Guest Post by Daniel Z. Bean, Paralegal
Are We Eligible?
We’re overcome with gratitude to those who’ve fought for marriage equality and we’re positively beaming that LGBT bi-national couples are now planning to live their lives together. Couples once separated by restrictions on immigration policy are seeing the green light as foreign partners are approved for residency and visas. Couples who lived in fear of being separated can now breathe a sigh of relief, too. The U.S.C.I.S. and Department of State have fully embraced the defeat of DOMA Section 3 as promised.
There are still a few things to keep in mind for same-sex couples as they apply for immigration benefits:
- The validity of the marriage still depends on the laws where the marriage took place: whether the country or U.S. state recognizes same-sex marriage is important. If a couple marries in a state or country were same-sex marriage is legal, they are eligible for immigration benefits—even if they no longer live in a state with same-sex marriage laws.
- For example, a couple married in New York that later moved to Michigan would still be recognized by the U.S.C.I.S. or U.S. Dept. of State.
- Subsequently, couples living in domestic partnerships or civil unions will need to get married before they can be eligible for these benefits.
- Derivative benefits will also be extended to spouses and children of same-sex spouses where eligible.
Please be aware that there are many variables to consider before petitioning for loved ones. As always, please consult with an immigration attorney to discuss what options are available.
US Dept of State. http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/frvi_6036.html