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First Same-Sex Couple Receives Green Card in Post-DOMA Landscape

by Jennifer Grady, Esq.

The Supreme Courtof the United States struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on June 26, 2013.  Now the federal government must recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples with regard to federal benefits, which includes immigration law relief.

Since July 2013, immigrant beneficiaries of petitions filed by their same-sex U.S. citizen spouse have finally been able to obtain a Green Card, which grants them status as a Legal Permanent Resident and a path to U.S. citizenship.

Some of The Grady Firm clients have benefited from the change in this law and have been able to file an immediate relative Green Card petition and adjust their status to that of a Legal Permanent Resident.

Learn more about Janet and Marisa from Long Beach, California.

Janet and Marisa met in 2001, but could not legalize their union through marriage because they are a same-sex couple.  However, as soon as DOMA was stuck down, they married in August 2013.  As an American citizen, Janet was able to file a Petition for Immediate Relative (I-130) on Marisa’s behalf just a few months after their wedding (they first had to wait 8 weeks to obtain their certified marriage certificate to include in the application).  Because they married in the US, and Marisa entered the United States legally and maintained current immigration status, they were able to adjust her status (I-485) to Legal Permanent Resident at the same time as the filing of the I-130 petition.

Based on current processing times, Marisa attended her interview and was approved for a Green Card in February 2014.  She expects to receive her Green Card in a few weeks.  In addition to the Green Card, Marisa is eligible for a work permit, so she is now able to contribute to her family income and become a part of the US work force.  In two years, Marisa will plan to remove the “Conditional” aspect of her Legal Permanent Residency, and a year later, she will apply to become a U.S. citizen.

Congratulations to Janet and Marisa!

To learn whether you may be eligible to apply for a Green Card based on marriage to a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident, schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm attorneys by filling out a Contact Request Form, or calling (949) 798-6298.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice.  Results and processing times by USCIS may vary.  Similar results are not guaranteed.  Always consult a licensed attorney to review the facts that are specific to your case.

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