Same-Sex Marriages and Permanent Residency

With the recent changes in Federal law, same-sex couples who are legally married in a state that allows same sex marriages, an american national can now apply for permanent residency for their foreign national spouse.

These changes resulted this past June, when The Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. As a result the following directive was issued:

Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on July 1, 2013:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

   The significance of this language is that same-sex couples can now apply for the same immigration benefits as any heterosexual couple. This includes petitions for permanent residency for same sex couples that are legally married in any of the states that allow same sex marriages even if it is not the same state of residency as the applicants. It even includes petitioning for a Fiance visa for same sex couples, and can include their children.

This change in federal law has now vastly changed the landscape and opportunites for same sex couples, and our office is on the frontline in filing as many of these petitions to begin securing those rights.  Please realize these now rules are not an exception, but the norm. Please contact our office for a complimentary phone consultation to discus your case.