Virginia LGBTQ Immigration Lawyer

Immigration opportunities have expanded for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) families in Virginia. After years of being denied the same rights as opposite gender couples, same-sex partners may now petition for their spouses to immigrate, as well as their children.

In addition, regardless of whether they seek to immigrate on the basis of family connection, job opportunities, or other eligibility factors, LGBTQ individuals are protected from discrimination in the process. However, it is not always easy to enforce rights and take advantage of opportunities.

If you need assistance with the immigration process, whether you are just seeking information or face difficulties with a petition or application already in progress, it is a good idea to consult a Virginia LGBTQ immigration lawyer. An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the process and help protect your rights.

Immigration Basics

In order to permanently live and work legally in the U.S., immigrants need a permanent visa, also referred to as an immigrant visa. Holding this type of visa enables an individual to obtain identification from the U.S. government establishing that they are a lawful permanent resident (LPR) of the U.S. These cards have traditionally been green, so someone with LPR status is said to have a Green Card.

The U.S. government may only issue a limited number of immigrant visas each year due to federal restrictions. Some of these visas are allocated to those with family connections in the U.S. while others are earmarked for workers with employment opportunities in the U.S. A few are designated for those seeking asylum and those with other special needs.

Because of the limitations, applicants often face significant delays before their applications are even considered. To avoid further delays and mistakes that can cause an application to be rejected, many applicants choose to work with a Virginia immigration lawyer who understands the unique issues that may arise during processing of LGBTQ applications.

Family Immigration

Changes in the law regarding immigration rights of LGBTQ applicants have the most bearing on family immigrant visas.

Spouses

Spouses of U.S. citizens and LPRs are eligible to apply for a visa on the basis of their connection, so now same-sex spouses have equal standing to apply for an immigrant visa. However, they must have been married in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes same-sex marriage.

If not, then a U.S. citizen may apply for a temporary fiancé(e) visa to bring a non-citizen partner to the U.S. so they can be legally married. A Virginia LGBTQ immigration lawyer may be able to assist in demonstrating the validity of a marriage.

Children

Unmarried children of U.S. citizens and LPRs are also eligible to apply for an immigrant visa, and this includes stepchildren. The recognition of same-sex marriages extends to include the children of a same-sex spouse who becomes part of the family of a U.S. citizen or LPR based on marriage.

Let a Virginia Immigration Attorney Assist You

Proving many of the qualifications for immigration eligibility can be difficult, and these difficulties may be compounded in situations involving a same-sex marriage. A determined attorney knows how to work with those who may face immigration issues as a result of being part of the LGBTQ community.

Immigration law is complex, and mistakes can jeopardize opportunities. For help protecting your rights and your future, call a Virginia LGBTQ immigration lawyer for a consultation to learn how legal representation can make a difference in your case.