It’s very complicated for me to register my marriage in my country, especially because of the covid situation, did you manage to get your spouse arc by applying for a visitor visa for visiting relatives ? Or did you use another process ?

I resolved my issue back then with all of the info and help in this thread. If you aren’t a US citizen then it might not be the same route, and I’m sure covid might complicate matters further. Hope you are able to solve yours. Maybe make a specific thread with your situation and see if the community here can help you like they did for me.

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