Marriage (US-Taiwan, green card)

I’m an American woman planning to marry a Taiwanese man. We both live and work in Taiwan now. (Of course, I’ve got my ARC through work.)

We’ve been talking about moving to the US in a year or two. We were initially thinking of getting married and staying in Taiwan until after we’d applied for and received his green card (or some sort of preliminary status that would allow him to work legally.) Otherwise, if we move to the States before that time, there’s the problem of his visa/residency/work status.

If you’ve been through this, any advice would be appreciated.


I haven’t gone through it, but I have friends who have. Basically, you can go to the local INS and receive a temporary green card for him almost immediately. Then he can start to work.

You can first get him a K visa to enter the US.

Please consult

Hope that helps.

We went through this a couple of years ago, and the process was fairly painless. In fact, I had a harder time getting my dog cleared!

AIT was very helpful, and I suggest you contact them for details on timelines and costs. For us, the whole process only took 2 weeks, but I imagine that’s unusual. We had been married for 4 years and had 2 kids, so it was obvious we weren’t getting hitched just for the green card. She was able to work as soon as we got back to the States.

In fact, the worst part of the whole ordeal was showing I could support my family financially in the US–this requires proof of employment in the US (that was not a problem–just the offer letter from my new employer) and tax returns from the previous 3 years. Of course, I had been in Taipei for 8 years at that point, and had not filed US taxes the entire time. But even that wasn’t too bad. I just dowloaded the forms from the IRS Web site. There was no penalty for late filing, as I made less than US$70,000/year and didn’t owe any taxes.

Hope this helps

Thanks for sharing! From what others say, it’s a good idea to get married in the States from a bureaucratic standpoint.

Otherwise, there’s not much reason to get married in the States since most of our close friends are here and his family, which is bigger than mine, is here, of course.

So it looks like we’d be flying to the US to get married, returning to Taiwan to work and apply for US immigration papers, and then moving to the States when everything’s ready. But Jeff said something about proving financial support. Does that apply if there are no children involved? What is deemed as adequate financial support?
When in the application process does that information need to be provided? In other words, do I need to find a job in the States before he can join me?

Thanks again! ckvw

Can anyone point me to an appropriate USA government website that explains how quickly after marriage (to a USA citizen) a Taiwan national can apply for USA permanent residency status? I state this with the assumption that the couple is immediately planning to take up residency in the USA.

This is an important question because currently, in Taiwan, the National Police Administration (under the Ministry of the Interior), is interpreting Article 23 of the ROC Immigration Law to mean that a “foreign spouse” in the ROC needs to have been married to the ROC national for FIVE YEARS, before the application for permanent residency in Taiwan can be accepted.

This is not what the Article actually says, but this is the way they are currently interpreting it. Hence, if I can get some appropriate legal reference data from the USA, that will help me fight this unfair interpretation in the Taiwan courts.

Also, if anyone has any printed or photocopied regulations on this, please mail them to me. Thanks.


Make sure you check out my webpage at before you go to the US to get married. I have made a webpage describing exactely what we did.

As far as your concern about showing financial support call AIT and ask them. When I called them to ask them about a greencard they just said you cannot do it prior to one year before you leave. They didn’t say anything about support. You may want to check on that yourself.


Check out this web site first. I got to this link from the main Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) website that is listed at the bottom. I tried looking up marriage and it gave me a link to find out about applying for permanent residency while in the U.S. It looks like you can apply immediately.

Permanent Resident

INS webpage

Hi, I married a man from Taiwan about a year and a half ago. We are still in the process of immigration, but maybe what we know so far can be helpful. You can apply in the US as soon as you are married. One helpful hint though is to send all of your forms at once and be sure to request a receipt if you do not get one. This is because paperwork is easily lost and notices to send in the next form are often forgotten by INS. As far as getting your permanent residency and green card is concerned the time line varies. It shouldn’t but it does. Each regional INS office gets thing done at a different pace. For us, we’re looking at two years for our interview which will be around October. If your looking for an exact timeline I’m afraid I don’t know. Everything has been according to “INS time” for us, but just so we don’t get struck by lightning I’m not complaining. He was able to work legally in less than 90 days.

As far as the financial support goes, the form is simple and if there is a reason that you cannot show support someone else can sponser you. Because we are graduate students, my parents filled out the affidavit of support form. They just needed to prove employment and show copies of tax returns.

We got married in Taiwan too, but other than registering our marriage we haven’t had time to take things further. The best advice we can give is to keep listening to the people who have already been through the process. If they have scary stories, heed their warnings,but don’t let it scare you too. I’m searching for a web site that had a huge forum specifically for everyone to share their experiences. When I find it I’ll post the address. Good Luck

Dionne and Chih-Yen

The best advice has been given already, go by the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit at AIT (third floor of the Travel Services Section). Go to window 8 between 0800 and 1130.

