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Seeking a green card for your same-sex spouse

Like many couples, you probably felt much discouragement and anxiety when Georgia refused to lift its ban on same-sex marriages. You and your partner longed for the same benefits offered to opposite-sex partners, and you may have felt such a time would never come. If your spouse is not a lawful permanent resident of the U.S., you had another complication. Your petition for an adjustment of status to lawful permanent resident for your partner was likely met with rejection.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal for states to ban same-sex marriage, you and your partner may have hurried to get married. Now that you are free to celebrate your union, what happens to your petition for a green card for your new spouse?

Your case already on file

The Supreme Court ruling created many changes across the country, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency was not immune to the changes. Agents began to review those applications from same-sex partners seeking permanent residency, and those petitions are now receiving the same consideration as petitions filed by opposite-sex partners.

If you already have a petition or application on file, you will not need to pay another fee to reopen your case unless you decide to file a new petition. You may also wish to submit new information when you ask USCIS to reopen your petition.

Submitting a new petition

If you have not yet filed for a green card for your spouse, your same-sex status is no longer a deterrent. USCIS will review your application based on the same eligibility requirements as an opposite-sex couple, including these:

  • As your spouse's sponsor, you are a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.
  • You must submit a Form I-130 to the USCIS.
  • Your spouse is lawfully living in the U.S.

Once your spouse has received approval for permanent resident status, he or she will not have to wait the require five years to apply for naturalization if you are a U.S. citizen. If your spouse desires to become a citizen, the waiting period for permanent residents married to U.S. citizens is only three years. Achieving U.S. citizenship can open even more opportunities for your spouse.

To ensure the process of adjusting your spouse's status, applying for permanent residency or seeking citizenship goes smoothly, you have the right to seek legal counsel anywhere along the way.

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