My Japanese girlfriend and I are considering moving her to NY to the US. Do we have to fill out a fiance visa in order for her to come here for 90 days and get married or can she come here for 'vacation/tourism' since she is a Japanese citizen instead?
This is by no means a definitive answer, but I certainly wouldn't try it on a tourist visa. Googling your question brought me to the following two pages, which should give you pause.US Immigration Lawyer ServicesRisks of Entering the U.S. as a Tourist, Then Applying for Marriage-Based Green Card | Nolo.comAs you know, you can get a fiancee visa, get married in the U.S., and then apply for a green card. The process will involve a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money. But then again, so will any attempt at getting a green card.My wife (who is Japanese) and I (U.S. citizen) did it the way that was supposed to be easiest: we got married while we were living in Japan, and then had her apply for a green card through the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo. It is NOT an easy process, but it is do-able with a lot of time and patience. And like I said, getting a green card is never an easy process.Incidentally, my wife and I ended up having ceremonies both in Japan and the U.S. But we got "legally" married in Japan several months before our actual wedding (which is pretty common nowadays in Japan, even for marriages between two Japanese nationals).I also seem to remember that I needed to go to the U.S. Consulate in Japan first in order to obtain a document that I then submitted to the Japanese government, which allowed me to get legally married to one of their citizens. Once you're legally married in Japan, this marriage will be acknowledged in the U.S. -- you don't have to do anything else there. That's probably the only easy part about all of this. ,)If you are going to go this route, you'll want to get legally married in Japan sooner rather than later. Then you can start your green card application. Don't rush the application process (like we did), because the time it takes is largely out of your control, and it can give you major stress. And be aware that she'll likely end up with a provisional green card, which you can apply to have converted into a regular green card from within the U.S. after you've been married for two years. This will once again cost a bunch of money and a fair bit of annoyance, though this second application is easier than the first.I can't offer any help for the fiancee visa route, since that's not what we did. My understanding, however, is that it's more complicated. Either way, the process will always be difficult, but it should be do-able. Just take it little by little and try not to let it get to you.As hard as all of this is, I'd really, really recommend doing everything on the up-and-up. This isn't something you want to take chances with. Trying to skirt the rules now will almost surely cause you all sorts of pain and suffering down the line.