Apart from that, a few issues have been raised. ckvw said she planned to marry and in a year or two move to the States and wondered about her husband-to-be being able to obtain a visa/residency/work permit. As long as ckvw lives here, there are two ways to deal with this. She and her fiance can marry here and then she can submit a petition (form I-130) for her husband to immigrate to the States. Since there is no INS office at AIT, the IV unit at AIT can accept and process IV petitions (believe me, that is a plus for anyone who has dealt with INS) on behalf of American citizens. The other way would be for ckvw to submit a K visa petition on behalf of her fiance. The K visa is issued to the fiance of an American citizen for the purpose of allowing the fiance to travel to the States in order to marry his/her American citizen fiance. So it comes down to if ckvw wants to marry here or in the States. From the posts, it seems that the first option is more appropriate to their situation. Whichever choice is made, they need to go to window 8 in the IV unit to pick up the petition and related forms.

Another issued raised is that of the requirement to provide evidence of financial support. Anyone petitioning for someone else to immigrate to the States must provide proof of one’s ability to provide adequate financial support so that the petitioned person(s) don’t become public charges. In order to prove same, the petitioner must fill out an affidavit of financial support (form I-864). To pass this hurdle the petitioner must show that his/her income over the past three years is greater than what is known as the poverty level for a given family size. For folks who live outside the States this is sometimes a bit of a problem, but one that is usually overcome. For example, someone who is going to school here probably won’t be able show the required level of income (unless of course, the student dutifully reported all that cash income from teaching english on his/her tax return faithfully filed every year ). Another problem is the person working here who has been a bit negligent in reporting all income earned here and therefore won’t be able to show income greater than the poverty level (a word to the wise, if an American plans to petition for someone else but has sort of neglected to file income tax while working in Taiwan, do what one post said - file amended returns. If your income is below US$70,000, you won’t owe taxes. If you show up at AIT to petition someone, say you’ve been working here, but can’t produce the past three years’ tax returns, the interviewing officer will get cranky, really cranky). Anyway, for anyone who is petitioning for someone and who cannot meet the poverty guidelines, there is a solution. It is permissible to get a joint-sponsor, someone living in the States who will fill out an affidavit of support in support of someone else’s petition.

For a person who enters the States as the spouse of an American citizen (i.e., they married before entering the States), the alien spouse is admitted to the States as a lawful permanent resident (conditional) and INS starts the paperwork immediately that results in issuance of the green card. I belive the drill is that person receives authorization from INS immediately to work. If the alien enters on a K visa, the alien doesn’t obtain authorization to work until after marriage. As to how long it takes INS to process these types of cases, it does vary depending on which INS regional office handles the case. However, since 911 INS has put on a full-court press to chase terrorists and I’m sure these things take even longer now. If anyone really needs to know, call the INS office at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong (the nearest INS office).

Thanks again to all for your advice and suggestions. We’re working on it!

Congressed passed a new immigration visa law last year which provides for a new K-2/3 visa status to be issued to the ALREADY married immigrant spouses of US citizens.

This is a new variation on the current theme of the fiancee/e K-1 visa.

Due to commonplace lenghthy INS processing times and circumstances of lengthy family separations of a US citizen spouse already working in the USA, waiting for their immigrant spouse to follow, this K “spouse” visa was established. US State Dept should soon have their implementation instructions for the consulates abroad.

This requires “Adjustment of Status” within the USA and can involve a lengthy wait to become a green card immigrant. At least you’ll be together in the protracted interim.

Taiwanstatus mentions the K2/K3. A minor point first, this is actually the K-3/K-4 visa. A K-2 visa is issued to the minor child of a K-1 (i.e., if an alien who is issued a K-1 in order to go to the States to marry an American citizen has a minor child, the child would be issued a K-2). Therefore, the new visa class mentioned by Taiwanstatus is the K-3/K-4. Applicability of the K-3/K-4 is summarized below:

To qualify for the new K nonimmigrant visa (known as the K3),the applicant for the visa must prove:

his/her marriage to a U.S. citizen is valid, and

he/she is the beneficiary of a petition (I-130) already filed with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) as the spouse of a U.S. citizen, but which petition has not yet been approved by INS, and

he/she is also the beneficiary of a special petition filed with and approved by INS in the United States, and

he/she wishes to enter the United States to await the approval of the I-130 petition by INS or the availability of an immigrant visa.
All four qualifications must be met before overseas processing of the request for the K visa can begin.

As noted above, all four conditions must be met before AIT would issue the K-3 (and, if the couple have a child, K-4 visas to their kids). Again, since AIT can accept and approve I-130 petitions I think most couples who qualify are better off just filing the I-130 with AIT. I believe most cases (particularly the case outlined by ckvw), falls into this category. I really don’t see any advantage for most couples going for the K-3.

The K-3/K-4 route would be more appropriate for posts where the consular section is not authorized to accept and approve petitions. At those posts, the petitioner must file the I-130 with the INS regional office nearest his/her residence in the States. After filing the visa petition, the couple then waits, and waits, and waits (you get the picture) until INS completes processing the petition. The K-3/K-4 visa class was created to cut down on family separation for those who had I-130 petitions in the INS pipeline, allowing those petitioned to be issued K-3/K-4 visas and then go on to join the American citizen spouse while waiting for INS to finish processing the I-130 visa petition.

Questions? Remember, window eight, third floor, Travel Services Section at AIT.

O.K. this wasn’t the forum that I was taking about, but I did find it useful to read.
Of course the best sources for information have already been mentioned, but I did benifit from reading about other people’s experiences and questions. Just remember that they may not always have all the facts. Hope this helps.