Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Supreme Court Gay Marriage Decision

In the summer of 2015, the right of same-sex couples to legally marry expanded to all 50 states this morning in a historic Supreme Court decision. Such a wonderful decision!

Leading the majority 5-4 vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy — who has arguably progressed the gay rights cause more than any other American jurist — stated in closing that:

“it would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they … respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

What Does This Mean for Marriage Green Card Processing?

The Dept. of Homeland Security has been granting marriage green cards based on same sex marriages for a couple of years now, even if the couple resided in a state that banned gay marriage.  They granted the marriage green cards for all same sex couples no matter where they lived, so long as their marriage was legal wherever it took place. 

Now couples do not have to go out of state to an equality state to get married. No more mandatory destination weddings!

How Long does Marriage Green Card Processing Take?

It takes about 6 months (sometimes less) from start to finish to obtain an approved marriage green card.  Sometimes travel out of the USA is restricted during processing, so it is good to talk to a professional before planning that honeymoon cruise!

Is the Green Card for Same Sex Couples Different?

No, it is the exact same green card as different sex couples receive.  If a couple is married for less than 2 years (even if they have been together for 10 years) the card is always issued for 2 years, but it can be renewed for 10 years.

Is the Marriage Green Card Interview Conducted Differently for Same Sex Couples?

Slightly.  Well, the rules are the same, but sometimes there are some different issues.  For example, if a same sex spouse was previously married in a different sex marriage there may be questions.  Or, if no one knows about the wedding because it would be dangerous or too controversial due to work or family, questions may arise.

What if I Have More Questions About Whether My Spouse Qualifies for a Marriage Green Card?

The best thing to do is to talk to an immigration attorney who has experience with marriage green cards for same sex couples.  Questions might be "How much does it cost?"  "What if my spouse is 20 years younger than me?"  "What if we kept our relationship a secret?" "What if we met online?" "What if we have no proof of our relationship?"  "What if we have an open relationship?" "What if my spouse overstayed their visa?"  "What if my spouse has a DUI?" "What if my spouse has children from a previous marriage?"

Feel free to call me at (619) 235-8811 to ask me questions about my experiences with same sex marriage green cards -- initial phone calls are not billed.

Danielle Nelisse, Immigration Attorney   |      Email

Other Immigration Questions Concerning Same Sex Married Couples:

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Other Immigration Questions Concerning Same Sex Married Couples:

What are the issues if my gay spouse entered the USA as a B-2 Tourist ?

Exactly what happens at a marriage green card interview?

How does a person get married in the USA? 

Tips on how to help your helping your partner adjust to America during the Adjustment of Status process.

What if my spouse entered the USA legally, but overstayed their visa?

What if my spouse is HIV positive?

Is “coming out” important to the Immigration Officer who conducts the marriage green card interview?

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