Obtaining US immigrant visa for Taiwanese

Me american
wife Taiwanese

We planned to travel in Thailand for extended time before returning to USA and want to know if its practical to apply for her immigrant visa in Bangkok or do we need to come back and do it in Taipei. We tried asking AIT but they dont answer??

So, you are planning on returning to the USA to live as permanent residents? If so it can be complicated. I also married a Taiwanese, but we didn’t decide to get married until she had already been in the USA on a visitor visa. That makes things easier since she can stay here while we wait for our Adjustment of Status to be approved and she gets her green card. In your case, since you are already married, the process is a little different. Bringing your spouse to the USA requires an approved I-130 petition or an approved K3 visa (see K3 note below) The I-130 approval is a painfully slow process, taking several years sometimes. It hasn’t gotten any easier after 9/11 either. AIT may allow Direct Counsular Filing, which would allow both of you to be together in Taiwan while you wait. They are not on the list of approved DCF consulates, nor are they on the list of non-approved consulates (probably since they aren’t really an official consulate). I think they do if you are a Taiwan resident (you being the US Citizen).

If DCF is not an option, you must submit the I-130 paperwork to your regional INS service center in the USA and wait, and wait, etc. However, don’t worry, the INS has improved things somewhat by offering a K3 visa. This allows your spouse to enter the USA and stay with you as you wait for the I-130 to be approved. From the Doc Steen website:

Here is the sequence of events for the K-3 Visa petition:

  1. US citizen spouse files an I-130 to the Service Center for your foreign spouse. If you are not familiar with an I-130 petition, read information at this site on how to file an I-130.

  2. US citizen spouse receives a notice of action (or notice of receipt) from the Service Center for the I-130 petition.

  3. US citizen spouse then sends a copy of the notice of action with a completed I-129F form and $95 fee to the Chicago INS address on the I-129F petition form.

Let me emphasize: When filing this I-129F, you need to send the entire requested materials for the I-129F form: (2) G-325A forms, adit pictures of each of you, copy of I-130 notice of receipt, copy of marriage certificate, cover letter…the whole thing, just like you were filing a petition for the first time. If you omit any of the documents, pictures, or forms, you will get an RFI (request for further information) from the Chicago Center, and it will delay the processing of your k-3 petition!

  1. The Chicago office checks the petition, deposits the $95 fee, and sends the petition on to the Missouri Service Center. The U.S. citizen petitioner initially receives a notice of receipt from the Chicago office and later a notice of approval.

  2. Missouri Service Center approves the petition and forwards it to the US consulate.

More good information can be found at Doc Steen’s site:

mindspring.com/~docsteen/vis … sainfo.htm

Hope that helps and good luck!


P.S. I am not a lawyer and any advice I give is just that, advice. Consult a lawyer for professional advice.

AIT accepts I-130s between 0830-1130 every work day.

Just been there recently (US citizen married to Taiwanese in Taiwan). We went through AIT for an immigrant visa. We expected it to take at least 6 months but it took less than 4 months. Your spouse has to wait for the paperwork in order to immigrate. Your spouse can apply for a SSN as soon as they arrive in the US and have legal work status.

The bigger problem can be proving adequate financial resources to sponsor one’s spouse. You either need proof of a US job, house ownership, or lots of money in the bank… or get someone in the US to agree to be the sponsor. The US citizen also needs copies of the three most recent years’ US tax returns, so if you’ve been lax on filing while living in Taiwan, you’ll need to back file.

Anyway, go get the forms from AIT, fill them out, and turn them in. They’ll review them, give you another set of forms, and set up an appointment. At the appt, they will review your documentation and let you know what else you might need. After that, you may get everything together but when they review it again there may be some other problem so expect several trips to AIT throughout the process. If you live in Taipei and can get some morning hours off, it’s not a big deal to just run over and check your papers (well, you may still have to wait 1-2 hours). There, of course, are a number of fees to pay along the way.

Good luck!

That’s great that AIT allows direct filing. It speeds things up. I contacted them over a year ago while exploring options for my wife and I. Never could get a straight answer, but it seemed like being a Taiwan resident was the key. Since I wasn’t a resident that was not an option. But the important thing is that we are together, still waiting on a green card after 17 months. The INS moves like a train with square wheels.

Showing financial ability to support your spouse is important. For a 2-person household that means $14,295 minimum income (add $3,850 for each additional person living in the house). Hopefully that’s not a problem.

Good luck to you.


