Contact the LGBT Immigration Experts!
Specializing in all Gay, Lesbian and Transgender U.S. immigration matters – We are a voice in the community screaming “KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!”. Our firm specializes in all LGBT immigration matters including: marriage petition assistance, battered spouse visas, immigration for gay, lesbian and transgendered people seeking assistance after entering the U.S. without inspection as well as a spouse (K-3) and fiancé (K-1) visas for same-sex couples seeking a green card.
On June 26th, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), 1 U.S.C. § 7, to be an unconstitutional exercise of federal authority and a violation of the equal protection guarantee of the United States Constitution. Pursuant to this ruling, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now views gay and lesbian marriages between U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (“green card holders”) and non-citizens as sufficient to confer immigration benefits. Therefore, for immigration purposes, as long as your marriage is valid in the state or country in which you were married, you are permitted to apply for federal immigration benefits. American citizens who are in same-sex relationships with non-citizens have U.S. immigration rights equal to heterosexual bi-national couples and may apply for their benefits accordingly.
Get your spouse the immigration assistance they need. Our office specializes in assisting gay and lesbian couples, we help gay, lesbian and transgendered people who have entered the U.S. without inspection. We assist same-sex couples with applying for the K-3 spouse visa or a K-1 fiancé visa. No matter where you live in the USA or even if you live abroad, we can assist you and your loved one with your US Immigration matter.
FAQs for Binational LGBT Couples
Can I apply for my partner’s green card now?
Yes.The Supreme Court struck down DOMA in June, thus affording LGBT families the same immigration rights as heterosexual families. Gay and lesbian couples may now petition for their spouse or fiancé/e’s green card.
What if I don’t live in a state with marriage equality, can I still apply for a green card?
Yes.You do not need to be a resident to marry in the states that permit same-sex marriage, as long as the marriage is valid and considered to be legal in either the state or country where your marriage was performed. You do not have to reside in a state with marriage equality; even if you reside in a state that does not permit same-sex marriage you are still entitled to the federal immigration benefits granted through marriage.
My husband/wife and I have a Canadian marriage license does that count?
Yes.Gay and lesbian marriages preformed in Canada are permitted and valid. As long as the marriage is deemed valid in the country where you entered into it, the marriage is acceptable for U.S. immigration purposes.
We have children. How does the DOMA decision affect them?
If the children are non-U.S. Citizens, and are the biological children of your spouse, you can now petition for them as “step-children”, in the same manner as any heterosexual couple would. At the time you petition for your spouse’s green card, you may also include a petition for each child as well. Therefore, your spouse and children would likely become legal permanent residents at the same time. This will probably provide the most efficient way to obtain their green cards. You and your partner must have married before the child turned 18, and the child must currently be under 21 and unmarried in order to get a green card at the same time as the parent’s marriage-based green card. If this is not the case, you may be able to apply for the children separately but the process will take longer.
My partner is here on a work visa. Is a marriage-based visa better?
It depends.Work visas, like the H-1B or H-2B visas are generally tied to the employer who petitioned your partner, which does not allow your partner to change employers easily. With work visas, the visa must also be renewed after a certain amount of time.
On the contrary, for marriage-based visa petitions, your partner will be filing for Legal Permanent Residence (commonly known as a green card). Once your partner has their green card, they can effectively work for any employer of their choosing or even open their own business. With marriage-based petitions the opportunities are not as limited as with work or employer-based visas, so there is much more flexibility. Lastly, one added benefit of being a being a legal permanent resident (green card holder) is that green card holders can apply for their U.S. citizenship after a few years and eventually can also petition for legal permanent resident status for their family members back home.
I am undocumented, my partner is a U.S. Citizen. Can we apply?
Yes, under most circumstances.If you were admitted into the United States, and later accrued unlawful presence, or worked unlawfully for example, your U.S. citizen spouse can petition for your green card. If you entered the States without inspection then your same-sex spouse or fiancé/e can still petition for your green card, but you will need to have an inadmissibility waiver approved before you will be eligible for your green card. You will need to consult with Attorney Kinsella in order determine if this route is the best choice for your particular situation.
My same-sex spouse has been approved for a non-immigrant visa. Can I travel with him/her?
Yes. All same-sex couples with a valid marriage are permitted to file for their dependents (spouse and/or children) for all non-immigrant visas. For example, a spouse of an L-1A visa holder would be in L-2 classification. The L-2 is permitted to either travel to the States with the L-1 or to join them later. The L-2 is permitted to go to school and even apply for work authorization while their spouse holds valid L-1 status.