Immigration Laws Regarding Same Sex Marriage

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In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark rulings on June 26, 2013 which provides constitutional validity under the equal protection clause to same-sex marriages, U.S. immigration officers will begin reviewing visa applications for same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens. Prior to this ruling, if a same-sex couple married in a state which permitsthem to marry, they were prohibited from taking advantage of the federal law allowing the foreign-born spouse of a U.S. citizen to apply for a work visa. These applications will no longer be routinely rejected based on the couple’s same-sex status. A study conducted in 2011 found that as many as 30,000 couples fall under the status of one being an American citizen, the other being a resident alien and both being the same sex.


Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, all immigration benefits which require marital relationship as a basis for the granting of a visa are now applicable to same-sex couples. A fiancé visa may be approved if it can be shown the foreign national is entering the United States for no other reason than to enter into a valid marriage with a United States citizen.  Just as with heterosexual couples, it must be proven to immigration officials that a marriage between the U.S. citizen and the same sex foreign national was not entered into for the sole reason of obtaining a green card. Proof of intent to establish a life together as well as a marriage of love and companionship must be shown. This can be a challenge if one of the parties in the same-sex marriage has not made public their sexual orientation. This can result in no evidence of a true marital relationship and denial of the petition due to lack of evidence.


Your path to obtaining a green card through a same-sex marriage to a U.S. citizen is now the same as that for a heterosexual couple. Of course approval is not automatic, nor is it guaranteed, and the same-sex couple will fall under the same heavy scrutiny to prove the marriage is legitimate and the marriage was not undertaken for the sole purpose of obtaining immigration benefits. 


As you can see, even though same-sex applications are now accepted, the process is still quite complex. It is definitely to your benefit to have a Sullo & Sullo attorney by your side from start to finish during the process. This will ensure there are no mistakes on any of the forms and that everything is submitted properly. Don’t risk being denied due to a simple mistake or a misstep during your interview. We want to help you change your future and realize your dreams—call Sullo & Sullo today for a free consultation.

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