In June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Section 3 of DOMA prevented federal recognition of same-sex marriages (U.S. v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013)), i.e. that Section of DOMA defined “marriage” as only applicable to heterosexual unions.
Prior to U.S. v. Windsor, noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens in same-sex marriages were treated differently under U.S. immigration law than their opposite-sex counterparts. Even if the state in which they planned to reside, or the country in which they did reside, had legalized same-sex marriages, before U.S. v. Windsor those families were unable to attain legal status based on their U.S. citizen spouse’s status.
Thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, noncitizen spouses and fiancés finally are able to legalize their status in the U.S., or request entry into the U.S. based on their valid relationship with their partner. Moreover, same-sex spouses are now considered “qualifying relatives” for the purposes of defense against deportation and waivers of inadmissibility for admission into the U.S. Nonimmigrant spouses of same-sex marriages can now apply and enter the U.S. on derivative nonimmigrant visas such as H-4, L-2, and E-2.
At Soreff Law, we have already helped several same-sex couples obtain legal status in the U.S. and obtain fiancé visas abroad. We can assist you if you have any questions about this process and how it affects you and your loved one.