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Articles Posted in Same Sex Green Cards

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In order to apply for permanent residence, a relative or American employer must file an immigrant petition on your behalf. Family-sponsored and employment-based petitions are subject to visa limitations unlike petitions filed by immediate relatives who are US citizens. Immediate relative petitions remain unlimited and are always available. This means that if your petitioner is your immediate relative and a US Citizen you can file your I-485 at the same time as your immigrant petition.

In order to understand whether a visa is available to you and whether you can proceed with filing your application for permanent residence, you will need to keep a close eye on the Department of State’s Visa Bulletin. 

Family Sponsored Preference Categories are as follows:

FAMILY-SPONSORED PREFERENCES

First: (F1) Unmarried Sons and Daughters of U.S. Citizens:  23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents:  114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, plus any unused first preference numbers:

A. (F2A) Spouses and Children of Permanent Residents:  77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

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By now you may have heard that on the morning of June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in a landmark 5-4 decision (Obergefell v Hodges) that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage, a right that cannot be denied by the laws of any state.

Prior to the ruling, same sex couples could only be married in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Marriage equality for same sex couples has been a controversial subject for decades, making the ruling all the more historic.

In 2013 the Supreme Court made a similar ruling which declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. DOMA was initially enacted by Congress in 1996, defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman. DOMA essentially barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. Despite the ruling, the rights of same sex couples continued to be abridged by individual state laws. Even after DOMA was declared unconstitutional, many conservative states continued to deny same sex couples the right to marry. Due to this, thousands of law suits flooded into the courts to settle the issue once and for all. One of these suits was brought to court by Jim Obergefell, a widower demanding that his legal marriage to his partner of 21 years, be recognized in his state of residency, the state of Ohio. The June 26th SCOTUS decision has now put the debate to rest, though a long journey still lies ahead.

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You have Questions, We have your Answers. Here are answers to 6 of our Frequently Asked Questions

In this blog we are answering 6 of your frequently asked questions in detail. Please remember that every case and every story is different and unique. You should not compare your situation to anyone else’s. We hope that our answers will provide you with further guidance on your immigration journey. For any further questions please visit our website or call our office for a free legal consultation. We thank you for your continued trust in our law office.

Q: I have my green card and I can file for citizenship in the near future but my marriage is not working and I am trying to figure out my options.

A: The first question our office would have for you is whether you have a conditional 2 year green card or a 10 year green card? If you have a conditional 2 year green card you must apply for the I-751 removal of conditions application in order to receive the 10 year green card. It is possible to file the I-751 application for removal of conditions, even if you are now separated and in the process of dissolving the marriage or if you are legally divorced. This is called seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement for the I-751 removal of conditions application or what is typically referred to as the I-751 waiver. In order to do so, you will need to indicate on the I-751 Removal of Conditions Application that you are seeking a waiver of the joint filing requirement. To file for an I-751 Waiver you must be presently separated and in the process of dissolving your marriage or already be legally divorced. Filing for a waiver of the I-751 is very detail-oriented and a very time consuming process, given that the applicant needs to prepare a detailed personal statement providing a detailed timeline of the relationship from beginning to end, as well as detailed information regarding why the marriage broke down and the applicant’s plans for the future. In addition, the applicant must be prepared to provide documented evidence that the marriage was entered into in good faith and the relationship and marriage was bona fide. You should definitely seek the help of an accredited legal representative to assist you in order for your application to be successful.

If you already have the 10 year green card, you cannot apply for citizenship until at least 5 years have passed from the date of becoming a permanent resident. If you have any arrests or other criminal history you must consult with an attorney or accredited legal representative. We would be happy to assist.

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By Marie Puertollano, Esq.

When an immigrant gets married with a U.S citizen, the immigrant can obtain a green card either through consular processing, if the immigrant is outside the United States, or through adjustment of status within the United States, if the immigrant entered with a visa and is present in the United States. This article will focus on the interview that will be the last step of the adjustment of status and will take place at a USCIS field office within the United States.

Why are we interviewed?

Many readers inquire about Naturalization benefits for same sex couples filing for Immigration under the new changes. In a recent FAQ released by USCIS the following question was discussed:

Can same-sex marriages, like opposite-sex marriages, reduce the residence period required for naturalization?

Yes. As a general matter, naturalization requires five years of residence in the United States following admission as a lawful permanent resident. But, according to the immigration laws, naturalization is available after a required residence period of three years, if during that three year period you have been living in “marital union” with a U.S. citizen “spouse” and your spouse has been a United States citizen. For this purpose, same-sex marriages will be treated exactly the same as opposite-sex marriages.

I am attending the American Immigration Lawyer’s Association National Conference in San Francisco. USCIS Alejandro Mayorkas just stepped down from the podium. He specifically stated that Same Sex couples that are legally married could file I-130 Petitions and Adjustment cases. He said the USCIS kept records of all denied I-130 petitions for same sex couples and will re open on via internal motion. Not clear yet on all the details.

Still, many couples are trying to figure out how exactly the ruling will impact them.

Can all same-sex couples get legally married now?