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Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Procedures, processes, JFRV, potential documentation difficulties, whether to get married in Taiwan or overseas, as well as legal basis for divorce in Taiwan, including all related problems and pitfalls, child custody, alimony payments, abandonment, extra-marital affairs, and other complications...
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Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Strychnine » 05 Aug 2014, 12:56

Hi Everyone,

I have sort of a complicated question regarding marriage and I'm hoping someone here can offer me some advice on what I should do. I'll try to explain the situation as best as I can:

I'm a US citizen living in Taiwan. I've met a woman who lives in mainland China and we would like to get married. I'm planning to return to the US shortly and she of course would be coming to live with me. I'm trying to figure out the best way for us to accomplish this while minimizing the time that we will be separated during the visa application process (long distance isn't easy). As I understand from my research, there are a few options:

1) I return to the US, and begin the application process for the K-1 Fiancee visa. She waits in China for the paperwork to go through on the US side, then she has a process to go through with the US Embassy on her side in China. This seems to be the most "legal" way to do it, however Wikipedia says the average processing time for all of this is 8 months. :(

2) We get married in China, and then she is eligible to apply for an immigrant visa to go to the US. According to her, however, the process to apply for a marriage license to a foreigner in China takes a long time. (Perhaps up to a year she said) I would also need to apply for a visa to go to China in the first place, and might not necessarily qualify. (The boyfriend of a friend of hers was denied a visa.) She doesn't seem to think this is a viable option. I don't know anything about China, but I trust that she does.

3) She applies for a tourist visa to visit the US, we wait a few months (depending on how long her tourist visa is approved for) during which time we "meet" and then we get married. She then applies for a change of status. During whatever interviews that follow, we both say that she came to the US for a vacation, and we spontaneously decided to get married. This seems to be the fastest option. Complication - We are planning to go on a trip together outside of both Taiwan and China before I go back to the US. Both of our passports will show that we were in that same country at the same time. I'm not sure if this will cause an issue if we try for this option. During the change of status interview we could say that we didn't know each other before she came to the US, we met, fell madly in love, and spontaneously got married. But during the interviews, will they ask to see our passports? Or we could say we met in the country we are planning to take a trip to together, which would explain the passport thing, and then she decided to come visit me in the US, but not with the intent to marry. We don't nessarily have to say that we met in Taiwan because she didn't need her passport to enter Taiwan, so her passport doesn't show anything about ever being in Taiwan. After coming to visit me in the US, we fell madly in love, and decided to get married.

4) Is it possible for a foreigner (I have an APRC) to marry a Chinese national in Taiwan? I assume it is. We could then apply for the immigrant visa for her to go to the US. But during this time, would we both have to remain in Taiwan? How long would this take? Would she be stuck here in Taiwan for weeks or months unable to work waiting for her immigrant visa to through? Or could I go to the US first, she return to China, and we go through the immigrant visa process in our respective home countries. Hmm...I'm not really even sure I know what I'm talking about on this one. How difficult and what would be required to pull this off? Seems like a safe option, except at the moment I'm not sure how easy or difficult this might be. (Note: I was previously married in the US to a Taiwanese girl, which is how I ended up in Taiwan. We subsquently got divorced and I remember that all it required was us going to the town hall, or some place similar, and filing some paperwork. The whole process took about 30 minutes, in the middle of which I walked to McDonald's to get a Big Mac while my ex-wife filled out the paperwork. My point is, maybe the red tape in Taiwan isn't so long and complicated?)

EDIT: She just told me it's not possible for her as a Chinese national to get married in Taiwan. So scrap option #4.

So those are the 4 options that I've come up with. I realize that #1 is the safest bet, but it also means we may be waiting for 8 months or even longer for her to get approved for the fiancee visa. That's a long time to wait. I also realize that #3 may be the fastest, but there are some risks. I've read online that her green card may be denied if whoever interviews us determines that she came to the US on a visitor visa with the intent to marry (visa fraud - sounds serious).

Well, that's the predicament I'm currently facing. As you can imagine, this is something that is extremely important for both of us. If anyone can offer me any advice it would be tremendously appreciated. :)
Strychnine
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby ironlady » 05 Aug 2014, 21:06

If your relationship is not strong enough to handle 8 months or a year of long-distance, you maybe should not be getting married in the first place. You've got Skype. It's not like "back when" when it took 2 weeks to get a reply to an airmail letter.
Terry Waltz, Ph.D
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Gryphon » 05 Aug 2014, 21:11

OP, just wondering why you chose to have a handle like that. Are you a highly toxic person?
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Strychnine » 05 Aug 2014, 21:46

Ironlady, thank you for judging. Our relationship is strong enough to handle the separation, however like most people in love we prefer to be together. I'm aware of Skype and nowadays they even have smartphones for instant communication.

Gryphon, my grandmother used strychnine from rat poison to kill herself. The handle is my strange way of remembering her.

The random comments are great, but I really came here for some help so if anyone could offer me some helpful advice or suggestions I would be grateful. Thanks!
Strychnine
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby ironlady » 05 Aug 2014, 22:19

Help me out here. No one judged you -- if any judging were to be done, it would be aimed at the fact that you are willing to break the law to get your way (not being separated for a brief period) rather than complying with the law that gives your spouse full work rights when she sets foot on US soil. Your whole post sounds like "how can I scam the US government to avoid doing something we don't want to do, although we could do it perfectly well?"

