How to Get a Green Card for Married LGBT & Same Sex Couples

same sex marriage green card lawyer

LGBT and same sex couples are eligible for green cards

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two landmark cases which had a direct impact on gay & same-sex couples’ immigration rights. Hollingsworth v. Perry, which arose out of California’s Prop 8 measure, addressed the issue of whether the U.S. Constitution bars California from limiting marriage to unions of one man and one woman. In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding a challenge of the federal government’s denial of benefits and tax advantages to legally married same-sex couples under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decided whether all U.S. states were required to permit same sex marriage.

LGBT same sex marriage green card

LGBT same sex marriage green card

The Supreme Court ruled as follows:

Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act is a United States federal law that was enacted in 1996. DOMA restricted the scope of federal marriage benefits and also restricted inter-state marriage recognition only to opposite-sex marriages in the United States. On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and ruled that it was unconstitutional – entitling married same sex couples to the same federal benefits as opposite-sex married couples.

Prop 8

In 2008, California passed a ballot which banned same sex marriage. In limiting marriage only to opposite-sex couples, Prop 8 overturned the California Supreme Court’s previous decision that same sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court dismissed the appeal based on a lack of standing. The judgment of the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. On June 28, 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the previous ban on gay marriage.

Same Sex Marriage Now Legal in All U.S. States

As of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States held that all states must allow same-sex marriage and that a failure to do so would be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

Can married same sex couples now sponsor his or her spouse for U.S. permanent residency (green card)?

Immigration is a federal law and fell within the scope of DOMA. The USCIS and DHS have confirmed that U.S. citizens spouses in a same sex marriage can sponsor his or her foreign spouse for permanent residency under the same guidelines as traditional opposite-marriage based cases. In fact, Maximilian Law Inc. has already obtained several green card approvals based on same sex marriages.

What should you do?

Get married. If you are in a same sex relationship but you are not married to your partner yet, now is the time to do so. This is because the right to sponsor a spouse for a green card does not take effect until you are legally married in a jurisdiction that permits same sex marriages.

U.S. states permitting same sex marriage: As of June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States held that all states must allow same-sex marriage and that a failure to do so would be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

Document your relationship. Start gathering documents and evidence that would demonstrate that your relationship to date has been genuine and bona fide. These include joint leases, bank accounts and vacation photos, to name a few.

Contact Maximilian Law Inc. Be sure to contact Maximilian Law Inc. to discuss your strategy for filing a green card petition for a same sex spouse. We have extensive experience with same sex marriage green card cases and all of our cases have been approved so far. We can provide a complimentary initial telephone consultation with you and your partner to evaluate the merits and viability of filing a green card application on your behalf. Immigration attorney Cedric M. Shen also wrote an guide for bi-national couples sponsoring a spouse for a green card for Curve Magazine outlining the implications of same sex marriage on green card eligibility after DOMA.

K-1 Fiancé Visa

As with opposite-sex couples, engaged same sex couples may also be eligible for the K-1 fiancé visa.

Our Same Sex & LGBT Marriage Green Card Legal Services

Our legal services include: determining whether both parties meet the criteria required to proceed with an application, including the legality of the marriage in the jurisdiction where it occurred; preparing the formal petition and supporting evidence; preparing the consular processing or adjustment of status application and supporting documents; and preparing both clients for the final green card interview.

Testimonials from some of our LGBT clients

“Our highest compliments to Maximilian Law Inc. for providing us with the guidance and direction we needed to navigate the process of obtaining a green card. The card arrived several days ago and we are most delighted with the speed, efficiency, and professionalism of Mr. Shen’s firm.”

J & L

“My wife and I were very impressed by the services of Cedric Shen. He is efficient, approachable, thorough, and made the process of applying for a green card a lot less daunting and intimidating than it might have been. We were extremely satisfied with the overall process and results. We highly recommend his services.”

E & B

“I entered the United States on J-1 visa and overstayed my visa. Found my handsome partner and got married. Cedric helped us from the get go, explaining every step of our green card application. I would definitely recommend Cedric as a legal representative for immigration issues. ”

M & S

“We are thoroughly pleased with our lawyer Cedric Shen. He handled our same-sex spousal visa application with the utmost professionalism. He is attentive to the details of our case, maintains a great line of communication with us, and dedicates himself wholeheartedly to ensuring the best results for each of his clients. Because of his representation, the green card process progressed without any difficulties as he was very thorough with our preparations. From start to finish, it has been an absolute pleasure to work with him, and we recommend his services and expertise to all. He is a great ally of the community.”

P & Y

“I have been in the United States for the last 24 years as an out of status immigrant. I am proud to say that as of October 29, 2013, I am officially a Legal Resident. It’s been a long road and I have Cedric Shen of Maximilian Law to thank. I have been with my wife for almost seven years. But we never had the same rights as heterosexual couples until the monumental striking down of DOMA by the Supreme Court. Cedric was so helpful even prior to the laws changing. His vast knowledge of immigration laws made me feel more at ease during such a stressful process. He made the process easy and simple to understand. He answered all of our questions thoroughly and always responded with communication quickly. He is simply the best! I can’t say enough praises about Cedric! We are truly blessed to have found him!”

S & J

“I started to talk to Cedric a while back about what was involved in getting a Green Card. It was reassuring for us to be able to trust his advice and rely on his professionalism, as he made the process expeditious and much less strenuous. I have since passed his name on to several of my friends who found themselves in the same situation I was in. Thanks so much, Cedric.”

M & J

“I want to let you know that I was approved and I thoroughly appreciate your assistance in this matter. It’s been a real pleasure working with you. And I will not even think twice before recommending you to others.”

V & A

“My wife and I were very impressed by the services of Cedric Shen. He is efficient, approachable, thorough, and made the process of applying for a green card a lot less daunting and intimidating than it might have been. We were extremely satisfied with the overall process and results. We highly recommend his services.”

E & B

“Upon learning that USCIS has approved to do family petitions for same sex couples, we were not sure where to go. We are so glad we found Cedric. He is very patient in all our inquiries. There was not a time that we felt in limbo. He is very thorough with every step which I think the reason our petition went seamlessly. Thank you for your excellent service!

J & T