Same-Sex Couples Can File For Green Card Immigration Benefits
As DOMA was overturned today in a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/06/26/195857796/supreme-court-strikes-down-defense-of-marriage-act) , the next question for same-sex couples is how to apply for immigration benefits in order to process Green Cards and convert a foreign national spouse into a U.S. Permanent Resident. Note that this type of Green Card case can even be filed on behalf of a spouse who entered with a valid visa but has since overstayed their authorized period of stay. Please contact our law office for more information.
As DOMA controls federal benefits and as immigration law is federal in nature, same-sex couples who can prove that they are legally married, have a bona-fide relationship, pass financial support scrutiny, and are otherwise admissible to the U.S., should be able to file marriage-based green card applications right away (http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/gay-marriage-ruling-immigration-bill-93420.html). This should also give President Obama flexibility in terms of broadening benefits through executive action (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/27/us/politics/supreme-court-gay-marriage.html?_r=0). Note that the USCIS is currently reviewing the decision in order to apparently decide whether they will start accepting such applications (http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/26/immigration-supreme-court-doma/2459821/). It is my view that these cases should be eligible for filing right away as any mention of “marriage” in a federal law is affected by this decision.
As this issue is so new I will be sure to provide updates herein but in order to start preparing the paperwork for gay marriage immigration filings please review this list of documents that you can begin collecting. Please feel free to contact Pretorius Law to help put together the most complete immigration package for you as there are various immigration forms, financial requirements, and admissibility factors that need to be properly addressed to avoid delays and potential denials of these marriage based cases.
A basic list of documents to begin collecting for your filing are provided below. Note that not all of these documents may apply or even be possible at this time due to the recent nature of this decision and currently allowable spousal benefits however this is just provided to give you an idea of the types of evidence that the USCIS has up until now asked for in marriage based green card cases. We will review all of your documents and let you know how to possibly strengthen your case before we submit the final package to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
For help with the preparation of your case please click on the ‘Contact’ link at the top right of the page or e-mail me directly at email@example.com to set up a time to discuss your matter.
GAY MARRIAGE GREEN CARD IDENTITY DOCUMENTS
– Please provide 8 photographs of the foreign born spouse and 2 photographs of the U.S. Citizen/Green Card holder spouse. The photographs must be passport style and size;
– Copies of both persons passports and if applicable foreign spouses I-94 (if currently in U.S.);
– Certified copies of foreign beneficiary’s birth certificate with applicable translation (our office can take care of translations if needed for additional fee);
– If any criminal convictions exist please provide evidence of criminal record for our review to determine if problematic.
SAME-SEX GREEND CARD RELATIONSHIP PROOF DOCUMENTS
– U.S. Citizen or Green Card holder’s U.S. passport or a certified copy of birth certificate if born in the United States, or green card (Form I-551) to prove status in U.S.;
– Certified copy of marriage certificate;
– Certified copy of any prior divorce orders or death certificates—re: prior marriages of either spouse.
SAME-SEX IMMIGRATION FILING AFFIDAVIT OF SUPPORT DOCUMENTS
– Petitioner’s Tax returns—last three years if available (individual and/or joint returns for both spouses). This is used to determine if a financial support means test will be satisfied. If not then co-sponsors can be used to satisfy the financial requirement. We will determine if this is necessary and work with you to find the best solution.;
– Current employment letter for Petitioner (U.S. Citizen or Green Card Holder) if available to verify current earnings.
SAME-SEX GREEN CARD EVIDENCE OF BONA FIDE MARRIAGE DOCUMENTS
– Wedding pictures, photos of the couple with family/friends, family photos (please label each photo with the date, location, and names of individuals in the photographs for preparation of your filing);
– Bank accounts and property registered in both names;
– Insurance policies (medical, life, auto, etc.) with both names;
– Letters from family and friends regarding knowledge of marriage (include envelopes with postmarks if applicable);
– Lease or mortgage documents showing joint signatures/tenants;
– Copies of children’s birth certificates (if any); also required if a minor child will be immigrating through the Petitioner;
– Evidence of any communication between the married parties if not living together;
– Affidavits from close friends who are U.S. Citizens. They can write brief statements attesting to their knowledge of the relationship and marriage;
– Miscellaneous: anything else regarding bona fide marriage
MEDICAL EXAMINATION DOCUMENTS
– Medical examination—applicant only (form and list of doctors attached) – The Beneficiary will be asked about vaccination history when completing the medical examination. If available, bring immunization records to your appointment. Our law office will help provide you with contact information for the authorized doctors in your area.