If someone entered the U.S. without being inspected by an immigration official, that person has been present unlawfully and accruing unlawful presence from the day they entered. That person becomes “inadmissible”. For as long as someone is deemed “inadmissible” that person cannot be granted a visa or a green card in the United States. However, because the law bars re-entry for so many years (10 years if the person has accrued unlawful presence of more than 180 days), many individuals do not feel safe leaving the U.S. even if they are otherwise eligible for a green card. Fortunately, such individuals may be eligible for a 601A provisional waiver.
If a foreign national marries a U.S. citizen, the foreign national becomes an immediate relative of the U.S. spouse and may be able to apply for U.S. permanent residency as a result of the marital relationship.
US citizens and permanent residents can sponsor foreign national spouses through a petition for a Green Card by marriage. US citizens can sponsor spouses as “immediate relatives.” For immediate relatives, visa numbers are available immediately, which means that there is no need to wait for a visa number to become available. As soon as the U.S citizen’s petition is approved, a visa number is made available and the foreign spouse can apply for a US Green Card.