But I would hope that one would be taking a longer view of marriage. If you want to view it as being judgemental, so be it -- but "investing" a few months apart to gain a big prize like a green card and later a US passport should be a small matter to a committed couple. The fact that you're not willing to sacrifice the short-term comfort for the long-term gain doesn't seem to be consistent with the kinds of attitudes that make a marriage work for the long term. It sounds more like an infatuation, which must be fed regularly to survive, than a mature love relationship, in which both partners take the longer view. But I'm no longer a twenty- or thirty-something, so, you know, what do I know about long-term relationships.
Terry Waltz, Ph.D
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Squid for Brains Learning Games -- not your nainai's flash cards!
...although his father beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts'e, it will be impossible for him [at least using current methods]...-Mencius
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Strychnine » 05 Aug 2014, 23:24

Apparently you skipped over the part of my original post where I mentioned visa fraud and anyone with the ability to read between the lines would have seen that I want to avoid that. If the sole intent of my post was to ask how to scam the US government I wouldn't have bothered to mention the other options and would have focused my post on "how do I get away with this?" instead. I don't know much about how all this visa stuff works, but hey, I thought that was the point of having a forum like this - to ask for advice from people who do know. I didn't occur to me that someone would troll a thread talking about such a serious subject matter. But I guess some people have nothing better to do.

By the way, getting married on a tourist visa isn't illegal. If it was, people wouldn't be getting deported instead of being allowed to change their status. Thanks for turning my thread into an argument to which someone who actually has helpful advice is now unlikely to reply. Additionally, thanks for the marriage and relationship advice. I'll be sure to share it with my significant other. I guess since you're older you must indeed be wiser and apparently you even know all about my relationship even though you have no idea who I am!
Strychnine
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby tommy525 » 05 Aug 2014, 23:34

Having gone through the i129F Fiancee visa process with my Indonesian bride, I can tell you it is a long long road.

Took us just over a year to get her the i129F visa to come to the USA. And another 7 months to get her green card.

The i130 visa (for people married outside or INSIDE the USA with one party a foreign citizen and one a US citizen) takes the same or some say even longer.

If she comes to the USA on a tourist visa and you marry in the USA, she MUST and I repeat MUST still leave before her tourist visa expires and you have to be apart mostly while this visa processes.

I understand she can still visit you in the USA while her i130 visa processes, but only in a legal manner and NEVER overstaying.

Both roads entail tremendous amounts of doing this and that . You can read all about them online . There is a LOT of info.

Her being from China is harder then her being from Singapore or Japan or even Taiwan.

But easier then some other countries.

Our road of initial application to getting the green card in around 19 months is considered very fast.

Many wait years even.

During this time of waiting for the i129f or i130 , it would be best if you could live in CHINA if you want to be with her. Once she arrives on the i129F you have 90 days to marry and apply for the Green Card. Once the application has been received within this time frame, she can remain in the USA while her Green Card processes. In fact she cant leave the USA and return unless you also apply for the Advanced Parole (free with your Green Card application if applied for at the same time). People usually apply for the work rights at the same time as the Green Card ap. It is also free. And nowadays you get the work rights along with the advanced parole card together. With this card and her passport she can return to the USA , but will still be subject to secondary inspection, like when she first arrives on her initial i129f or i130 visa. She will normally use the Non US citizen line, but either is ok so I am told.

Later with her Green Card in hand she will use the US citizen/ Resident lines and won't be subject to secondary.

my two cents

By the way, Ironlady was of tremendous help in getting needed documents translated from Chinese to English for me when I did this . I would be very nice to her if I were you.

And nice to others who comment on your thread in a well meaning way as well.
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby ironlady » 06 Aug 2014, 01:10

You left out another option: have your girlfriend apply for a visa to study in the US, preferably at a school near where you live and/or work. Of course I don't know **your girlfriend** but most prospective spouses from China could use language study, especially since getting ahead in the US generally depends on English ability.

Another option is to have her come to the US on a tourist visa, get married in the US, then return to China and apply as a spouse. That would probably go better if you were living in China for some period of time. If you're already living in Taiwan, what's the rush to get back to the US? (Family issues, etc.?)

I guess, however, my ability to "read between the lines" and come to the conclusion that you don't want to commit fraud stops before I get to the point where you're lying in a future interview about your intentions when your gf came to the US. At least if she applies for a student visa and studies, you're not lying.
Terry Waltz, Ph.D
Click here to Finally Learn Mandarin!
Squid for Brains Learning Games -- not your nainai's flash cards!
...although his father beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts'e, it will be impossible for him [at least using current methods]...-Mencius
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Strychnine » 06 Aug 2014, 01:12

Hi tommy525,

Thank you for the very informative post. It was very helpful. It seems like no matter which option I go with, there will be a long wait ahead. That's a bit disheartening, but there doesn't seem to be any other choice. I'll do more research online and perhaps need to contact an attorney who specializes in this type of thing to find out more.
Strychnine
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Re: Complicated Marriage Issue - Advice Sought

Postby Strychnine » 06 Aug 2014, 01:20

Hi ironlady,

Thank you kindly for the information. I'm assuming with the student visa option that she will actually have to attend a school? Also, if we get married on her tourist visa, and she returns to China to wait for the paperwork to go through, do you have any idea how long this will take, ballpark figure? It seems par for the course is somewhere around 1 year...

Thanks again!
Strychnine
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