Same-sex couples and family immigration rights

| Feb 10, 2017 | Family Immigration

While same-sex couples enjoy equal rights in the United States, these couples may face unique challenges if one partner is currently residing outside of the country. Applying for and securing a fiancé/fiancée visa can be complicated, and you would be wise to secure legal guidance from the very beginning of the process.

If you are waiting on a visa for family-based immigration, you may have concerns about the new administration and the recent changes to immigration policies. If you are in a same-sex relationship and want to apply for a fiancé/fiancée visa, it is critical to know your rights and understand the potential challenges ahead.

Who can apply for a fiancé/fiancée visa?

With the legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, individuals who are engaged to a person who is not a U.S. citizen have the right to seek fiancé/fiancée visas, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

You may petition for a visa on behalf of your fiancé/fiancée if your plans include residing in Texas or another state. If you wish to take this step, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You plan to marry your fiancé/fiancée within 90 days of his or her entrance into the country.
  • You and your fiancé/fiancée are both free to marry.
  • You have met your fiancé/fiancée at least once within the last two years, unless very specific circumstances apply.

Types of visas concerning marriage

Same-sex individuals now enjoy the right to petition for a visa for a fiancé/fiancée, but, like other couples, there are only certain types of visas that are applicable for this particular situation. They include the following:

  • K-1 visa: This type of visa allows a person to enter the country as a condition of his or her engagement. It is possible to transition this to a green card in the future.
  • Student/work visa: If a person already has this type of visa, it is possible to transition it to a green card if that person marries a U.S. citizen.
  • Visa waiver: Depending on the country of origin, a person may be eligible for a green card if he or she marries a U.S. citizen while in the country for recreation or business.

In today’s tense political climate and the uncertainly surrounding immigration, it is best to work with a lawyer who can help you avoid complications and frustrating setbacks