Obtaining a Green Card Through Same Sex Marriage to a U.S. Citizen
On July 1, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which settled a major unresolved issue in the immigration reform debate by clearing the way for homosexual U.S. citizens to sponsor their foreign spouses for green cards.
Obtaining U.S. Residency Through Gay Marriage
Marriage to a U.S. citizen is a relatively fast method to becoming a legal resident in the United States. If you are seeking legal residency status through marriage to a U.S. citizen, the long waiting period to apply to other visa categories will not affect your case. However, the USCIS will not simply take your word that you are married. They will check to make sure that your marriage is bona fide and that you did not marry based on an immigration benefit.
If you are seeking permanent residency through marriage, it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced immigration attorney to guide you through the complex green card process.
The Supreme Court’s decision holding that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional prompted the president to direct the USCIS to review immigration visa petitions on behalf of same-sex spouses in the same manner as those filed on behalf of opposite-sex spouses.
In order for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to sponsor for a family-based immigrant visa, they will need to file Form I-130. The petition will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be denied as a result of the same-sex nature of the marriage.
This same benefit also applies to a citizen or legal resident who is engaged to be married to a foreign national of the same sex. As long as all other immigration requirements are met, a same-sex engagement may allow the foreign-born individual in the relationship to legally enter the United States for marriage
The citizen or legal resident that is engaged to be married to a foreigner can apply for a fiancé petition by filing Form I-129F. As long as all other immigration requirements are met, the same-sex engagement may allow the fiancé to legally enter the U.S. for marriage.
Married in a State That Recognizes Same-Sex Marriage, But Living in a State that Does Not
If a same-sex married couple was married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages but is currently living in a state that does not, they will not be barred from filing an immigrant visa petition. As a general matter, the law of the state where the marriage took place determines whether the marriage is bona fide for immigration purposes. Accordingly, the laws of the state where the couple is currently living will not bear on whether the USCIS will recognize their marriage as legal.
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For more information or to schedule a free consultation with our immigration attorney Michael S. Carrillo to discuss your immigration needs, please call Legalize Me toll free at 800.554.8778