Bringing Your Same Sex Spouse to Live in the United States as Permanent Resident.
Common concerns gay and lesbian couples may have with green card applications
1- FIRST AND FOR MOST, IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD THROUGH A SAME SEX MARRIAGE?
YES! Lesbian and gay married couples can in fact apply for a marriage-based green card if one partner is a U.S. citizen or green card holder.
You may file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.
2- I AM A U.S. CITIZEN WHO IS ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED TO A FOREIGNER OF THE SAME SEX. CAN I FILE A FIANCÉ OR FIANCÉE PETITION FOR HIM OR HER?
Yes. A same-sex engagement may allow your fiancé to enter the United States for marriage.
If you are a U.S. citizen, once you file Form I-130, your spouse is eligible to apply for a nonimmigrant K-3 visa. This will entitle him or her to come to the United States to live and work while the visa petition is pending. To petition for this benefit, file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e). Note that you are not required to file Form I-129F. Your spouse may wait abroad for immigrant visa processing. However, seeking a K-3 visa can be an additional method for him or her to come to the United States. For more information, see the K-3/K-4 Nonimmigrant Visas page.
If you are a permanent resident and you have filed Form I-130 for your spouse and/or minor children on or before Dec. 21, 2000, your spouse and/or children may be eligible for the V visa classification if more than three years have passed since the I-130 was filed. For more information on V visas, see the V Nonimmigrant Visas page.
3- WHAT IS THE REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION TO APPLY FOR A SAME SEX MARRIAGE BASED PERMANENT RESIDENCY?
First, Get married. Perhaps this is obvious, but to qualify for a family-based green card, you must be legally married. And then to complete the process, the petitioner must submit:
- Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative (signed with proper fee), with all required documentation, including:
- A copy of your civil marriage certificate
- A copy of all divorce decrees, death certificates, or annulment decrees that demonstrate that all previous marriages entered into by you and/or your spouse were terminated
- Passport style photos of you and your spouse (see Form I-130 instructions for photo requirements)
- Evidence of all legal name changes for you and/or your spouse (may include marriage certificates, divorce decrees, court judgment of name change, adoption decrees, etc.)
- If you are a U.S. citizen, you must demonstrate your status with:
- A copy of your valid U.S. passport OR
- A copy of your U.S. birth certificate OR
- A copy of Consular Report of Birth Abroad OR
- A copy of your naturalization certificate OR
- A copy of your certificate of citizenship
- If you are a Green Card holder (permanent resident), you must demonstrate your status with:
- A copy (front and back) of Form I-551 (Green Card) OR
- A copy of your foreign passport bearing a stamp showing temporary evidence of permanent residence
ARE THERE ANY EXTRA STEPS WE HAVE TO TAKE?
More than what a married opposite-sex couple has to do? No. But getting a green card is a long, complex process, so try to be patient.
The Burgos and Associates Bilingual Immigration attorneys can guide you through the steps and help with your same sex marriage based green card application.
The marriage-based green card application process can be tedious and although marriage equality is now the law of the land, there may still be some confusion about prior petitions that were denied or other administrative hurdles. Working with a bilingual attorney, especially one that already has experience helping same-sex couples get green cards, can help your petition be successful. Get your green card process started today by setting up your appointing with us at (504)-488-3722 or fill out our online contact form