Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, Ranchod Law is overjoyed to help Sacramento and San Francisco LGBT couples obtain immigration relief. Immigration relief can mean several things depending on the status of the foreign national partner.
The U.S. Citizen partner may file a petition on behalf of the foreign national partner in the case of an individual who last entered the country legally. In addition to the basic requirements (certificates, photographs, proof of lawful entry, etc.), that petition should be accompanied with documentation to evidence that the couple is in a legitimate relationship and not one designed to circumvent the immigration laws.
In the case of an individual who last entered the country illegally, the U.S. Citizen partner may file a petition on behalf of the foreign national partner, as in the above scenario, but the foreign national partner will need to be the beneficiary of a hardship waiver or else face a three or ten year bar if the foreign partner leaves the country to try to obtain an immigrant visa abroad.
In both of the above scenarios the couple will be subjected to an interview with an immigration officer in which the couple must answer questions designed to detect fraudulent relationships. Also remember that in both of the above scenarios, the couple must get married in a state that recognizes same sex marriage. Simply living together is not sufficient.
In cases in which the foreign partner is abroad, the U.S. Citizen partner may file for a fiancé/fiancée visa or, if the couple is married, for an immigrant visa. Both of these cases require documentation to prove the legitimacy of the relationship in addition to the basic required documentation.
Finally, in cases in which the foreign partner is already in removal proceedings, relief might mean obtaining permission to marry from the immigration judge in bond proceedings, seeking adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident, or, having the U.S. Citizen spouse serve as a qualifying relative for purposes of cancellation of removal or a waiver.
Ranchod Law has been doing all of the aforementioned for over a decade and we are delighted to apply our expertise and dedication to the benefit of same sex couples. Please contact our office to discuss any of the aforementioned options.