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