How Does the Permanent Residency Process Begin for My Spouse Who is Outside of the U.S.?

  • A petition is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requesting that USCIS notify a U.S. Consulate in the country where your spouse lives.


  • Once approved, spouses of U.S. citizens may apply immediately for an immigrant visa without waiting for a visa to become available; however, spouses of permanent residents must wait for a visa to become available.


  • The National Visa Center of the U.S. State Department will send forms that must be completed and processed in order for the foreign spouse to apply for an immigrant visa at the U.S. Consulate.

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