What if the petitioner is a permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen?

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The foreign spouse of a permanent resident is not considered an immediate relative. As such, once received the marriage petition will remain at the NVC until such time as an immigrant visa number is available. Once an immigrant visa number is available, the marriage petition and all other documentation will be forwarded to the U.S. embassy or consulate nearest your spouse’s foreign residence. The wait time for an immigrant visa to become available is significantly longer that if the petition is filed by a U.S. citizen.