San Antonio Green Card for Same Sex Spouse Lawyer
Green Card for Same Sex Spouse
US Citizens in a same sex marriage or an LGBT marriage may apply for a Green Card for their foreign spouse. A Green Card will give the foreign spouse permission to live and work in the US on a permanent basis. Legally married same sex couples are eligible for the same US Immigration benefits that are available to opposite sex married couples. Therefore, US Citizens are eligible to get a Green Card, also known as Legal Permanent Residency, for their same sex or LGBT spouse. The main requirement is that you be married in a place where gay marriage or LGBT marriage is legally permitted. These places include Texas, any other state in the USA, or even another country where same sex marriage has been legalized, including Mexico, Canada, Colombia and Spain among others. Our Immigration Lawyers have experience obtaining Green Cards for same sex marriages.
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San Antonio Green Card for Same Sex Spouse Attorney
1. Live and Work in the United States
Your same sex spouse permission will be able to live and work legally in the United States.
With a Green Card, your spouse can enroll in schools in the US without the need to apply for a Student Visa.
3. Social Security Number and Driver’s License
With a Green Card in hand, your spouse will be eligible to apply for a US Driver’s License and a US Social Security Number.
4. Eligibility for US Citizenship
One of the major benefits of a Green Card is that it opens the door to applying for US Citizenship. The foreign spouse may apply for US Citizenship 3 years after having obtained a Green Card.
When applying for a Green Card as the same sex spouse of a US Citizen, there are 2 main requirements:
1. You must be legally married.
A legal marriage is one that is officially recognized by the government of the state or country where you got married. Therefore, you must be married in a place that allows Gay Marriage or LGTB marriage. A government issued “marriage certificate” showing that the marriage is official proves your marriage is legal. Keep in mind that you do not need to get married in the United States. Getting married in another country also works so long as the place where you get married has legalized LGBT Marriage. If you have this, then US immigration law will make you eligible to apply for a Green Card just as if you were married to someone from the opposite sex. The immigration Lawyers in our office can help you determine if you the place where you plan to get married has legalized marriage for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
2. Your marriage must be “bona-fide”.
What is a bona-fide marriage? A bona-fide marriage is one where the spouses got married for the purpose of forming a family and living like a family. The words bona-fide mean real and without the intention to deceive. In more simple terms, you can only apply for a Green Card if your real primary intention is to be married.
There are two different ways to apply for a foreign spouse’s Green Card. Option #1 is used when the foreign spouse is already in the USA. Option #2 is used when the foreign spouse lives outside the USA.
Option #1 – Adjustment of Status for Foreign Spouse Lives in USA
When the foreign spouse already lives in the USA, the Green Card application process is done entirely inside the USA. The legal name for this process is Adjustment of Status. The Green Card process for a spouse who is not a US Citizen and currently lives in the United States is as follows:
Step 1: Document Checklist
First our Immigration Lawyer will explain what documents will be needed to apply for your Green Card. Then we will provide you an easy to understand document checklist of what will be needed. Th Green Card document checklist is the most important part of the application because it lays out exactly what will be needed from you to apply for the Green Card.
Step 2: Prepare Green Card Application
Once you and your spouse have provided the Immigration Attorney with the required documents, the Immigration Attorney will prepare and submit your Green Card application to the US Government (USCIS).
Step 3: Work and Travel Permit
Once your spouse’s Green Card application has been submitted, your spouse is eligible to receive a work and travel permit. With this permit, your spouse can get a Social Security Number and work legally in the USA while the Green Card application is pending. After the work and travel permit is issued, then we wait for USCIS to schedule an interview appointment for both spouses.
Step 4: Green Card Interview for Same Sex Spouse
The last step of the process is the Green Card interview. The purpose of this interview is for a US Government Officer the Green Card application prepared by our Immigration Lawyers and to confirm that you and your same sex spouse are really are married with the intention of living as a family. This interview is done inside the USA at a US Government (USCIS) office. Under the law, Green Card interviews for same sex spouses should be carried out in the same way as for opposite sex spouses. Nevertheless, prior to your appointment, one of our immigration attorneys will prepare you and your spouse for the Green Card interview. The Green Card is approved at the interview when the USCIS officer determines that your application complies with the law and that your marriage is bonafide.
Option #2 – Apply at US Embassy when foreign spouse lives outside the USA
When the foreign spouse lives outside the USA, the Green Card process includes 2 separate applications. Application #1 is filed inside the USA. Application #2 is filed outside the USA, at the US Embassy in the country where the foreign spouse lives. The legal name for this process is Consular Processing. The Green Card application process when the foreign spouse lives outside the USA is as follows:
Step 1: Document Checklist
Once you hire our firm, our Immigration Lawyer will provide you with a very specific checklist of the documents needed to prepare the foreign spouse’s Green Card application. This checklist is the most important part of the application, because it lays out exactly what will be needed by our immigration attorneys to apply for your Green Card.
Step 2: Prepare and Submit Application # 1
Once you and your spouse have provided our office with the required documents, the Immigration Lawyer will prepare and submit Application #1. Then we wait for an approval of Application #1 before moving forward.
Step 3: Prepare and Submit Application #2
Once Application #1 is approved, we start Application #2. Our Immigration Lawyer will prepare and submit Application #2 to the National Visa Center, an office of the US Embassy. Then, we wait for the US Embassy to schedule an interview appointment for the foreign spouse. This interview will be held at the US Embassy in the country where the foreign spouse lives. The US Citizen spouse is not required to attend the interview at the US Embassy.
Step 4: Green Card Interview at US Embassy
Application #2 ends with a Green Card interview for the foreign spouse. The purpose of this interview is for a US Government Officer to determine that the application is complete and to confirm that the foreign spouse and the US Citizen spouse are really married with the intention of living as a family. The interview is performed at the US Embassy, outside the USA, in the country where the foreign spouse lives. Under the law, same sex Green Card interviews should be the same as opposite sex green card interviews. Nevertheless, our immigration attorney will prepare the foreign spouse for the Green Card interview so that things goes smoothly. When the officer confirms that the spouse is eligible for the green card, the Green card is approved.
Can I apply for my spouse’s child from a previous marriage, even if that marriage was not a same sex marriage?
Yes, a US Citizen in a same-sex marriage may apply for a Green Card for the child of his/her foreign spouse. The main requirement is that the marriage between the US Citizen and the foreign spouse needs to take place before the child’s 18 birthday. This is true even if the Non-US Citizen Spouse was previously married to someone from the opposite sex.
For More Information About a Green Card for Same Sex Couples
If you would like to set up a consultation with either of our Immigration Lawyers in San Antonio; Gerardo Menchaca or Tomas Resendez, to discuss the time, costs and other requirements associated with a same sex green card application, please call (210) 858-9681.