USA-Taiwan Marriage and Citizenship

I am from the USA and my Taiwan girlfriend recently visited me twice on a tourist visa. We want to marry and stay in the states. My questions are:

  1. where is the best choice legally to marry
  2. what do we need to do for her to stay here once we are married
  3. can she have dual citizenship

Answers:

(1) It really doesn’t matter at this point. Up to about three years ago, the Taiwanese immigration authorities would not recognize the validity of a marriage performed in Taiwan, but now they do. Assuming you get married in the USA, be sure to get your marriage certificate notarized by the nearest overseas Taiwan Rep. Office.

(2) You need to contact the Immigration and Naturalization Service to arrange her visa matters. According to what I know, she can apply for permanent residency in the USA fairly quickly after you are married.

(3) Yes she can have dual nationality. This is because the USA does not discriminate against Taiwanese people. However, unless you are of Chinese/Taiwanese ancestry, you cannot, because the nationality laws in Taiwan don’t allow white, black, red, etc. people to have dual nationality.

AIT used to tell people not to enter the US on tourist visa and then marry. This could cause problems getting residence etc. in the future and could also result in her not being able to get back into the US. I don’t know if this is still the case. You need to ask AIT or an immigration lawyer about this.

What Feiren is saying here is that the USA makes a very hard distinction between “immigrant” and “non-immigrant” visa categories.

With the goal of obtaining permanent residency, and in the future most likely becoming a US citizen, your wife is clearly in the intending immigrant category. Hence, she should not hide this status and apply for a “non-immigrant” visa . . . . . . this is my understanding.

Asking AIT is a good idea.

[quote=“Hartzell”]What Feiren is saying here is that the USA makes a very hard distinction between “immigrant” and “non-immigrant” visa categories.

With the goal of obtaining permanent residency, and in the future most likely becoming a US citizen, your wife is clearly in the intending immigrant category. Hence, she should not hide this status and apply for a “non-immigrant” visa . . . . . . this is my understanding.

Asking AIT is a good idea.[/quote]

Yes to both of the above posters. In order to obtain a tourist (B-1/B-2) visa, the applicant must convince the INS (or the AIT, in your girl’s case) that she does not intend to stay in the US past the period of her tourist visa time (generally 6 months). If she enters the US on a tourist visa, marrys you, and then attempt to adjust status (i.e., obtain an immigrant visa, aka green card), the INS will presume that she lied regarding her intent to stay in the US when she applied for her tourist visa. The INS very much frowns on people who lie to it.

She might want to consider getting the so-called fiancee visa (K visa). This would allow her to enter the US with the intent perhaps to stay in the US. AFAIK, the only limitation is that she must get married within 2 months after she enters the US.

But, as Hartzell suggests, you should check with the AIT or your nearest INS office (or the INS website) to learn more and confirm the above.

What is AIT?

[quote=“FoxyGary”]What is AIT?[/quote]American Institute in Taiwan, the USA ‘embassy’ in Taiwan. Your girlfriend will know it.

See ait.org.tw/

FYI - USA doesn’t recognize Dual Citizenship. When you naturalize you in effect renouce your other citizenship in the oath process.
[Moderator’s note: This information is incorrect.]

But you still got to the Taiwan Ambassy to renounce your citizenship. This is the part the nobody will enforce.

Due to the logistics of Home Land Security. It is most likely easier for a gf to enter the USA on a tourist visa and get married to the groom.

She can apply for a Visa status change will in the states. However, there will be a period of time when she will not be able to leave the USA as her application is being processed.

Once USA approves the application she will be free to Travel. Make sure you have on your Application Taiwan and not China. This will be a major hassel since many people in Immigration has no clue about this and will effect the speed at which your bride will be naturalized.

let me tell you from one who has gone through this torture.

my (at the time) girlfriend came to visit me twice in the states. the second time immigration in chicago asked her why she was traveling there twice in one year on a tourist visa. she replied “to visit her boyfriend”. after this she was interogated for over three hours and immediately deported (having to travel a total of over 40 hours) back to Taiwan. her English not being very good she was FORCED to sign a statement in English saying she falsified information in order to get a visa. they told her if she didn’t sign they would forbid entry for her lifetime (can they do this?) they cancelled her five year visa and she came back to Taiwan.

i don’t have any other advise than to any of you considering getting married in the u.s. than be careful. i don’t understand how people with good intentions get harmed by the u.s. immigration law. if i had a chance to do it all over again i would consult an attorney first. after all i ended up returning to Taiwan to marry her and am now trying to sort out the solution so that one day she can return to the u.s. (although she now rightly hates america for what they did to us).

Tigerman is right. My wife and I (she is Taiwanese) did this about 5 years ago. She didn’t have any troubles visiting twice a year (way pre 9/11) when we were dating. But when we decided to get married, I applied for the K visa. TONS of paperwork on my end (US) and then TONS of paper work on her end. I would guess it was about a 6 to 8 month process before it was all done. Then you do have to prove that you were married within 2 months of her entering the country.

