If you’re interested in having an LGBTQ+ immigrant or same-sex partner immigrate to California, you can benefit from learning more about how the visa process applies to this community. The United States began granting LGBTQ+ immigrants asylum who qualified under the Refugee Act of 1980 as having “membership in a social group”. The 2015 landmark Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges made same-sex marriage legal in every U.S. state and territory.
Learning about visas for LGBTQ+ immigrants
Since same-sex marriage is now legal in all states, LGBTQ+ couples can go through the fiancé visa process just as opposite-sex couples do. The fiancé visa is formally known as the K-1 visa, designed for a foreign national fiancé to move to the U.S. and marry an American citizen. The K-1 visa may be ideal for LGBTQ+ immigrants who are unable to marry in their countries of origin. After immigrating to the U.S., the foreign national may adjust his or her status for permanent residency.
The K-1 visa process
The first step is filing the Petition for Alien Fiancé, Form I-129F. The foreign national fiancé can enter the U.S. for marriage as long as the standard immigration requirements are met. Same-sex couples who are already married have the same rights within the immigration system that opposite-sex couples do. For someone to obtain a green card for his or her partner to enter the U.S., the marriage must have occurred in one of the 29 countries that legalized same-sex marriage.
Obtaining visas for LGBTQ+ immigrants
Per the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, all states are now required to license same-sex marriages, so no extra paperwork is involved anymore. If you want help with obtaining a K-1 visa for your partner overseas, contact an immigration lawyer. Legal counsel may be able to help guide you through the legal process to ensure you have all the required documentation properly filled out.