Requirements for US recognition of my marriage in Taiwan?

My wife (Taiwanese) and I were married last year in Taiwan. The plan was to register in America upon our return, but now it’s looking likely that a trip this summer will not happen. I’d like to get our marriage registered in the States. Is it possible to get that done online? Are there any benefits to getting it done before going back the next time? I read online that her eligibility to get a green card requires her to be a resident in America for 3 years. That will probably not happen in the near future.

Are you legally married in your home country?

No and no plans to ever bother. Not going to live in that dump. (not american)


There’s no such thing as registering your marriage in a US state after marriage in Taiwan. The marriage in Taiwan is already recognized.


This is the correct answer.


Is that definitely true in all 50 states?

The closest thing the US has to a central marriage database is the IRS. That is really the only agency and time the federal government cares if you are married or not.

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False. You need to complete form i-130.

Twenty plus years ago, anyway, we applied for my wife’s green card in Taiwan based on our Taiwan marriage certificate. She had not lived in the US before.

Eligibility for green card is right now once you’re married. But she needs to actually reside in the the US to maintain that green card so it doesn’t make sense to get it unless you want to keep showing up in the US to pretend you actually reside there.

I wrote about the process for filling the i-130 petition with AIT under limited circumstances in this thread: US citizen moving with Taiwanese spouse to the United States?

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But that’s not what the OP wrote. I was responding to the OP’s statement, not whatever you wrote (which I never read anyway).

Yeah yeah…was more or less responding to OP instead of you. I clicked reply to your post because it was elaboration of the same topic.

OP is confusing eligibility for residency with eligibility for citizenship. You get a spousal green card, regularly reside in the United States for three continuous years (being absent for more that 6 months resets the clock but if under 12 months doesn’t void the green card) to be eligible for citizenship.

Thanks to everyone for their replies.

So if we don’t plan to reside in the States anytime soon, what is my wife eligible to apply for? You are correct…I don’t understand the difference between having a green card, residence, or citizenship!

We were married in May 2020, so I’d like to get any paperwork started, if possible, rather than find out later that I was supposed to apply earlier.

You have to be resident in the States for THREE YEARS to get a green card now? When I took my wife to the States in 2003 she had one almost instantly! So much for the “nation of immigrants.” Store’s closed. Everybody f**k off.

I’m hazy on the details (it was a while ago), but isn’t that kind of verification done at the AIT office in Taipei or Kaohsiung? I remember submitting a lot of documentation relating to my wife there.

It’d be a federal standard, not a state one, right? Like I can’t be married in Connecticut and then cross the border into Rhode Island and not be married.

Wrong. Please see my post above this one.

There’s nothing you need to do now. In fact, don’t show immigrant intent if you’d like her to enter on the visa waiver program. When you file taxes you put “NRA” (short for nonresident alien) in her social security field.

If you have kids born outside of the US you need proof you’ve lived in the US for five years to transmit American citizenship. Getting a copy of your official high school and college transcripts should do the trick. They also ask for the precise dates you were in the United States prior to the application. If you have old passports with stamps you can note them down to make filling out the form easier.

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No, there’s no federal standard of marriage in the US; it’s done by state. But states recognize each other’s marriages, have bigamy laws, etc. I’m just wondering if some states might have registration procedures for overseas marriages.

Recently I’ve been a party to a situation which involved contacting various state attorney generals to ask this question. Of the states for which I saw the responses: such a procedure does not exist. The foreign marriage is recognised and the marriage certificate from the foreign country is considered the legal marriage certificate.



I have gone through this process. There what is called a conditional green card which lasts for two years which we applied for from Taiwan. Then after two years you get a green card that is good for 10 years. Qualification for citizenship is after 3 years continuous residence if married.

I never had to worry about my state recognizing the marriage as our entire application for the conditional green card was done through AIT.

All of this only matters if you plan on living in the US now. If not for a while then, don’t even bother.

The only time I had to worry about my state recognizing the marriage was when we moved back to Taiwan and TECO wanted our Taiwan marriage certificate recognized for my visa. For some reason, they wouldn’t accept a marriage certificate from their own government. I tried to do this through our states’ State Department Apostille and Authentication office, but ended up being a hassle during the pandemic and just got remarried in the US to save time. But again that was for my Taiwan visa and nothing to do with my spouse.