D.C. Same-Sex Spouse Immigration Lawyer

Contact a DC same sex spouse immigration lawyer if you or your partner are seeking a legal path of entry into the United States. An experienced and passionate DC same-sex immigration attorney can help you to compile all the necessary information to submit your application.

DC family immigration lawyer can make sure you are aware of all options that are available to you, as well as their potential pitfalls, and can advocate for you.

What the DOMA Decision Means for You

The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has put an end to years of waiting for thousands of same-sex couples who wish to petition for immigration benefits for their spouses.

The DOMA decision means that same-sex couples should be eligible for all benefits previously awarded only to heterosexual spouses, so it will open the door for legalization for a variety of different people. Waivers are available for some applicants with criminal records, and in some cases for those who entered the U.S. without inspection. If an individual is interested in learning more about petitioning for their immigrant spouse, contact a D.C. same-sex spouse immigration lawyer.

Janet Napolitano, former Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, issued an announcement regarding the DOMA decision on July 3, 2013:

Follow the link for more information on USCIS’s change in policy following the Supreme Court’s decision.

Overview of Same Sex Spouse Immigration

Since the death of DOMA in 2013, same-sex couples with one foreign partner have been able to enjoy the same rights and responsibilities in the realm of immigration law as heterosexual couples.  The ability for a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident or other visa holders to petition for a same-sex spouse extends to all realms of immigration law.  It allows them to apply for their spouses as derivatives for a number of different non-immigrant statuses like the U visa, and allows citizens and permanent residents to apply for “green cards” for their spouses.  The ability for same-sex couples to legally marry under federal law also helps individuals who are in removal (deportation) proceedings, because same-sex spouses now count as immediate relatives. This is important for certain types of relief from removal such as “Cancellation of Removal” under INA section 42B, which requires the applicant to have a “qualifying relative” such as a spouse, parent, or child who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

Filing a Petition For a Same-Sex Fiance

The U.S. citizen would file the petition for their fiancé(e) in the same manner as a petitioner engaged to a person of the opposite sex. The petitioner files an I-129F and follows its guidelines requiring the evidence of a meeting within the last two years before filing, evidence of eligibility to enter into marriage, and evidence of the petitioner’s U.S. citizen.  After approval, the beneficiary will be contacted by NVC to submit required documents, attend a consular interview, and then the beneficiary will be issued a K-1 visa.

If an I-130 petition or an I-130/I-485 concurrent filing was denied by USCIS because of DOMA, the petitioner and the beneficiary should contact USCIS so that USCIS can re-open the petition and reconsider the denial in light of the Supreme Court decision overturning DOMA.

It is a good idea to have a DC same-sex spouse immigration lawyer for all types of spousal petitions, especially for K visas, which often do not have a tremendous amount of documentary evidence to prove the bona fides of the relationship available. If someone is just a fiancée and not a spouse, they may not have ever lived with their partner, much less have things like joint bank accounts, shared insurance policies, or other documents proving a real relationship to submit to USCIS.  In these cases, it is important for the person to be creative and very thorough about the evidence they choose to submit. Even if they do not have a lengthy paper trail documenting their relationship, it is still the person’s responsibility to prove that you are not in it solely for immigration purposes.

Sponsoring a Same-Sex Spouse

Petitions filed by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident who is in a same sex marriage are adjudicated in the same manner as those filed by individuals in opposite sex marriages. The petitioner must file an I-130 and then, if the spouse is abroad, go through consular processing.  If the beneficiary is in the United States, the beneficiary may concurrently file Form I-485, but only if the beneficiary meets all the criteria for adjustment, including having a lawful entry.

The Path to Citizenship for Same-Sex Spouses

The path to citizenship for same-sex spouses is now the same as for individuals in heterosexual marriages.  Each person’s path is different, but the most traditional family-based track is having the U.S.  Citizen or LPR spouse petition for the immigrant spouse, and then applying either for adjustment of status if they are here in the U.S., or for consular processing through a U.S. embassy or consulate if they are abroad.

There is nothing different about the application process for same-sex spouses. All that has changed is that the new definition of spouse for purposes of immigration law includes both same sex and heterosexual couples.

Speaking With a DC Same Sex Spouse Immigration Lawyer

Just as marriage between opposite sex couples, a DC same-sex spouse immigration lawyer who can help guide the petitioner and the beneficiary through the process of providing the detailed information requested by the forms, assist in organizing the documents necessary to ensure the approval of the petition.  An attorney will also ensure that derivatives are properly included in the applications. Beneficiaries with possible inadmissibility bars should seek the assistance of an experienced attorney to ensure that a waiver is granted to permit the beneficiary to immigrate. Contact a same-sex spouse immigration lawyer who can work tirelessly to build your case.

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