LGBTQ Marriage-Based Immigration

Florida LGBTQ Immigration Lawyer

The Law Office of Casais & Prias helps LGBTQ couples with immigration and naturalization. Our Florida LGBTQ immigration lawyer will guide you through the legal process, providing careful attention and support as you work toward establishing your legal presence in the United States.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) treats all marriages equally when reviewing green card applications. Regardless of whether you are the same-sex spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, you are eligible to apply for a marriage green card, just as heterosexual spouses are.

However, navigating immigration as a same-sex couple poses unique challenges. Having an experienced Florida LGBTQ immigration lawyer by your side becomes not just advisable but crucial for a smooth LGBTQ immigration journey.

Our firm’s managing partner, Rolando Casais, Jr., has vast experience in LGBTQ and immigration law. He serves on the Board of Directors for the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), is the Vice Chair of the Budget and By-Laws Committee, and sits on the LGBTQ Committee. As a member of the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Casais is adept at assisting same-sex couples in navigating the nuances of the naturalization process.

Legal Hurdles For LGBTQ Couples

Even though the process of same-sex immigration and naturalization is the same as it is for opposite-sex couples, LGBTQ spouses may face additional challenges in proving the legitimacy of their marriage, including:

What Is A Bona-Fide Marriage?

To become a naturalized citizen of a U.S. citizen spouse, you must convince the USCIS that your marriage is based on love, not green card status. The following documentation may be required for a non-citizen to be approved for naturalization based on marriage.

Residency Discrimination Can Factor In

There are legitimate reasons that a same-sex married couple may not be able to prove they live at the same address. In certain areas, housing discrimination remains a concern. If your landlord may discriminate against including your same-sex spouse on the lease, you might opt to omit them. However, not having a housing document with both spouses’ names could pose challenges in proving a bona fide marriage.
While this choice may arise from a legitimate fear of discrimination, it can also attract attention from USCIS, which requires evidence of shared living and financial assets. If a joint lease is unavailable, our Florida LGBTQ immigration lawyer suggests alternative documentation, such as a utility bill with both names or demonstrating each other’s status as beneficiaries on a life insurance policy.

When Knowledge of Your Spouse’s Family Can Be Challenging

Throughout the USCIS interview, both spouses will face inquiries about each other. These questions typically involve knowledge spouses commonly have, such as each other’s parents’ names. However, some same-sex couples may hesitate to introduce their significant other to their parents due to differing views on same-sex relationships.
This concern is valid, and our Florida LGBTQ immigration lawyer advises that even if your spouse hasn’t met your parents, they should familiarize themselves with details such as names, ages, and cities of residence. This proactive approach enhances your ability to address USCIS inquiries effectively.

Our Florida LGBTQ Immigration Lawyer Can Help

The process of becoming a naturalized citizen can be complex for same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike. Our experienced immigration attorneys can guide you through the intricacies that are crucial to help your application have the best chance of approval. Contact our firm today for more information and a complementary case evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions About LGBTQ Marriage-Based Immigration and Naturalization

Yes, same-sex marriage is treated equally in U.S. immigration law. If you were married in a country recognizing same-sex marriage, your spouse can apply for lawful permanent residency. After three years as a resident of the United States, they can apply for U.S. citizenship.

Requirements are the same for same-sex and opposite-sex couples:

  • Be 18 years old or older at the time you file your application
  • Hold Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status for three years
  • Live in a marital union for three years before applying
  • Stay married through the Oath of Allegiance ceremony
  • Be physically present in the U.S. for 18 months out of the last three years
  • Understand English and demonstrate knowledge of U.S. civics
  • Show good moral character for at least three years before filing
  • Meet the above eligibility requirements
  • Complete Form N-400 and submit it with the filing fee, either online or by mail
  • Undergo fingerprints and a background check
  • Pass exam exhibiting knowledge of the English language and U.S. civics
  • Pass USCIS interview
  • Upon passing, attend the Oath of Allegiance ceremony to become a U.S. citizen

While optional, having a Florida LGBTQ immigration lawyer is recommended due to the complex immigration and naturalization process. An attorney can assist with your application and help you prepare for the interview, ensuring a smoother naturalization journey.

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