Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be complex and challenging, especially when a foreign national is facing particularly sensitive circumstances. For example, in some countries, it is not possible to marry a same-sex partner, let alone sponsor a fiancé or spouse for immigration purposes. Thankfully, in the U.S., this is no longer the case.
Following landmark legal decisions made within the last decade, the U.S. now recognizes same-sex marriages for immigration purposes. This means that same-sex couples can apply for visas, green cards and other immigration benefits in the same way as opposite-sex couples can. With that said, there are some unique challenges that same-sex couples can face when applying for U.S. immigration opportunities. As a result, seeking legal guidance proactively is generally a good idea.
For U.S. immigration purposes, what matters is the legality of the marriage in the place where it was performed. This means that if a same-sex couple gets married in a country or state where same-sex marriage is legal, the U.S. will recognize this marriage for immigration purposes, even if they live in a place where it’s not recognized.
For same-sex spouses coming from countries where they face persecution due to their sexual orientation, seeking asylum in the U.S. can be an option. However, this requires substantial proof of persecution or fear of persecution because of their sexual orientation.
Navigating U.S. immigration laws can be daunting at the best of times. Because there may be some unique challenges associated with a couple’s pursuit of a fiancé or spousal immigration opportunity, it’s usually advisable for same-sex spouses to seek guidance from an immigration lawyer as soon as they can.