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Case Study: Same-Sex Couple Successfully Obtains Green Card

Recently, one of Berardi Immigration Law’s longtime clients expressed interest in obtaining his Green Card. Our client, a Canadian citizen and L-1 status holder, had just married his U.S. citizen partner of more than five years. As there are different pathways to obtaining a Green Card, Managing Partner Rosanna Berardi discussed the client’s options with him to find the best fit.

When obtaining a Green Card, there are typically two pathways. The first, Adjustment of Status, can only be filed if the foreign national spouse is already residing in the United States. The foreign national is also generally unable to leave the U.S. for the first 60 to 90 days of the pending application until they receive what is known as Form I-131 Advance Parole, commonly referred to as the Travel Document. Adjustment of Status, which can be filed with the I-130 Petition for Alien Relative concurrently, is a much quicker route with typical processing times between four and six months.

The other option, Visa Processing, is for a foreign national spouse currently living abroad. Visa Processing, unlike Adjustment of Status, is a two-step process. The I-130 Petition for Alien Relative must first be filed with USCIS and approved before Visa Processing can begin. The I-130 filing can take anywhere from six to twelve months for approval, with an additional four to six months to complete Visa Processing. While Visa Processing is a much lengthier process, it may be a better option for individuals who cannot commit to remaining in the U.S. for 60 to 90 days.

As our client was already living in the U.S., Adjustment of Status proved to be his best option. However, our client was concerned with having to remain in the U.S. for 60 to 90 days as he frequently travels out of the country for business. Luckily, as he was already an L-1 status holder, this rule did not apply to him. With underlying L-1 status, a foreign national is allowed to travel while their Adjustment of Status application is pending without having to wait for the Travel Document to be issued.

With a clear route chosen, Berardi Immigration Law prepared our client’s Adjustment of Status application for submission to USCIS. Within one month of submitting the application, our client received a notice for a Biometrics Appointment. A Biometrics Appointment is required in order to obtain the fingerprints and photograph of the foreign national spouse. Missing the Biometrics Appointment can result in the abandonment of the application.  Much to our client’s dismay, he was unable to make the appointment due to an important business trip. Fortunately, Berardi Immigration Law was able to reschedule his appointment for a date that worked for him.

Three months after submitting the application to USCIS, our client received a notice for the final portion of the Adjustment of Status application: the interview. With just a few weeks before the interview, Berardi Immigration Law helped our client prepare the necessary documents and become familiar with the interview process. After attending the interview, our client was happy to report that his Green Card was approved on the spot! The interview itself lasted roughly ten minutes and proved to be painless. Our client received his physical Green Card in the mail just two weeks later. 

Since the repeal of DOMA in June of 2013, Berardi Immigration Law has helped dozens of same-sex couples successfully obtain their Green Card. If you are interested in applying for a Green Card, whether through Adjustment of Status or Visa Processing, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys today!