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Japanese-American Marriage Process

Teimu

Kouhai
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Me and my fiancé are looking to get married when she comes back from Japan for the summer. I am not exactly sure what the process is, so I'm hoping some people here who are more knowledgable about the process could help me. Thanks in advance!
 

Majestic

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You are...a US citizen in the US, and she is a Japanese national visiting the US on some sort of visa? Hard to give meaningful help without the details.
 

Teimu

Kouhai
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I'm sorry, yes I am a native born American, and she is a Native born Japanese woman. She is visiting on a student visa, and we have been together for 3 years now, and living together for 2.
 

riverwest

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Ok, it has been 20 years... but assuming not many laws have changed...
I am assuming she is already in US or about to re-enter US with a student visa. That is ok since you guys haven't married yet. If I were her, when re-entering US, she should just say her purpose of returning US is for her study. No need to mention about planning to get marry with you. I feel that (mentioning about marriage plan) is further complicate the issue.

After she comes back here to study summer, and after you guys get married, you two have to go to an immigration office (wherever the state you live). They will interview you and her, but she being Japanese, I don't think it would be much hustle. (Depending on where a spouse is from, the process might be much more involved). Actually, it might be possible to get all the document on the web before you guys go to the office. Before I went there to get a green card, I had to take HIV exam. But I don't think they require any more? I am not sure.
Once they interview you and your future wife, they will void her student visa and then give her a temporary green card. Or more like temporary temporary green card. She will get a temporary green card on the mail a couple week or a couple of months after that. About one year later, she has to go back to the immigration office (I don't think you are required to go with her that time), and she has to prove that she is still married with you and then she will officially get a green card.
Oh, also, after you and she goes to the immigration office for the first time, you need to tell Japanese consulate about her status change (or did I do before that??)
I thought I went to immigration office before going to Japanese consulate.. but maybe I went Japanese consulate first. Anyway, she can make a phone call and ask but I don't think she needs to do until she gets married.
I also remembered hiring a lawyer to go over an immigration document before I went to an office. I paid him just to check my document and I don't think I paid more than $100. I don't think hiring a lawyer is necessary; but if there is a service like I used, "just checking the documentation", it might be a good idea. However, I don't remember I used this sort of service before I got green card or a before I got citizenship.
Anyway, since it has been a long time, something might have changed so don't take my word for it - you should check: (1) immigration office and (2) Japanese consulate websites. You can start surfing the web to see what documents are required for each place. But I don't know if you need to do anything until you two get married (it might involve more if you are bringing her to US to get married. But sounds like she will be here to study and then you guys get married).
Good luck! And congratulations!
 
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