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Marriage equality means more family immigration

As the dream of legalizing same-sex marriage on the state and federal level becomes a reality for countless couples across the country, so does the opportunity to obtain citizenship. That’s because family immigration policies now recognize the thousands of committed and legally married couples in the LGBT community divided by their citizenship status.

Same-sex couples that are forced to live apart because one partner is not a U.S. citizen now have the option of applying for a fiancé visa to bring them over legally. Similarly, same-sex married couples can file for green cards in the event one spouse isn’t a citizen yet. Just as before, though, undocumented individuals legally married to American citizens still do not qualify for green cards.

In order to be granted a marriage-based visa, couples must complete several steps. First off, the necessary paperwork must be submitted and the noncitizen spouse must be able to prove he or she won’t rely on U.S. government funds to live. The foreign spouse will complete a physical exam and show that they are legally in the country. At the end of the process the spouse in question will be given a green card and can then file for citizenship in three years’ time.

The U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are already working to process visa applications for same-sex couples, potentially serving thousands of couples around the nation. Granting equal access to immigration goes a long way in validating the legitimacy of same-sex marriage and recognizing immigration equality for all who wish to be an American citizen.

Source: Los Angeles Times, “Same-sex couples flood immigration offices for green cards,” Alana Semuels, June 29, 2013

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