I am in a same-sex marriage, can I sponsor my spouse for a Green Card?
Yes! It is possible to sponsor your same-sex spouse for a marriage based green card. This is opportunity was made available after the United States Supreme Court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutionally denying same-sex legally married couples Federal Benefits, including the ability to sponsor an individual’s spouse for a marriage-based green card. Since June 26, 2013, all Federal Agencies have implemented the reformed immigration laws regarding same-sex married couples’ immigration petitions, as overseen by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security. If you need help petitioning for your spouse, contact our experienced immigration and visa attorneys at our Los Angeles law firm.
Our law office is LGBT-friendly and strive to have all of our clients comfortable. Please see our advertisement on the Gay and Lesbian Yellow Pages, as well.
Frequently Asked Questions when Petitioning for a Same Sex Spouse
I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign spouse. Can I sponsor my spouse for an immigrant visa?
United States citizens and lawful permanent residents may now submit a Petition for Alien Relative to apply for an immigrant visa. The eligibility to petition for the spouse and the spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant during the adjustment of status or immigrant visa stage will be determined according to U.S. immigration law. Subsequent to the new immigration laws, you will not be denied due to the same-sex marriage. All same-sex marriages are recognized federally now and will be treated equally as opposite sex marriages.
The same standards for determining if a relationship is an honest marriage are upheld for both same sex and opposite sex marriages. You and your spouse will need to prove that the marriage is bona fide, to be eligible for immigration benefits. For more information on how to do that, please read more in our section specifically on proving that your same sex marriage is bona fide.
Read more on the top 5 reasons that a same sex marriage green card application might be rejected. We provide strategic advice to non-citizens and U.S. citizen spouses to help them get the most benefit from the green card application process. For help with your green card or immigrant visa, call or email JCS Immigration and Visa Services. Our experienced gay immigration and green card attorneys are ready to help you achieve your family’s dream.
I am a United States citizen and I am engaged to a same-sex foreign national partner. Can I file a K-1 fiancé(e) visa for him or her?
The Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) may be filed in order to petition for an alien fiancé(e) of the same-sex. As long as all of the other immigration requirements (such as admissibility) are met, a same-sex engagement to a U.S. citizen will allow for a K-1 fiancé(e) visa to enter the United States for marriage and eventually adjustment of status for the non-citizen beneficiary. Our Los Angeles immigration lawyers aim to provide respectful and personalized assistance in same-sex marriage green card applications, contact our friendly staff today.
My spouse and I got married in a U.S. state that performs same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that doesn’t recognize the marriage. Can I file a petition for an immigrant visa for my gay spouse?
When USCIS evaluates the validity of the marriage of the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident petitioner, generally, the laws of the State or place where the marriage took place is all that matters. As long as the State, territory or foreign country that performed the marriage recognizes it then it is valid for U.S. immigration law. An individual may live in a State that does not accept gay marriages as legal and still file for his or her alien spouse. Immigration laws can be tricky to navigate and we strongly encourage you contact us now for a free consultation with our LGBT-friendly immigration lawyer.
Questions about previously submitted application and petitions for same-sex couples
My Form I-130 or other petition was previously denied solely due to DOMA, what can I do now?
Due to the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June 2013, USCIS will reopen previously submitted petitions and applications that were denied solely based on this reasoning. If a case is known or brought to the attention of USCIS by an experienced lawyer, USCIS has stated that they will reconsider the prior decision. USCIS has also promised that there will be no fees required to request USCIS reconsideration and reopening of a previously filed petition that was denied solely due to the provisions of DOMA.
The Los Angeles immigration attorneys at JCS Immigration and Visa Services do not anticipate cases filed before February 23, 2011 being reopened. However, if you have any questions or concerns about whether your case can be reconsidered, contact our dedicated immigration lawyers for your free initial consultation.
Changes in Eligibility for Certain Applications Based on Same-Sex Marriage
Since DOMA has been struck down, what immigration benefits other than for immediate relatives and family-preference has changed?
Now that U.S. immigration law recognizes gay marriages, eligibility for a wide range of benefits are available. This includes noncitizens who are accompanying a spouse of the principal immigrant on an immigrant visa, or on certain non-immigrant visas. An F-1 student who is in a same-sex marriage may now bring his or her spouse with them to the U.S. on an F-2 visa that previously was only available to heterosexual married couples.
In all cases, whether family-sponsored, employment-sponsored and even in asylum cases, same-sex marriages will be treated as equal to opposite-sex marriages. We offer a free initial consultation that will give you a good opportunity to understand your immigration options and choose the right path for you. Call or email our experienced Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys today.
Can same-sex marriage to a U.S. citizen reduce the residence period required to become a U.S. citizen?
Same-sex married couples may also enjoy the benefits of a reduced required period of residence in order to apply for naturalization. Currently, the waiting period is identical to the 3 year provision for straight married couples. The other requirements for naturalization eligibility all remain the same.
Read more about applying for naturalization here.