In the realm of immigration law, if you’re in a same-sex marriage and want to obtain a visa for your partner, you may be wondering what legal pathways are available. It’s important to understand that in the eyes of the law, same-sex married couples are treated the same as different-sex married couples. Therefore, foreign spouses of U.S. citizens, including same-sex partners, are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence. However, specific nuances affect the process of obtaining a marriage-based green card. If you want to learn more about the immigration process of same-sex marriages, please continue reading and contact a trusted Middlesex County, New Jersey, Green Card Lawyer who can help you navigate this complex legal process.
Can I sponsor my same-sex partner for lawful permanent residence?
In the past, a law called the “Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)” dictated that a “marriage” was only between a man and a woman. This resulted in only heterosexual partners being permitted to petition for a green card for their foreign spouses. The Supreme Court’s Windsor v. United States federal marriage equality decisions in 2013 stipulates that U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications based on same-sex marriage in the same manner that they would adjudicate applications for opposite-gender spouses. Essentially, same-sex marriages are treated the same as heterosexual marriages for immigration purposes. This includes visas for work, study, international exchange, as a legal immigrant, or even sponsoring them for lawful permanent residence. Ultimately, any same-sex marriage legally recognized in the U.S. or the country where it occurred is valid for U.S. immigration purposes.
How can I apply for a green card based on same-sex marriage?
To obtain a green card, one must meet specific eligibility requirements. The U.S. citizen spouse must file Form I-130, Petition for the Immigrating Spouse of U.S. Citizen. After the petition has been filed, they will be burdened with providing that the marriage is legally valid where it occurred. It’s imperative to note that the U.S. recognizes same-sex marriages that were performed outside of the U.S. as long as they take place in a country that recognizes same-sex marriage.
Unfortunately, many countries still don’t recognize same-sex marriages. If this is the case, if you’re engaged to be married to a foreign national of the same sex, you can file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancè, and apply for a K-1 nonimmigrant visa. If you meet all the requirements, a same-sex engagement may allow your fiancè to enter the U.S. for the purpose of marriage. It’s crucial to avoid applying for a visa just to enter the U.S. to be with your partner, as it could be deemed visa fraud, resulting in the denial of lawful permanent residence.
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact an adept New Jersey immigration lawyer. At the Law Offices of Aditya Surti, LLC, we are prepared to help you face the unique hurdles when applying for a same-sex marriage green card.