Tuscaloosa Same-Sex Marriage Visa Lawyer
Since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, same-sex spouses and fiancés have the same immigration rights as spouses and fiancés in opposite-sex couples.
If you wish to bring your same-sex fiancé or spouse to the United States, consulting a Tuscaloosa same-sex marriage visa lawyer should be a priority. Although immigration law does not discriminate against LGBTQ couples, working with a compassionate marriage visa attorney could ensure the application process is as smooth and just as possible.
Sponsoring a Spouse for Immigration
Citizens can sponsor their foreign same-sex spouse for an immigrant visa under the Immediate Family category. The U.S. government does not limit the number of these visas that it issues annually, so immigrating as an immediate family member is often quicker than immigrating in another category.
A Green Card holder also can sponsor their same-sex spouse for an immigrant visa, but they will be in the Family Preference category. Only a limited number of these visas are issued every year, so it could be several years before a spouse receives a visa. If the Green Card holder becomes a citizen, they can work with Immigration and Citizenship Services (ICS) to update their application. This application would then convert to the Immediate Family category, and processing could be much quicker.
Same-sex couples should note that civil unions and domestic partnerships are not marriages for immigration purposes. However, if the couple had a common-law marriage under the laws of the country where they resided, the partner could qualify as a spouse. A Tuscaloosa attorney could review a couple’s circumstances and determine whether applying for immigration as a common-law spouse could work for their same-sex marriage visa case.
Same Sex Fiancés Are Eligible to Enter the U.S.
Meanwhile, a citizen who plans to marry a foreign national of the same sex could apply for a K-1 visa, also known as a fiancé visa. The citizen must file Form I-129F. If ICS approves the application, the fiancé must schedule an interview at the U.S. Consulate where they live.
Both the citizen and the fiancé must be legally available to marry, meaning any prior marriages must have ended in death, divorce, or annulment. In most circumstances, the citizen and their fiancé must have had at least one in person meeting in the two years before the application. They have 90 days after the fiancé’s entry into the United States to get married.
It is important to realize that a K-1 visa is not an immigration visa. Once a citizen and their fiancé marry, the foreign spouse must apply for a Green Card. The ICS could demand proof the marriage is valid, meaning the couple plans to live together in an intimate partnership. A Tuscaloosa attorney could help a same-sex couple compile documentation establishing the legitimacy of their marriage to acquire the K-1 visa they need.
Circumstances That Could Impact Same-Sex Marriage Immigration
As mentioned, immigration laws and policies do not discriminate against same-sex couples. These individuals have the same immigration rights as opposite-sex couples. However, there are some practical difficulties that LGBTQ couples might encounter more often than opposite-sex couples.
When an applicant seeks a marriage-based Green Card, the ICS interviewers often focus on whether the marriage is legitimate. Asking questions about the spouse’s family is one way they determine whether a relationship is a real marriage. If homosexuality is stigmatized in one spouse’s county of origin, the spouses might not have a relationship with foreign in-laws. Acknowledging that the family does not accept the relationship will not harm the applicant’s chances.
Sometimes, one or both spouses had a prior heterosexual marriage. If so, an ICS officer might ask questions about it. Again, truthful answers are best. If the citizen had a prior heterosexual marriage to a foreign national or acquired their citizenship through a heterosexual marriage, the ICS is likely to investigate the validity of both marriages. A compassionate Tuscaloosa lawyer could help a same-sex couple prepare for these interviews and maximize their chances of obtaining a marriage visa.
Consult a Tuscaloosa Same Sex Marriage Visa Attorney
Bringing your spouse into this country is your right as a citizen or Green Card holder. If you are a citizen, you could bring your fiancé, though they must wait until after the marriage to apply for a Green Card.
Although the law does not discriminate, same-sex couples might find the process more intimidating and stress-provoking than heterosexual couples. Working with an experienced Tuscaloosa same-sex marriage visa lawyer could help relieve some of the anxiety and frustration. Call today to schedule a consultation.