We Offer The Compassionate, Tireless Advocacy You Deserve

  1. Home
  2.  – 
  3. Immigration Law
  4.  – Navigating the Immigration System for LGBTQ+ Couples and Their Families

Navigating the Immigration System for LGBTQ+ Couples and Their Families

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2023 | Immigration Law

LGBTQ+ individuals and families all over the world suffer discrimination and violence disproportionately more than their heteronormative counterparts worldwide. In the U.S. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law, including immigration. This was a major victory for same-sex couples and their families, as it allowed them to sponsor their partners for immigration and receive many of the same benefits and protections as heterosexual couples.

Recent Improvements for LGBTQ+ Immigration Reform

In December 2022, the Respect for Marriage Act was signed into law. The legislation consists of these major components which must be recognized by all states: Repeal of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA); guarantees federal rights, benefits, and obligations for same-sex couples, and also protects the same rights for interracial couples. This is a huge victory for the LGBTQ+ community and makes the U.S. an even better prospect for asylum seekers and refugees.

Hurdles for LGBTQ+ Families

The U.S. immigration system is a naturally complicated process, but it is especially complicated for LGBTQ+ families seeking life in America. Although their rights are protected by the federal government, the system in the U.S. still isn’t perfect and has a long way to go. For example, some countries do not recognize same-sex marriage, which can make providing documentation to sponsor their partner or spouse a lot more difficult. This can cause delays and initial denials that harm families in the long run.

Immigration options for LGBTQ+ Families

Due to laws that protect LGBTQ+ families and individuals, the same immigration policies apply regardless of orientation. However, if you or your family members suffer persecution within your country of origin, you may be eligible to apply for asylee or refugee status, which are respectively dependent upon whether you are currently residing in the U.S. or not.  If you are personally granted asylum, you may also petition for family members or children to join you.

If your same-sex marriage is not recognized in your country of origin, a U.S. with a fiance abroad may utilize the fiancé K-1 nonimmigrant visa. This will give a foreign same-sex partner the ability to travel to the U.S. specifically to marry their fiancé, who is a U.S. citizen, and apply for permanent residency.

LGBTQ+ individuals suffer discrimination on a daily basis but deserve the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. At Rotella & Hernandez, we are dedicated to family law and immigration rights. Our experienced attorneys understand and respect your unique struggles. If you have questions about family or immigration law, contact us today for a consultation.