Same-Sex Couple Green Cards
Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States and is recognized by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A same-sex couple is legally entitled to apply for a green card or a K-1 visa under the same qualifications as a different-sex couple. However, it is important that the green card applicant was married in a country where same-sex marriage is recognized by United States law as a legal marriage for immigration purposes.
Green Cards and Same-Sex Couples
In the United States, same-sex spouses and their children are entitled to apply for a green card under the same qualifications as the main or any other green card applicant. When the United States Supreme Court ended DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, USCIS immigration guidelines were updated:
President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”
A foreign-born member of a same-sex couple can be sponsored for a green card, based on marriage:
- if the couple is legally married (it doesn’t matter in what country as long as that country recognizes same-sex marriage) to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- if the immigrant is not married to someone else at the same time
- if the immigrant is not married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident who already has another wife or husband
Sponsoring a Same-Sex Fiancé for a K-1 Visa
To qualify for a K-visa, immigrants must meet special criteria and take specific actions once in the United States.
1. No one can apply for a K-1 visa on his or her own. Only a United States citizen who is currently engaged to a non-citizen may initiate the fiancé visa application process.
2. The immigrant and the sponsoring citizen fiancé(e) must get married no more than 90 days after the immigrant’s entry into the United States. Couples who are already married, who plan to marry outside the United States, or for situations where the fiancé(e) already legally lives in the United States cannot pursue a K-1 visa.
3. The two people must have met each other in person at least once over the past two years and be legally free to marry.
An experienced green card or K-1 visa lawyer can help to determine a same-sex couple’s eligibility for the K-visa program, and the steps to take. Mario Godoy and the other immigration attorneys at the Godoy Law Office can assess your situation and advise you on your best options. Call today at 855-554-6369.