WHEN THE IMMIGRANT SPOUSE IS NOT JAPANESE
The Japan Times published an article last year about the large number of people from China and India who are moving to the United States.
(See “U.S. immigrants from China and India outpace those from Mexico”.) What if some of these non-Japanese folks happen to be in Japan with their U.S. citizen spouse before making the decision to move to the U.S.? What if a U.S. citizen wants to move, from Japan to the U.S., with a spouse who is not Japanese? Questions arise from time to time regarding U.S. immigration applications from Japan for third country nationals (TCNs).
Subject to certain exceptions, an alien applying for an immigrant visa shall make application at the consular office having jurisdiction over the alien’s place of residence (see 22 Code of Federal Regulations 42.61(a)). So if a U.S. citizen and their non-Japanese spouse are legally present in Japan on a work assignment, for example, and if Japan is their place of residence, then it might make sense to proceed from Japan with the petition and application process for a marriage-based U.S. green card, subject to changes in policy, and if they are otherwise able to satisfy the applicable requirements (e.g., maintenance or reestablishment of U.S. domicile, etc.).
Gary O. Haase is a U.S. immigration attorney admitted in California and Japan (licensed foreign attorney). This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact a qualified legal professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue. The opinions expressed are those of the individual author and do not reflect the views or opinions of any nonprofit organization or government agency.