DOMA & Immigration: USCIS Begins Utilizing the Supreme Court's Decision

In the last week of June, the Supreme Court issued one of the most talked about decisions in the last century. Striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the court’s ruling was seen as a victory for marriage equality activists across the nation. However, the decision did more than just validate unions between same-sex couples in the United States. Now that the federal government no longer abides by the provisions of DOMA, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is able to accommodate same-sex couples seeking family-based immigration visas for spouses.

Before the Supreme Court’s decision, same-sex spouses married to foreign nationals were not able to sponsor one another the same way traditional couples could. However, now that DOMA is “dead”, same-sex couples have the same access to fiancée and marriage visas. In fact, two days after the Supreme Court released its decision, a Florida man and his Bulgarian partner became the first same-sex couple to be approved for a permanent resident visa. While this was a milestone in both the history of same-sex movements and immigration policy, the couple will not be the only to benefit from the Supreme Court’s decision.

The swiftness of approval from the USCIS was the Obama administration’s attempt to show its enthusiasm to cater to immigrant same-sex couples. In fact, the USCIS has publically stated that it will be actively accommodating to such individuals and even retroactively reviewing past petitions which had been denied because of DOMA. While this is good news for millions across the nation with same-sex spouses in other countries, it inevitably will result in a large volume of applications with the USCIS. If you are seeking to sponsor a foreign national spouse and want to learn more about how the Supreme Court’s decision effect’s your ability to do so, contact a New Jersey immigration attorney from our firm today.