If the immigrant has already obtained his U.S. citizenship before the marriage, then the spouse can migrate to the U.S. immediately as there is no limited quota for the spouse of a U.S. citizen. However, it may still take about nine months to a year to complete all the formalities. A U.S. citizen may also sponsor a fiancé/e, but must marry him/her within ninety days of the alien fiancé/e’s arrival into the United States.
Legal Permanent Residents (Green Card Holders)
If the immigrant is a legal permanent resident (Green Card holder), he/she may also sponsor his/her spouse, but this is subject to a quota that is heavily oversubscribed resulting in a long wait, before the alien spouse can emigrate. It is not possible for a green card holder to sponsor a fiancé/e.
H-1B Visa Holders
It is actually easier for a holder of an H-1B visa to marry and bring his/her spouse to the U.S. than it is for a legal permanent resident. This is because, the H-1B visa, being a temporary non-immigrant visa allows the holder’s spouse (and children under 21, if any) to be issued an H-4 visa that would enable him/her/them to come to the U.S. immediately. The H-1B visa allows for ‘dual intent’, i.e. a person may enter the U.S. on a temporary basis and then lawfully apply for permanent residence. Therefore, once the individual obtains his/her permanent residence status, the foreign spouse also obtains it derivatively.