The problem in regards to income is that only US income counts. If you’ve been working in Taiwan, that income doesn’t count. Without US income, you need something like US$50,000 in the bank for over 12 months (nope, can’t just borrow from friends/family for a day). The folks at AIT are familiar with this problem, especially with English teachers, who often have minimal assets. Some citizens go to the US without their spouse, get a job, and then are qualified to sponsor their spouse. Others get a relative to sponsor their spouse. One person told me that they were allowed to sponsor with just a letter of intent to hire from a US company. It’s a little different for everyone, it seems.

shaopang–just trying to clarify for my own understanding;you brought your wife over on a vistors visa…and during the visa period,you guys got married in u.s…and then from there on,you guys waited on her green card to come thru?
and what’s adjustment of status?thanks.

[quote=“wcflex”]shaopang–just trying to clarify for my own understanding;you brought your wife over on a vistors visa…and during the visa period,you guys got married in u.s…and then from there on,you guys waited on her green card to come thru?
and what’s adjustment of status?thanks.[/quote]

That’s right. We are still waiting on the green card.

Adjustment of status (AOS) is the process of becoming a permanent resident through marriage, or sponsorship from a relative. There’s many other ways, but I don’t know them all. The adjustment occurs after you enter the USA. In our case, my wife was here legally on a visitor’s visa when we decided to get married. People in the USA illegally are not, in most cases, eligible for AOS.

Hope that answers your questions. If not, please let me know.


thanks for the reply:) i was wondering if you have any idea how long would it take for the green card to come down?so is your wife now considered a landed immigrant or still in visa status?

If you adjust from a tourist visa it can take 2-3 years to get the green card (depending on where you live). If your future spouse comes to the US on a fiance visa, the wait is usually much less. Not sure why there’s such a difference in processing times.

I guess my wife is a pending alien resident. I really don’t know the official classification. I think by next summer we should have the green card (I hope).

once again,thanks for the reply. i thought being engaged is just a verbal kinda thing.how would the gov’t officials know that we’re already engaged?so whats the difference between having a visa and being in alien residency status?does your wife still have to leave the country to renew any docs?can she work legally under this status? thanks a bunch.

Being engaged is still pretty much a verbal thing. However, you must show proof of your relationship with your fiance. Here’s an actual list of things the INS wants to know (I got this directly from our local INS office):

Attachment to Form I-129F—Please provide the information requested below. It will be helpful in the adjudication of your petition.
-When did you and the beneficiary met?
-How long have you been corresponding with the beneficiary?
-How long have you known the beneficiary?
-Submit all correspondence that you have had with the beneficiary. (example: letters, cards, bills, etc.)
-Submit photographs taken of you and the beneficiary together.
-Have you met the beneficiary’s family? When? Where?
-What is the beneficiary’s religious background?
-What is your backgroud?
-Does the beneficiary speak and understand your language?
-Do you speak and understand the beneficiary’s language?’
-What are the beneficiary’s hobbies and interests?
-What are you (sic) hobbies and interests?
-What arrangements have been made for the wedding?
-When do you intend to enter into a lawful marriage with the beneficiary?

Depends on what you mean by “having a visa.” You can have a tourist visa, a work visa, a school visa, but it doesn’t make you a resident. You are expected to leave the country upon expiriation of that visa or face the consequences. Being an alien resident (green card) entitles you to travel in and out of the US freely, work in the US, and is the starting point to becoming a US citizen.

My wife doesn’t have to leave at all. Any documents we needed (birth certificates, police records) were easily mailed to us from Taiwan. She can work as long as we apply for work authorization. This is only good for one year and lets you work, get a Social Security number, and a driver’s license. She also needs Advanced Parole documents to enter the country if she leaves before getting her green card. This too is only good for a year.

After reading through the threads on visas for spouses/fiances, I’ve pretty much decided that getting married here is the way to go rather than in the States. Just wanted to know if anyone had any additional infomation beyond what’s already here or if anyone’s gone through the process since this thread died.

Some current questions for me include:

  1. How long did the visa process take? One person here said two weeks, another almost 4 months. That’s a big difference and not enough data for a pattern anyway. Can anyone else share?
  2. After arriving in the States as a conditional legal resident, how long does it take to apply for a green card? Also, pending the receipt of the green card, will my wife be able to leave the US, say if there’s a family emergency or just if it ends up taking over a year to get the GC?


If you’re talking about a visa for Taiwan, I forget, but I wrote in the work permit thread. That was only a couple of months ago too.

As far as the Green card goes, I dunno what the staory is, but in Aus you need to be living there, and then wait for 2 years. Or you can completely jump the queue if you’ve been married for over to years and have a whipper snapper :wink: .

Sorry didn’t read the name of the thread. Seems you were talking about US not Taiwan.