LGBT IMMIGRATION LAWYER IN NEW JERSEY
Fiancé Visas & Green Cards for Same-Sex Couples
Major legal changes have provided new immigration benefits to same-sex married couples. Undocumented same-sex spouses now have access to immigration benefits that were previously only available to heterosexual couples. If one spouse is already a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a couple may use their marital status to obtain a visa or green card for the other spouse through either an adjustment of status or a I-601 A waiver process.
If you are seeking to help your partner obtain a visa or green card, do not hesitate to reach out to The Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett, Esq., P.C. Our same sex marriage immigration lawyer has helped clients throughout New Jersey since 1987 and he is prepared to guide you through the application process.
Fiancé K-1 VISA Eligibility
Spouses of same-sex marriage are now eligible for K-1 fiancé visas and K-3 spouse visas. For each of these visas, the applicants will have to show satisfactory proof to the USCIS that the relationship is valid and not one entered into for the purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit. We recommend gathering evidence for example, plane tickets, passport stamps, travel itineraries, copies of communication (emails, letters, text messages, etc.), as well as declarations from friends or family who know about your relationship.
The U.S. citizen partner will also need to prove their citizenship via a copy of their U.S. birth certificate, U.S. password, or a Naturalization Certificate of Citizenship. Every individual’s circumstance is different. Therefore, it’s important that you work with an attorney experienced in immigration law. Any errors or omissions in the application process may permanently prevent the applicant from receiving a K-1 nonimmigrant visa.
How to File a Petition for a Same-Sex Fiancé
Filing a petition for your same-sex fiancé involves an application, paying a filing fee, collecting additional documents, an interview, a lot of waiting, and adjusting status.
Below are the basic steps to petitioning for a same-sex fiancé:
- U.S. citizen partner files form I-129F Petition of Alien Fiancé with USCIS.
- After the petition is approved by USCIS, it is transferred to the National Visa Center (NVC). They will work in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate of your fiancé’s country to coordinate with them regarding the next steps.
Your fiancé’s next steps:
- Complete the DS-160 or visa application online.
- Gather documents regarding criminal record and proof of income
- Complete a medical exam through a doctor who is approved by the U.S. Embassy.
- Complete an interview at the U.S. Consulate regarding your relationship — the goal here is to prove that the relationship is real.
After the visa is approved, your fiancé may enter the United States and you may get married within 90 days to file for an adjustment of status to apply for a green card.
Green Card Eligibility for Same-Sex Spouses through Marriage
Same sex couples may now apply for green cards and obtain permanent residency through a marriage-based case assuming the alien spouse entered the US with inspection and not illegally. In that case a green card may be issued for a 2-year conditional resident status, or a 10-year permanent resident status, depending upon the length of the marriage prior to adjusting status.
The green card process is the first step towards citizenship. Those who hold a green card for three years and remain married (5 years if divorced) and resided in the U.S. for at least half of that time, may apply for naturalization and begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen.
I-601 A Provisional Waiver Eligibility for Same Sex Couples
Spouses of US citizens and green card holders who entered the US illegally can now take advantage of the 601 A waiver process upon a showing that the citizen or green card holding spouse will suffer an extreme hardship if the undocumented spouse were not allowed to stay in the US. This process is document intensive but once approved will allow the alien spouse to travel to his home country to pick up a green card after a brief interview and return to the US as a green card holder.
Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional
The access to immigration benefits stems from a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision that declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Prior to this ruling, same-sex marriages were exempt from taking advantage of immigration benefits such as K-1 visas through engagements or green cards through marriage to US citizens along with 601 A waivers if the marriage occurred in a jurisdiction that did not legally recognize it.
Get Assistance From Our Experienced Team
With a complex immigration matter, an attorney backed by years of experience can give you the proper advice you need. If you want legal counsel and help concerning your application, call us today and schedule an initial consultation with our same sex marriage lawyer in Union City. At the consultation, we will review your immigration history and decide whether you qualify. We will also look at the immigration status of your family to determine if there is another path available.
Practicing since 1987, my firm has the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to achieve your goals. We have helped over 10,000 immigrants with their situations, and while no one can promise a result, we can promise a fair review of your circumstances and if hired, we will begin working on your case immediately to help you achieve your American dream.