The best advice has been given already, go by the Immigrant Visa (IV) Unit at AIT (third floor of the Travel Services Section). Go to window 8 between 0800 and 1130.
Apart from that, a few issues have been raised. ckvw said she planned to marry and in a year or two move to the States and wondered about her husband-to-be being able to obtain a visa/residency/work permit. As long as ckvw lives here, there are two ways to deal with this. She and her fiance can marry here and then she can submit a petition (form I-130) for her husband to immigrate to the States. Since there is no INS office at AIT, the IV unit at AIT can accept and process IV petitions (believe me, that is a plus for anyone who has dealt with INS) on behalf of American citizens. The other way would be for ckvw to submit a K visa petition on behalf of her fiance. The K visa is issued to the fiance of an American citizen for the purpose of allowing the fiance to travel to the States in order to marry his/her American citizen fiance. So it comes down to if ckvw wants to marry here or in the States. From the posts, it seems that the first option is more appropriate to their situation. Whichever choice is made, they need to go to window 8 in the IV unit to pick up the petition and related forms.
Another issued raised is that of the requirement to provide evidence of financial support. Anyone petitioning for someone else to immigrate to the States must provide proof of one's ability to provide adequate financial support so that the petitioned person(s) don't become public charges. In order to prove same, the petitioner must fill out an affidavit of financial support (form I-864). To pass this hurdle the petitioner must show that his/her income over the past three years is greater than what is known as the poverty level for a given family size. For folks who live outside the States this is sometimes a bit of a problem, but one that is usually overcome. For example, someone who is going to school here probably won't be able show the required level of income (unless of course, the student dutifully reported all that cash income from teaching english on his/her tax return faithfully filed every year [img]images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img] ). Another problem is the person working here who has been a bit negligent in reporting all income earned here and therefore won't be able to show income greater than the poverty level (a word to the wise, if an American plans to petition for someone else but has sort of neglected to file income tax while working in Taiwan, do what one post said - file amended returns. If your income is below US$70,000, you won't owe taxes. If you show up at AIT to petition someone, say you've been working here, but can't produce the past three years' tax returns, the interviewing officer will get cranky, really cranky). Anyway, for anyone who is petitioning for someone and who cannot meet the poverty guidelines, there is a solution. It is permissible to get a joint-sponsor, someone living in the States who will fill out an affidavit of support in support of someone else's petition.
For a person who enters the States as the spouse of an American citizen (i.e., they married before entering the States), the alien spouse is admitted to the States as a lawful permanent resident (conditional) and INS starts the paperwork immediately that results in issuance of the green card. I belive the drill is that person receives authorization from INS immediately to work. If the alien enters on a K visa, the alien doesn't obtain authorization to work until after marriage. As to how long it takes INS to process these types of cases, it does vary depending on which INS regional office handles the case. However, since 911 INS has put on a full-court press to chase terrorists and I'm sure these things take even longer now. If anyone really needs to know, call the INS office at the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong (the nearest INS office).