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Need to file tax returns
For the past three years.
Will need Form 2555 and Form 1040 to get the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (92,900 USD), attach XXX, including the W-7 and required documents for Jodi's ITIN.

Non-American Spouse: US Tax Implications :: American Citizens Abroad (ACA) -
Go with option 1, file married/jointly.

How to File Your Expatriate Tax Return as an American Living Abroad -
Has some relevant info.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About International Individual Tax Matters -
Straight from the horse's mouth, pretty good info here.

☐ Look into what documentation is required for filing 1040 + 2555.
☐ Print tax forms.
☐ Look into state (CA) tax requirements; does Jodi need a state tax ID number?

Need to get an immigrant visa for Jodi
Immigrant visa for a Spouse of a U.S. Citizen (IR1 or CR1) - An immigrant Petition for Alien Relative, Form I-130 is required. This is the right kind of visa for us.
Type of Visa: Immediate Relative and Family Preference Applications - $230 / RMB 1472
IR-1 (immediate relative) visa is for us because we've been married for more than 2 years, and thus will get a 10-year green card on arrival. CR-1 is "conditional permanent resident".
A comparison of DCF with the "long" route of getting an IR-1/CR-1 visa. DCF ~3 months, "long" route ~10 months. With DCF, could start after CNY 2014. Also has total cost ~$950. (will be more, with travel for docs/filing)
First step is the I-130 petition to start the immigrant visa process. Fee is $420.
Will I also need to submit a G-325A form? Biographical info. Look into this.
Start by paying the filing fee in Shanghai, which can issue a receipt but cannot accept the petition. That needs to go to...
Next, continue in Beijing by filing the I-130 with DHS.

Wait times between NOA201b and P3 for DCF - General Visa Discussion & First Steps - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -

Typical documents for the I-864

  • IRS Returns or tax transcripts for past 3 years, transcripts are preferable and free from IRS

  • Pay stubs gong back 6 months.

  • Employer letter.

  • A professional such as a doctor if self employed probably would provide a couple bank statements showing pay deposits, and perhaps a letter indicating self employed,

  • Proof of Citizenship or residency in the USA

P3 documents

Wait times between NOA201b and P3 for DCF - General Visa Discussion & First Steps - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -

  • Marriage cert

  • UK Birth cert

  • Any divorce certs

  • Police certs

  • I-864 (Petitioner and joint sponsor) Petitioner also has to show maintaining a Domicile in the states, (Parent's home, Mail, Bills, Bank statements Driver's license addressed to Domicile)

  • The originals of any documents that were submitted as copies with the I-130.

Affidavit of Support - what exactly is needed - Consulate Process: P-3 ~ Interview - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -

The recommended financial evidence for Affidavit of support.

  • Past 3 years Tax returns (Photo copy of 1040+W2 and/or 1099) OR Past 3 years IRS Tax Transcripts which can be ordered for FREE here:

  • Employer letter, (Basically, your employer letter should state "To whom it may concern: (first name,last name) has been employed full-time with the XYZ Company since 200_ as a (name of your job), and is an employee in good standing with an annual salary of $XXXX. Signed, John Doe, Supervisor (or whatever title)" The letter should be on company letterhead.)

  • Recent pay stubs going back at least 6 months.

Sleeper to Guangzhou is RMB 350-400. If we file as Shanghai residents, we'd go to BJ. If as Hunan residents, we'd go to GZ.
At some point, the P3 packet will come from Guangzhou and need to be mailed back with support documents, then P4 with a time scheduled for the interview. Previews of P3 and P4 are at this link.
We may have a problem getting a birth certificate for Jodi; this post has relevant info:

In rare cases, a birth certificate may be unobtainable because records have been destroyed or the government will not issue one. In such cases, you should obtain a statement to that effect from the civil registrar’s office and proceed to obtain secondary evidence of birth. A baptismal certificate may be submitted for consideration provided the certificate contains the date and place of the applicant’s birth and information concerning parentage and provided the baptism took place shortly after birth. An officer may also consider a notarized statement, by a close relative, preferably the applicant’s parent, giving the place and date of the applicant’s birth, the names of both parents and the maiden name of the mother. An official authorized to administer oaths of affirmations must execute the statement. In such cases, bring all possible evidence concerning the birth.
The translated/notarized birth certificate can be had in Changsha at the .
It's possible that it can also be had in Yueyang, must contact the 湖南省岳阳市岳阳楼区公证处, emphasize that we need the 涉外公证 (translation+notarization).
Here is a list of documents that suggests is may in fact be possible in Yueyang.

Success stories
Here's a person in almost exactly my situation, only he mailed his I-130 to Beijing, which isn't possible anymore (this is from 2009).

Interview Success - Our DCF Journey - Interview Results - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -
Here's a similar person who was successful more recently, but details not all useful. Still looking for that one I remember...

From DCF to GZ Blue: Our story - Interview Results - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -
The visa-application-process-description to trump all others! Has the definitive list of documents for the Guangzhou interview, thought good to supplement it with the info I have above.

March Interview - Passed - Interview Results - U.S. Immigration for Chinese Loved Ones -
Another good one.