Case Study: Same-Sex Couple Successfully Obtains Green Card

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] 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 […]
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CBP Will Now Adjudicate Dependent Classifications for Same Sex Couples

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] In June of 2013, the Supreme Court decided in United States v. Windsor that restricting U.S. federal interpretation of “marriage” and “spouse” to apply only to heterosexual couples under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Since the repeal of DOMA, U.S. citizens and green card holders are able to petition for their same-sex spouses to reside permanently in the United States. In the nearly two years since the repeal, Customs and Border Protection had yet to release guidance on how it would implement this up-turning at the border. However, the Office of Federal Operations has recently notified Customs and Border Protection that dependent classifications for same-sex couples will now be adjudicated. Dependent classifications can be sought for the spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a temporary nonimmigrant worker, such as an H-1B Worker in a Specialty Occupation (H-4), L-1 Intracompany Transferee (L-2), or NAFTA Professional from Canada or Mexico (TD). CBP has advised that applicants must present the same documentation as opposite sex couples to qualify as a dependent. This documentation typically includes evidence of the nonimmigrant worker’s status and evidence of the dependent’s relationship to the nonimmigrant worker (marriage certificate […]
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Overview of the Same-Sex Marriage Process

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] Since the repeal of DOMA in June of 2013, U.S. citizens and green card holders can petition for their same-sex spouses to reside permanently in the U.S. However, many same-sex couples worry that their application will be handled differently because they are not an opposite sex couple. Fortunately, same-sex couples are treated no differently than the millions of other couples who have applied and been approved for green cards. The green card application process for same-sex couples is identical to that of an opposite sex couple. The application process requires no extra steps or special restrictions. The first step in applying for a green card is completing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative. Evidence that the marriage is bona-fide must also be included with the form. This evidence may include the marriage certificate, wedding photos, photos of children, evidence of joint home ownership, or joint utility bills to name a few. USCIS also recognizes that for some same-sex couples, providing this type of evidence may be difficult if the relationship has not been made public in the face of discriminatory laws or social prejudice. In cases such as these, alternate evidence may be submitted. This may include […]
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Immigration for Same-Sex Partners: Frequently Asked Questions

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] Since the Supreme Court’s ruling in 2013 that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, USCIS has fully accepted petitions and applications on behalf of bi-national LGBT couples who are legally married. Immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of same-sex couples are adjudicated in the exact same manner as those filed on behalf of opposite-sex couples. Berardi Immigration Law has filed numerous immigration petitions on behalf of same-sex couples with a 100% rate of success. Below, Managing Partner Rosanna Berardi answers some of the most frequently asked questions. Q. I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa? A. Yes, you can sponsor your spouse. Your eligibility to petition for your spouse is determined by USCIS according to applicable immigration law and will not be denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage. Q. I am a U.S. citizen who is engaged to be married to a foreign national of the same sex. Can I file a fiancé petition for him or her? A. Yes, you are able to sponsor your spouse […]
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Supreme Court strikes down DOMA – how does this affect immigration and same sex couples?

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act which blocked federal recognition of same-sex marriages.  In writing the decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy characterized DOMA as promoting, “deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.”  So how does this affect immigration for same sex couples we represent and those around the nation? What does the ruling mean? The federal government must recognize gay marriages deemed legal by the states (currently 12 states plus the District of Columbia, prior to a ruling on California’s Prop 8). Recognition of legal same sex marriages determines who is covered by more than 1,100 federal laws, benefits and programs.  Among these are family leave, Social Security, and immigration rights. A May Senate Judiciary Committee decision to exclude same sex binational couples from immigration talks for green cards and other benefits is now likely moot. According to www.salon.com, “Advocates are optimistic the president will be a partner in swiftly extending benefits to gay binational couples.” Where did the initial conflict arise? The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which was struck down by the Court today defined “marriage” as “a union […]
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AILA President Laura Lichter discusses "next steps" in obtaining same-sex immigration benefits

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] The American Immigration Lawyers Association has posted the following video in “question and answer” format with AILA President Laura Lichter.  Ms. Lichter appears optimistic that the recent overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) will open pathways for temporary and permanent immigration options of same-sex couples already in, or coming to, the U.S.  
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AILA President Laura Lichter discusses “next steps” in obtaining same-sex immigration benefits

[catlist id=283 numberposts=-1] The American Immigration Lawyers Association has posted the following video in “question and answer” format with AILA President Laura Lichter.  Ms. Lichter appears optimistic that the recent overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) will open pathways for temporary and permanent immigration options of same-sex couples already in, or coming to, the U.S.  
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