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Couples and Families

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

Last updated: June 3, 2020


When the Supreme Court ruled on Windsor on June 26, 2013, the lives of many LGBTQ couples changed forever.  We continue to celebrate that success!  Now, many same-sex binational couples (one person is a U.S. citizen and the other is a foreign national) who have legally married one another are able to file marriage-based green card petitions. This is a pathway to citizenship. Immigration Equality worked hard to help make this huge win for our community a reality. Additionally, our expert legal team drew up plans to ensure that this change in policy would be implemented immediately, consistently and fairly. Many LGBTQ binational couples have already had their marriage interviews and many more have received their green cards. Unfortunately, Windsor did not fix everything. Permanent residents of the U.S. or those granted asylum here still cannot sponsor their fiancés to join them.   Please see below for information that LGBTQ immigrant families need to know.

Much of immigration law is predicated on familial relationships. However, for many LGBTQ people, neither genetic nor legal ties are necessarily present in a family.  We are frequently not formally recognized as being spouses, children, or parents. For those dealing with immigration issues, lack of legal recognition can be devastating to a family.  Immigration Equality continues its work with the Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security to ensure that the U.S. government supports and protects our families.

    Foreign-born Children of Same-sex Couples

    What is Birthright Citizenship? Birthright citizenship refers to the right of certain people to be recognized automatically as citizens at the moment of their birth…

    Dual Foreign-national Couples

    Dual foreign national couples are couples in which both partners are not citizens of the United States. Under U.S. immigration law, there is recognition for dual foreign national married couples where one spouse holds a long-term nonimmigrant visa.

    Bi-national Couples

    LGBTQ couples have been able to obtain marriage-based immigration benefits since the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional on June 26, 2013…

The information contained herein is for reference only and may not be up to date. It does not constitute legal advice. You should always consult an attorney regarding your matter.

This handbook is intended for use by pro bono attorneys and immigration attorneys working on LGBTQ/HIV asylum cases.

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