DOMA and Immigration Issues for Same-Sex Spouses

At the Hanlon Law Group, P.C., our Los Angeles immigration attorneys are experienced at helping same-sex spouses and partners resolve their immigration issues.

At the Hanlon Law Group, P.C., our Los Angeles immigration attorneys are experienced at helping same-sex spouses and partners resolve their immigration issues.

Since the Supreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS) ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, same-sex spouses are legally entitled to the same benefits as traditional married couples when it comes to immigration issues.

In other words, consular officials are required to treat same-sex couples the same as they would treat opposite-sex married couples with respect to derivative visas that may be granted for employment, education or other purposes. Additionally, stepchildren of same-sex married couples can also be eligible for derivative status visas, just as children of couples in a traditional marriage would be.

Unpacking more of these issues, the following answers some common questions regarding immigration issues for same-sex couples.

Don’t hesitate to contact a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at Hanlon Law Group, P.C. whenever you are ready to receive answers and information specific to your situation and immigration legal needs. Simply call (800) 976-5675 or email us. We are experienced at helping same-sex spouses and partners resolve their immigration issues.

Do same-sex married couples have to set up residence in a state where same-sex marriage is legal in order to obtain any visa?

No. As long as the marriage is considered to be legal in their native country, same-sex spouses will be considered married in the eyes of U.S. embassies and consular officers. As a result, they can settle wherever they choose in the U.S. if they are ultimately granted a visa.

Are civil unions treated the same as same-sex marriages?

No. For immigration purposes, a partner can only be considered to be a spouse if the couple was legally married in their home country.

Can same-sex partners who are engaged file for a K-1 (fiancé) visa?

Yes. Same-sex partners who are engaged can apply for K-1 fiancé(e) visas, just like opposite-sex engaged couples, by filing a Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) with the USCIS.

As long as all necessary eligibility requirements are met (and there are no circumstances rendering the foreign national inadmissible), a foreign same-sex partner can use the K-1 fiancé visa, once issued, to come to the U.S. in order to marry the U.S. citizen (within 90 days of the visa being issued).

I’m a U.S. citizen who’s married to a foreign national of the same sex. How do I petition to bring my spouse to the U.S.?

Typically, this process starts by completing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, and submitting it to USCIS with the proper supporting documentation and the required filing fees. Once a complete petition has been submitted to USCIS, officials will review the application to assess eligibility.

At that time, officials may ask for additional documents, request biometrics or interviews, and/or grant a decision.

My visa petition for my same-sex partner was denied. Was the denial issued because of the same-sex relationship?

No, the nature of your relationship (being same sex) was not the reason that the visa petition was denied. The denial letter should explain the exact reason(s) that the petition was not approved, as well as your options (and deadlines) for pursuing an appeal.

Some common reasons that visa petitions (for same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike) are denied can include (but are not at all limited to):

  • Failing to meet the eligibility requirements
  • Failing to provide all of the required documentation to verify eligibility
  • Missing the interview
  • Presenting a risk to national security.

If you have trouble understanding why your visa petition (or other immigration status change request) has been denied – or if you are ready to learn more about your immigration options for a foreign same-sex partner, contact a Los Angeles immigration attorney at Hanlon Law Group.

We have an unrelenting commitment to understanding every change in the law while providing clients with superior legal service at every stage of their case.

Get More Answers & Helpful Legal Advice Now: Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer at Hanlon Law Group, P.C.

For additional information regarding immigration related to same-sex spouses and their children, contact a Los Angeles immigration lawyer at Hanlon Law Group, P.C. For more than two decades, our lawyers have been helping clients favorably resolve various immigration issues.

Focused on efficiency and effectiveness, our lawyers take pride in providing each client with experienced, cost-effective representation, as well as personal service and state-of-the art case management technology. With Hanlon Law Group, you can count on your case progressing as quickly as possible while being confident that you will have the answers, information and representation you need at every phase of the process.

Call (800) 976-5675 or email us to learn more about our immigration services. Initial consultations are free and confidential, and we provide immigration legal services in various languages, including in Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Bahasa Indonesian, Tagalog and Fukienese.

From offices in Pasadena, we serve clients throughout the Los Angeles area, across the state of California and from around the world.