After same-sex marriage was declared legal in all states, it opened up many questions for same-sex couples where one of them is not in the U.S., one is undocumented or here on a temporary visa, and any couples who are currently engaged or are considering marriage when their partner is not a citizen.
If you are looking forward to marrying a partner who isn’t a U.S. resident or citizen, or are currently married but wish to help them immigrate to the U.S., some issues may arise in your immigration process. Being prepared for these potential roadblocks can make all the difference in your immigration journey together.
Without any hitches, the entire process can take from six to nine months if your spouse has a visa or entered with an inspection. If your spouse entered without documentation, it could take up to a year and a half.
Fees for forms can be anywhere from $1,400-$2,500 with possible extras fines involved. Attorney fees are added on top of this, but can often save time and money overall by ensuring everything happens correctly. Make sure you have this money when you start the immigration process.
You will need evidence to prove a good faith marriage is in place and that your spouse is immigrating to continue the marriage together—this includes establishing the spouse’s income, or having a co-sponsor if they do not work currently. Documenting the relationship through tax forms, insurance, leases, and bills are vital ways to provide evidence.
Your spouse will answer a variety of questions at the interview—these are always at the discretion of the immigration officer. These questions will likely be oriented around establishing a good faith marriage is in place.
Home visits are entirely up to the immigration officer and the interview conducted. If an officer suspects the legitimacy of the union or any fraud is involved, they are well within their rights to do a follow-up home visit to investigate further.
Being prepared for these five areas to come up during your same-sex immigration process can make things go smoother and faster for both you and your spouse. Additionally, utilizing an attorney knowledgeable in same-sex marriage matters and immigration laws can ensure you and your partner avoid legal pitfalls that could jeopardize your future together in the U.S.