Many opposite-sex and same-sex couples across the state of Florida and the entire country are celebrating the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court recently recognized marriage equality as a constitutional right for all citizens. The ruling extends same-sex marriage rights to every state, resolving many legal conflicts and discrepancies. Interestingly, however, such ground-breaking legislation may not have the impact on federal immigration guidelines that you might assume that it would. The truth of the matter is that the attorneys at Cuevas, Garcia & Torres, P.A., have been assisting same-sex couples in a number of immigration processes for years now.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security discusses federal immigration guidelines regarding same-sex marriage, and explains that major changes were made to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in 2013. It was that year that the Supreme Court invalidated a major section of the Defense of Marriage Act, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage on the federal level. As a result, the Secretary of Homeland Security issues an order for immigration visa petitions filed by same-sex couples to be reviewed in the same manner as all other spousal petitions.
Since 2013, U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been able to sponsor their foreign national spouses regardless of whether or not they were married through a same-sex union. Same-sex couples who are engaged to be married also have the right to petition to enter the country in cases where one fiancée is a foreign national and the other is already a citizen. Federal immigration guidelines had also been upheld in cases where same-sex couples married in a foreign country or U.S. state that recognized marriage equality, but who lived in a state that did not.
Considering that the USCIS has recognized same-sex marriage through family-based immigration guidelines for a couple of years now, it would seem that the federal agency has been ahead of several states when it comes to marriage equality. Learn more about how to sponsor a foreign national spouse and other U.S. citizenship topics by visiting our web page today.