FAMILY IMMIGRATION

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

Gay and Lesbian Couples Can Now File for Green Card Petition

In the ruling, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) that denied same-sex married couples federal immigration benefits.

Secretary of State John Kerry issued a statement following the Windsor decision, vowing “to fully implement the requirements and implications of the Court’s decision, we will work with the Department of Justice and other agencies to review all relevant federal statutes as well as the benefits administered by this agency.” The United States v. Windsor decision enabled United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) to start approving green card petitions for members of same-sex couples living in the U.S. or abroad.

Immigration now recognizes all same-sex marriages that are legal where they took place, and some exceptions might also be made to consider the domicile of the parties. Although many U.S. states and foreign countries are currently reviewing their stance on same sex-marriages, same-sex marriages are currently valid in the U.S. in the following states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota (as of August 1, 2013), New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island (as of August 1, 2013), Vermont, and Washington State. They are also legal in the District of Columbia.

These marriages are also valid in the following foreign countries: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand (as of August 19, 2013), Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay (as of August 1, 2013), as well as certain jurisdictions in Mexico (Mexico City and Quintana Roo).

In response to the Windsor decision, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano issued a statement advising USCIS as to how same-sex petitions should be reviewed. She “directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.” Therefore, it is important to note that although same-sex couples can now file petitions that will be reviewed just as opposite-sex couple ones, they will also have to meet all other immigration laws and requirements. They will also have to face the same scrutiny and hassles when filing and being interview in connections with these applications.

The Windsor decision applies to other immigration benefits besides permanent residence through marriage. Some of these benefits include:
a. Benefits for derivative beneficiaries of spouses that are being petitioned for employment-based/family-based green cards or nonimmigrant visas (H-4, F-2, etc.) b. Petition for step-children; c. Deportation defenses based on hardship to a U.S. citizen or green card spouse; d. Eligibility for provisional waivers for individuals that entered without inspection; e. Eligibility for I-601 waivers for persons who committed fraud or triggered a 3/10 year bar; and, f. Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) relief.

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Alexey PankinAlexey Pankin
04:44 04 Dec 23
I recently had the pleasure of working with the incredible lawyers at Root Law Group, notably Daria. From my initial consultation until the successful resolution of my case, their expertise, professionalism, and dedication made a profound impact.
Zara IsmailovaZara Ismailova
14:11 30 Nov 23
Mihran StepanyanMihran Stepanyan
19:09 14 Nov 23
Working with this highly professional team made difficult and long process of applying for EB-1 GreenCard easy, clear and fast. I felt calm and confidently on every step. I really appreciate all the hard work and patience that Khaled Kaoud shared while working with me. He was always available and answered every possible question that I ever had. Also thanks to Igor, William and Daria for help and support during the working on my case. Working with Root Law Group was the best decision I did. And I undoubtedly recommend this professional, reliable and perfect team!
Georgi GrigoryanGeorgi Grigoryan
22:31 07 Nov 23
I am a business owner and operator abroad and I came to Root Law Group looking for immigration help. They told me that I was able to apply for EB2-NIW and they worked on my case nonstop. Even when USCIS requested more evidence, Daniel guided me throughout the entire process and helped ease my worries and concerns was an extremely helpful paralegal. After months of waiting, I was granted the I-140 Approval! I am extremely thankful for all the work Root Law did for me and super excited for adjustment of status when I become current. I look forward to working with Daniel, William and the entire team when that time comes and highly recommend their immigration services! This team cares and will try everything possible for your needs.
grigory ioffegrigory ioffe
18:05 01 Nov 23
I recently received approval for my visa application and would like to express my gratitude to Root Law, especially Igor for his excellent management, and Khaled for his legal assistance and guiding through the whole process.I want to acknowledge that despite several other lawyers suggesting that I had no chance of obtaining the visa, these professionals made it possible.
Artyom DavtyanArtyom Davtyan
23:21 20 Oct 23
Root Law's team is great, they did our case in just two months.Especially Igor and Khaled, thanks guys for the professionalism, care and dedication to your work. You studies every detail of the case and due to it it was done quickly.Will advise Root Law to my friends and relatives for sure
Melanie HusryMelanie Husry
01:32 28 Sep 23
After seeing such amazing reviews on Root Law Group I just knew I had to work with them. All the attorneys here are amazing and so helpful. I’m so happy with myexperience and for anyone looking for fast and helpful attorneys this is your place! Thank you so much for your patience with me Root Law Group it was a pleasure being your client!
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