So Your Boyfriend is An Alien

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Did you swipe right on a mild-mannered Clark Kent type, a domineering Klingon exchange student or a kind-hearted Storm Trooper? Have you been flirting with the help of a Tardis translation matrix, universal translator, or a babel fish? If so, you might be dating an alien. In the era of Trump, it is becoming increasingly difficult for aliens living in the United States. U.S. Citizens in romantic relationships with aliens might need to start talking about immigration options if they plan to remain living in the U.S. Below are a few options that might be helpful. Some of the options below presuppose that the alien has entered the country lawfully and were inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. Those who might have crash landed in a Kryptonian spaceship might still have options but should speak with an licensed immigration attorney.

Study

If your significant other needs to brush up on their understanding of the universe, they might consider enrolling in a university program in astrophysics or quantum computing and apply for an F-1 student visa. This would allow them to remain lawfully in the U.S. for the length of the school program, however they would be required to pay very high alien tuition and work opportunities during their studies would be limited to 20hrs/week on campus employment only. Afterwards, student visa holders are allowed one year of employment authorization through Optional Practical Training in their field of study. Additional time is granted to those who study in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  This is a good opportunity to live in the U.S. to study but not the best solution for aliens looking to live and work here permanently.

Work

Telepathic Mental Health Professionals and Time Traveling Doctors Wanted. Those lucky enough to get hired by a U.S. company or secret government agency might be eligible for a work visa, the most common of which is the H-1B for Specialty Occupations. This visa is in limited supply and is only for positions that require at minimum a bachelors degree. It lasts for three years and can be renewed only once. In some situations, an employer might later sponsor their employee for lawful permanent residency but that would require a showing that no U.S. worker could do the job which is not the case for many jobs.

Marriage

If you think he might be the One of whom the prophecy foretold, then marriage may be their best option to remain in the U.S. permanently. Aliens who marry U.S. Citizens can apply for permanent residency based on their relationship as long as  they aren’t barred for other reasons such as previous criminal or immigration violations or being members of Hydra. For newlyweds who have been married for less than two years, they will receive two-year conditional residency which can later be upgraded to an unconditional residency that does not expire and allows the alien to live and work in the U.S indefinitely (the physical green card will need to be renewed every 10 years). Lawful permanent resident aliens who have been married to a U.S. Citizen for three years or more are eligible to naturalize and become U.S. Citizens themselves.

Asylum

Whether they are escaping the Empire, the Borg or an exploding planet an alien might need to seek refuge in the U.S. or face persecution or death. The U.S. will grant asylum to aliens who have either suffered persecution or have a fear suffering persecution on account of their political opinion, race, nationality, religion or membership in a social group which includes LGBT individuals. The persecution needs to be enacted by their governments or individuals their governments are unable or unwilling to control. The asylum process in the U.S. is quite slow and can take several years. Those who have been granted asylum can apply for permanent resident status after one year and U.S. Citizenship after five years.

U.S. immigration laws are complicated, and each case is unique. Whether your partner is currently in the U.S. or in another galaxy, it might help to find out what options are best for your situation and how to maneuver through our complex immigration system. Attorney André Olivie has been practicing immigration law for 8 years and works often with LGBT couples in Seattle, Washington. If you would like more information you can schedule a consultation at www.olivielaw.com.