The Supreme Court issued a pair of rulings in recent years that had a dramatic effect on the ability of citizens and permanent legal residents who are part of same-sex marriages to petition on behalf of their spouses for green cards. In 2013, the Court ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which restricted the ability of same-sex couples to marry in America, was unconstitutional. A 2015 ruling by the Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal in Texas and all other states in the country. The expectation is that the increased number of green card applications from same-sex couples will continue for years to come.
Spousal petitions for same-sex couples
A family immigration visa is a viable option for same-sex spouses of both citizens and permanent residents of America. The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement must consider these applications as they would all other marriage petitions. The form used for the petition is the I-130. Supplemental petitions and information may also become necessary.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will reopen any marriage-based visa petition that was denied previously as a result of the now-overturned DOMA. The reexamination of the petitions will not include section 3 DOMA considerations, and petitioners are allowed to add any new information that may help their case. Petitioners will not have to pay a fee for an application review. However, petitioners can choose to submit new petitions for which all fees will apply.
Equality for all married people is now the law in America. However, this fact does not eliminate all the obstacles same-sex couples may encounter during the immigration process. These couples may experience a smoother process by working with an attorney who has experience with navigating the green card process for same-sex couples.