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. Pay the $535 fee.
- 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. The fee is $385.
- 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.
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.
Reach us today: call (800) 909-8129 or use our short online form to discuss your matter with our New Jersey LGBT immigration attorney.
Experienced & Proven Success Since 1987
Personally Assisted Thousands of Individuals
Tens of Millions Recovered for Our Clients
Q:I live in the US and I am marrying a US citizen. How can I get a green card and become a permanent resident?
A:Assuming you have entered the US with a visa or are protected by an old law called 245i, you may be eligible to adjust status to receive a green card from within the US. If you have been illegally present for more than 6 months, you cannot travel until the green card is in hand. Current processing time is about 5-7 months.
Q:I am a fiancé(e) of a US citizen and I am living outside the US. How can I enter the US to marry?
A:Your fiancée must apply for a Fiancée Visa, also known as the K-1 Visa. The visa is for parties who have physically met within the past two years, have an intent to marry, and can document a relationship together. The visa is only for those who are residing abroad and cannot be used if the alien is in the US. The application is filed from within the US and when approved, will be forwarded to the American Consular where the alien fiancée will apply for the visa and be interviewed by an officer - usually about 8-12 months from the date of filing.
Q:I live outside the US and I married a US citizen. How can I come to the US to live?
A:To enter the US after a marriage to a US Citizen, you would go through Consular Processing. Paperwork would be filed in the US and forwarded to the embassy abroad to schedule an interview. The processing time frame from start to finish is between 9-11 months, depending on the embassy abroad. The process is document-intensive and requires careful attention to detail.