Same Sex Marriage

On Tuesday, June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional for the U.S. government to deny federal benefits to same-sex married couples solely based on their sexual orientation.   The next day the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would no longer discriminate against same-sex spouses. Two days later USCIS approved the first petition for a green card for a same-sex spouse in the case of an American man and his Bulgarian husband that live in Florida.

In general, the United States government now treats same-sex spouses the same way they treat heterosexual spouses.  Lawfully wedded U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents can now apply for green cards for their same-sex husband or wife. The married couple does not need to live in a state which acknowledges same-sex marriage as legal. As long as the same-sex marriage was legally entered into at the time and place of marriage, the marriage is valid for immigration purposes. For instance, a U.S. Citizen resident of Virginia who legally marries her spouse in Washington, DC can apply for a visa for her same-sex spouse regardless of where they intend to live as a couple.

 Same-sex spouses are entitled to all of the other immigration benefits allowed under the law. For instance, for immigration purposes the minor child of a same-sex spouse is considered the step-child of the petitioning U.S. citizen and will be allowed to get visa just as would the child of heterosexual spouse.

Graham Prichard is proud to assist same-sex couples take full advantage of their immigration opportunities. Please contact the office for further information. We look forward to helping you!

* This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Please contact us for more information.