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 or long form birth certificate).
For more information on some of the most common dependent classifications, please click on the following links: L-2 status, H-4 status and TD status.
Our attorneys at Berardi Immigration Law present applications at one of the busiest border crossings in the country, the Peace Bridge, multiple times each week. If you are interested in obtaining dependent status for your spouse or children at the border, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!