DC LGBTQ Family Immigration Lawyer

LGBTQ families now have the same immigration rights as other families, thanks to recent changes in immigration policy. Unfortunately, while those changes opened opportunities for families with same-sex marriages, the changes did not make the process of seeking an immigrant visa any less complicated. In fact, sometimes proving the validity of a same-sex marriage adds another layer of difficulty.

Many applicants find it helpful to work with a dedicated DC LGBTQ family immigration lawyer to help protect their rights. A knowledgeable immigration attorney can oversee the process to help ensure that deadlines are met, and requirements fulfilled to reduce the chance of delay or denial of an application.

Same-Sex Marriages

Marriage provides the basis for many of the relationships involved in family immigration situations, and marriage relates to other relationships even if it does not always form the basis of those relationships. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, the State Department responded by ordering embassies and consulates to judge visa applications based on same-sex marriage on the same footing as applications involving opposite gender marriages.

This change enables U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to petition for the immigration of spouses of the same gender. In addition, if the spouse has children, the children are eligible to apply for a visa as well. However, the marriage must have been recognized as legal in the jurisdiction where it was performed. A Washington DC LGBTQ family immigration lawyer can help demonstrate the validity of the marriage or assist with obtaining a fiancé(e) visa so that a legal marriage may be performed in the U.S.

Immigrant Visas

To become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. with a Green Card, an immigrant needs to obtain an immigrant visa. The government issues immigrant visas in limited numbers annually in most categories.

However, visas issued to immediate relatives are not subject to an annual quota. So, if possible, an LGBTQ family immigration lawyer in Washington, DC will assist clients in demonstrating eligibility for an immediate relative visa.

Immediate Relatives

When the government refers to immediate relative visas, it only considers immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, not immediate relatives of lawful permanent residents (LPRs). However, sometimes after an applicant has started the process, the spouse or parent who petitioned on their behalf achieves citizenship. This will increase the priority factor of their application. Accordingly, a DC LGBTQ family immigration lawyer will help notify the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of this change in status.

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens include spouses (both those of the same gender and those of opposite gender); unmarried children and stepchildren under the age of 21; and parents of U.S. citizens over 21.

Family Preference Visas

Family relationships that do not qualify for immediate relative status may still provide eligibility for an immigrant visa. However, these family preference visas are limited annually, so applicants often must wait long periods before a visa becomes available.

Family preference visas are granted in the following order of priority:

  • F1: Unmarried adult children of U.S. citizens (and their minor children)
  • F2: Spouses and unmarried children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs)
  • F3: Married children of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children
  • F4: Brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens and their spouses and minor children

A DC LGBTQ family immigration lawyer can assist with ensuring that an application provides sufficient evidence to demonstrate the necessary family connection.

How a DC LGBTQ Family Immigration Attorney Can Help

While family immigration policies can enable families to stay together or be reunited, the process of obtaining the necessary visas can be lengthy and frustrating. Delays are not uncommon, and it can be difficult to ascertain whether a delay is due to backlogs or caused by a factor which can be remedied, such as missing or incorrect information.

A knowledgeable Washington DC LGBTQ family immigration lawyer can assist with addressing problems in the visa application process or provide guidance right from the start to help avoid difficulties. To learn how an immigration attorney can assist in your situation, call now.

DC LGBTQ Immigration Lawyer