Green Cards and Dependent Visas now Available for Same-Sex Spouses

Same-Sex Spouses will be able to obtain “Green Cards” and Dependent Visas for the first time, based on the US Supreme Court’s ruling on 26 June 2013. The Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision strikes down the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), holding that the Act violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 5th Amendment. This means that American citizens, legal permanent residents and nonimmigrant employment-based visa holders will be able to sponsor foreign-born spouses for “Green Cards” or dependent visas, as long as they were married in a state or country that recognizes same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court ruling only applies to same-sex couples who were married in a state or country that recognizes marriage. It does NOT apply to civil unions or civil partnerships for the purposes of US immigration law. (This is equally applied to heterosexual partners who are not legally married).

Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, said in a statement that, “Working with our federal partners, including the DOJ, we will implement today’s decision so that all married couples will be treated equally and fairly in the administration of our immigration laws.”