FAQs

Why does the foreign spouse of a permanent resident wait longer to obtain permanent residence than the foreign spouse of a U.S. citizen?

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The foreign spouse of a permanent resident (as opposed to a U.S. citizen) is not considered an immediate relative. An immediate relative is the spouse, child (unmarried person under 21 years of age) or parent (if a U.S. citizen, must be at least 21 years old) of a U.S. citizen. There is no limit on the number of immigrant visas or permanent residence cards issued to immediate relatives. There is a limit on the number of immigrant visas or permanent residence cards issued to foreign spouses of permanent residents. As such, the wait time for permanent residence for foreign spouses of permanent residents is significantly longer than for foreign spouses of a U.S. citizen.