For some lawful residents of the United States, having a spouse come to the country to live with them is a top priority. People who have a green card and those who are U.S. citizens can file an application for a spousal visa if they are legally married. Visa applications for spouses are given a high priority in this country.
How does a U.S. citizen apply for a visa for their spouse?
A U.S. citizen must fill out an immigration visa petition and pay the filing fee. As soon as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services approves the Form I-130, your spouse will get an invitation to apply for the visa. Your spouse would then complete the process at a U.S. consulate. There is no waiting list for spouses of U.S. citizens who are trying to come to the U.S.
How does a legal permanent resident apply for a visa for their spouse?
The process is almost the same as that of a U.S. citizen except there is a waiting period that applies for spouses of legal permanent residents. You would fill out the Form I-130 and pay the fee. Your spouse would then be placed on a waiting list for an immigrant visa number. In some cases, the wait can be two years or longer.
There are several other factors that can affect your spouse's ability to come into the U.S. and your spouse's ability to legally remain here. It is best to ensure you fully understand how the process will work in your case before you try to get a visa that allows your spouse to live in the U.S.
Source: FindLaw, "Spouse Immigration," accessed Sep. 03, 2015