U.S. Immigration law allows for the immigration of foreigners to the U.S based on a relationship to a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident. An overseas national married to a U.S. citizen is in immigration law terminology referred to as an “immediate relative”.
Along with the U.S. citizen spouse, all unmarried children of the couple under the age of 21 years fall into this category. The parents of a U.S. citizen also qualify as an immediate relative provided the U.S. citizen is over 21 years of age. There are no waiting periods or quotas for persons in this category. As such qualified applicants do not have to spend time waiting for their priority date to become current once the petition is approved by the USCIS.
A marriage based visa or green card is also available to anyone who is living in a foreign country, married to a U.S. permanent resident and whose marriage is real and regally valid. To qualify for this visa, a spouse or child (under age 21 years) of a U.S. lawful permanent resident must meet all of the following criteria. Unlike the spouse of a U.S. citizen, a spouse of a permanent resident is subject to a waiting period or quota.