LGBT Couples’ Path to U.S. Residency

Navigating the journey of U.S. immigration through a marriage green card can be thrilling yet bewildering for LGBT couples. If you and your partner are embarking on this path, here’s a friendly guide to steer you through the process.

Step 1: First off, make sure your union is official. In the U.S., same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since 2015. For those marrying abroad, however, it’s essential to ensure that the marriage is legal in the place where it occurred and thus recognized by U.S. authorities.

Step 2: Once married, the U.S. citizen or permanent resident can sponsor their spouse for a green card. This is where the fun begins (said no one ever). The forms needed from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) include the I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and the I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

Step 3: One unique challenge for couples is proving the authenticity of their relationship. Immigration officers may require more evidence, this means you’ll need to compile as many documents as you can to prove that your relationship is genuine. Things like joint bank accounts, lease agreements, or those selfies from your last romantic getaways.

Step 4: The green card interview can feel like a pop quiz on your relationship. Where did you meet? What brand of toothpaste does your partner use? While it might seem intrusive, it’s all part of the process to verify the legitimacy of marriages. It’s a good idea to review your relationship timeline and perhaps even rehearse some answers together. After all, practice makes perfect!

Once the forms are filed, the evidence submitted, and the interview aced, all that’s left is to wait for the decision. When you finally get that approval, it’s more than just a legal win—it’s a victory for your life together in the U.S.
Tackling U.S. immigration can feel like a giant leap, but remember, it’s just another adventure in your shared story. Here’s to new beginnings and all the exciting chapters yet to come!

Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846. The law firm was established in 2012. Ms. Elizee earned her Juris Doctorate at the University of Miami School of Law and her Masters in Law from the University of Washington School of Law.

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