For many years, a federal law known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented same-sex partners from enjoying the same immigration rights as heterosexual couples. Everything changed in 2013 when the United States Supreme Court struck down DOMA, opening the doors for same-sex couples to pursue lawful permanent residency as heterosexual couples have done for years.
There are now viable options for the same-sex spouse of a U.S. citizen to obtain a visa and become a lawful permanent resident. Let a skilled attorney help you throughout the process and increase your chances of success. A Wheaton same-sex marriage visa lawyer could review your circumstances and advise you on your legal rights.
Understanding K-1 Visas
The K-1 Visa allows non-citizens to enter the United States and get married. With the decision to overturn DOMA, the Supreme Court opened the door for same-sex couples to also make use of K-1 visas. However, there are still strict requirements that each partner must meet for a K-1 visa to be a viable option.
Importantly, both parties must be able to legally enter into a marriage. For example, a person who is already legally married or is not old enough to marry is not eligible for a K-1 visa. An experienced attorney in Wheaton could advise a same-sex couple on whether a K-1 visa is a viable option. In many cases, it could be the most direct path for a U.S. citizen to legally bring his or her future spouse into the country.
The Process of Pursuing a Visa for a Same-Sex Fiancé
Once a same-sex couple decides it is time to marry and bring the non-resident partner to the United States, there are several steps both parties must take. This process begins with gathering necessary documents and establishing that the relationship is legitimate.
Just like with heterosexual couples, the federal government will take steps to prevent a person from entering the United States for the purpose of entering into a sham marriage. This is often done by reviewing correspondence between the couple, interviewing friends and family, and evaluating other relevant documents to determine that there is an actual romantic relationship involved. As far as documentation is concerned, the spouse that seeks to sponsor his or her partner must also provide documents proving citizenship.
Filing Documents for a Same-Sex Marriage Visa
The next step after compiling these documents is to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are fees associated with this process. Additionally, an applicant must provide a variety of records, including a criminal background check, proof of income, and medical exam information.
Visa Interview for an LGBT Couple
Once all documents are provided, an interview is in order. This interview is typically done in person at the consulate office. Following the interview and upon acceptance, the spouse will have 90 days to marry once they arrive in the United States. A same-sex marriage visa lawyer in Wheaton could advise on each of these steps.
Talk to a Wheaton Same-Sex Marriage Visa Attorney
Whether you are a U.S. resident or seeking a visa in order to marry a citizen, you may benefit greatly from the guidance of an attorney. The right legal counsel could explain the visa application and help you better understand the process.
Let a Wheaton same-sex marriage visa lawyer prepare you for every step of the legal proceedings. To get started, call and set up a confidential consultation today.