Same Sex Marriage Based Petitions and Visas

Same Sex Marriage Based Petitions and Visas


By | US Immigration Attorneys
Posted October 15, 2015

Countless same-sex couples have been forced to live outside of the United States, or been separated from their partners, due to the Defense of Marriage Act’s (DOMA’S) denial of federal immigration benefits to same-sex couples. However, the Supreme Court of the United States in a historic case, United States v. Windsor, struck down DOMA and now same-sex married spouses of U.S. citizens, permanent residents and even certain foreign born persons are eligible for U.S. Immigration benefits.

If you are married to a United States citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident, you may apply for your green card (permanent residence) and later citizenship based on your status as the spouse of a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR).

In addition, foreign temporary workers, students, and investors can now bring their spouses to the United States as dependents!

How do I qualify for Same Sex Marriage Based Petitions and Visa?

In order to be eligible for U.S. immigration benefits, you must be legally married to your spouse in a State (or Country) that recognizes same-sex marriages. (Civil unions and domestic partnerships will not suffice for immigration purposes).  The list of States that recognize same sex marriage is growing.

Also, same-sex married couples will need to address any previous civil unions or domestic partnerships with former partners.

Can I be married in a State in which I am not living and still get a green card in a State that does not recognize same-sex marriages?

YES! You may have to travel to a State other than your own to get married, but you will still be able to apply for permanent residence for your foreign spouse regardless of the State in which you reside. A same-sex marriage valid in the State where the marriage occurred is valid for immigration purposes, even if the couple resides in one of the States that does not recognize same-sex marriages.  Also, the same sex marriage is valid even if the applicant is applying in a country in which same-sex marriage is illegal.  The validity of the marriage will depend on whether the marriage was legally valid in the “place of celebration” rather than the place of domicile.

I am not a permanent resident or US citizen, but a temporary worker with a valid visa. Does my spouse qualify for a visa?

Yes! Benefits also extend to spouses of non-U.S. citizens who are non-immigrant students, workers, investors, etc.

If you are a foreign person with a temporary visa to live in the USA, your spouse can apply for a temporary visa as your dependent.

For example, the spouse of an investor is also entitled to an E2 visa and work permit. Therefore, you do not have to be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in order for your spouse to derive a U.S. immigration benefit!

Contact us

If you are a United States Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident and wish to sponsor your spouse for a green card we are here to help.

If you are not living in the United States yet but would like to, give us a call to help you determine whether you can qualify for a visa. Call us to set up a consult at 407-674-6968 or email anytime to: You may also call us at 813-400-0055 to make an appointment at our Tampa location.

Suzanne E. Vazquez - Board Certified ImmigrAttorney by the Florida Bar



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The Information obtained at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own particular case.