Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), lesbian and gay married couples and families will now be able to apply for family-based petitions. The human rights organization, Immigration Equality provides answers to some of the most most-commonly asked questions regarding family-based immigration petitions for LGBT families.
If you don’t see the answers to your questions below, make sure to check out the links below to other resources.
Is it true that we can now obtain a green card?
Yes. The end of DOMA means that LGBT families will be treated the same under immigration law as different-immigrant families. LGBT families no longer have to worry about having their application denied because they are lesbian or gay.
Do we need a lawyer? Do we need a lawyer that specializes in LGBT issues?
You should always consult with a lawyer when applying for an immigration benefit or petition. Immigration Equality maintains a referral list of private immigration attorneys who have an understanding of LGBT issues. To request an attorney referral from Immigration Equality, please fill out the Contact Us form on their website: http://immigrationequality.org. Your lawyer does not need to specialize in LGBT issues to assist you.
What are the different types of relationship-based immigration petitions?
- For families where both partners are in the United States, the U.S. citizen can submit a marriage based spousal petition and the foreign partner can apply for a green card through a procedure known as “adjustment of status.” So long as the foreign partner did not enter the U.S. without inspection (EWI) (i.e. crossing the border), this option should be available regardless of whether or not the foreign spouse is in lawful status or has fallen out of lawful status.
- For families who are married and the foreign spouse is located outside the United States, the U.S. partner can submit a spousal petition and the foreign spouse can apply for an immigrant visa through the U.S. consulate, in a procedure known as “consular processing.” For families who are not already married, the U.S. partner can sponsor their spouse to come to the U.S. on a fiancé/e visa, which will allow the two to marry in the U.S. and subsequently file a marriage based application.
Don’t see your questions answered here? Check out their website for more info on Relationship-Based Petitions.
If you would like to find an immigration lawyer to help you with a relationship-based petition, click here: Find a Free Legal Aid Lawyer in NY.