Just thinking about it makes my head hurt. But well worth it of course.

Good luck.

[quote=“tigerman”].

If she enters the US on a tourist visa, marrys you, and then attempt to adjust status (i.e., obtain an immigrant visa, aka green card), the INS will presume that she lied regarding her intent to stay in the US when she applied for her tourist visa. The INS very much frowns on people who lie to it.

[/quote]
My wife and I are a slightly different case as we got married in the US and then turned around and came back to HK. She was using a tourist visa. We talked to an immigration lawyer about 18 months ago about how and when we should begin paperwork for my wife to obtain her greencard. What a fucking headache. Thank god the lawyer is a friend of the family and we were getting free advice.

For our situation, there are two methods. The first is the consular route. We would have to first file paperwork to “verify” our marital status; this would be filed with the bozos at the US Consulate in HK. After they interview us and agree that yes, we actually are married, we can then apply for her greencard. At present, it seems that the average time to process everything through the HK consulate is two years. Some applications take longer; I’ve heard of none that take less than a year and a half. During this time, my wife is not allowed under any circumstances to enter the US on another type of visa since she is in process for a resident visa. I asked if my wife would be allowed to enter if one of my parents died; the lawyer said that would be extremely risky and that there are no allowances made for that type of situation. Our lawyer friend stressed that we should consult a lawyer before submitting any scrap of paper or attending any interview during the consular route process. She wasn’t just saying this to get business; she had already said she would do it for free.

The other route is to break the law. The attorney stressed that she was not advising us to do this (read: this is against the law, so I can’t directly recommend it, but it is the quickest way). My wife would enter on her tourist visa and then apply to change it after arriving. 18 months ago, this lawyer said that it would take about three months to get a green card through this route. HOWEVER, it is not 100% safe. She said that she had never had a client who was deported because of this, but that there is still some risk. We would also have to pay a fine of about US$700. Because of special circumstances, we would probably have to do it this way. We won’t do it, though, without first talking to a lawyer again.

There is another limitation too. The process of adjusting from a K-1 to a 10 year green card takes a lot longer than if you get married in Taiwan and start the process there. We did the fiancee visa, it took four years from arrival to getting approval for a green card, but it will take another 6 months to get the actual card (of course, requiring another visit to the BCIS building). We have friends who got married after us, but did it in Taiwan, she got her green card about 6 months ago … in other words, it took only two years.

Get married in Taiwan and apply for residency there, if that is an option. You will save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

A word of caution. Read carefully the affidavit of support that you sign after the fiance visa stage. It is a very sweeping document and you could end up supporting her for the rest of her life in the States even if she leaves you, after a week, and is living with another man. You are only off the hook if she works continuously for 5 years but with money from you she might just work sporadically. The document empowers public agencies to proceed against you for any expenses she incurrs. Medical expenses can get astronomical. If you discover a way to sidestep this abusive affidavit please let me know.

Hi, was reading through this thread and thought i might add my 2 cents. My friend, here in the US married a Singaporean, here in the US. She came in under Tourist Visa. After the got married, the filed for a change of status (to a “undisclosed” visa) then for her green card. This, as far was we could tell is not strictly forbidden but also not talked about. The advice he got was from an INS official. The process took about 3 months and the hardest part was just get to the appointments on time. They had to go at 5am to wait outside so they could wait in the line inside.

I’m going over the same issues. I am planning on marrying a Taiwanese but I am a US citizen but born in Taiwan. My father still has his household registration with my name on it and my Taiwan ID number. I’m wondering too if there are some things I should be doing. We think that marrying in Taiwan and filing an I130 and the financial statements (my tax forms) in AIT is easier than working on it here in the US.

I have heard that if you try getting k1, they then can do all sorts of “investigation” on you and your fiancee. Sort of free reign to dig into everything about you. I think this is rather intrusive just for the intention of getting married. I’ve also heard that this takes some time - 2 years? Is this true? Makes it hard to plan anything.

By the way, thanks to all of your opinions, insights and rants about Taiwan. So far, I only get to visit a week every few months for work. Maybe, one day I’ll make it back to live.

swleejr

Each country may have their own rules pertaining to the Fiancee (K-1) or Spouse (K-3) visa. Malaysia’s rules were recently changed in 2004 and so it was preferable to do a K-3 instead of the K-1 in my case. Normally, K-1 is a better immigrant visa to apply for than the K-3 because the K-3 is more intensive with its documentation requirements and the time to process is also longer. The interview process with the K-1 and K-3 is not different. However, each country is different.

What you should do is talk with an immigration lawyer in the US. They may know of special Taiwanese spouse/fiancee immigration issues. Whatever you do, don’t try to do it yourself. You don’t want to screw up your immigration application, especially if you and your wife-to-be want to ever live in the US and raise a family there.