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Legally married same-sex couples can now petition for their spouses - David E. Walters - Las Vegas, NVStatement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for legally married same-sex couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly.  To that end, effective immediately, I have 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.”

Frequently Asked Questions

I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?

A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.

My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

A2: Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

If you feel like you could benefit from these new DHS rules please contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Source: US Department of Homeland Security

 

David Walters
David Walters
David E. Walters practices immigration law in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has been licensed to practice law in California since 1998 and Nevada since 1999. He is also admitted to practice before the District Court of Nevada, Central District of California, and the Ninth Circuit. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association and Nevada Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He teaches immigration in the Hispanic Citizens’ Academy for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Mr. Walters graduated from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, CA in 1998. During law school, he was a member of the St. Thomas More Law Honor Society and the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Journal. David is married to Isabel Walters, an immigrant from Ecuador who is now a U.S. citizen. They have two children.

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