UPDATE: July 1, 2013 -- In a historic decision, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), thereby allowing married same-sex couples to petition for their partners and to generally enjoy the same immigration benefits as opposite-sex couples.
If you are in a same-sex relationship, you can apply for a Green Card, derivative status, Cancellation of Removal, or any other immigration benefit that is based on marriage, regardless of whether your State recognizes same-sex marriage, as long as the State or country where you married recognizes same-sex marriages. (However, please keep in mind that some jurisdictions limit the right to marry to only residents of that jurisdiction, so you need to check with the jurisdiction where you are planning to get married first.)
It is still unclear whether same-sex couples in a civil union or domestic partnership will enjoy the same benefits as legally married same-sex couples.
Just like opposite-sex couples, a U.S. citizen spouse will also be able to file for the foreign spouse’s children who are under 21 (i.e., the U.S. citizen’s step-children), so long as the marriage that created the step-child relationship took place before the children turned 18. Same-sex couples will also now be able to obtain fiancé/e visas, qualify for the same waivers of inadmissibility as opposite-sex couples, and obtain employment authorization documents (EAD’s) on the same basis as opposite sex couples.
If you have questions about the new legislation or if you would like the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney with your marriage visa case or any other related legal matters, please CONTACT US.