Monday, October 14, 2013

Immigration and same-sex couples

From: Isabelle in the EU

The reason I am getting in touch is that I have fallen in love with an American woman while I am French and live in France. Sadly she does not live in a state where same-sex marriages are allowed.

As someone who has been through all this, I was wondering whether you had any advice on how to proceed so I could eventually get a Green Card and live there with her. John Kerry's words on the topic of binational gay couples when he was in Britain last summer are encouraging but I do not know if the treatment of gay couples is now the same as non-gay ones.

I was wondering whether you had written any post on the topic or whether you could suggest an organization I might contact.
First of all: congratulations! Love is an amazing thing.

As for your question, the answer is pretty simple: if you're willing to get married, there's no problem. You can get married in any state where it's legal; it doesn't matter where you live.

According to the US Customs and Immigration Service here's how it works.
  • You get married in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. 
  • Go live anywhere in the US. 
  • Apply, using form I-130, to sponsor your spouse for a family-based immigration visa. 
  • You live happily ever after.
It's a bureaucratic hassle--tedious rather than hard if you're legally married.

A couple of things are unclear to me, though. For example, how does engagement rather than marriage work? Would you have to travel to a state where marriage is legal to propose? But a good lawyer could help you through those hurdles. The one I always recommend is Carolyn Soloway, of Frazier, Solowy, Poorak & Kennedy, P.C. in Atlanta. She helped me. Kelley still describes her as a goddess of justice.

I hope that helps. If I'm correct--and I'm not qualified to give legal advice; do, please, talk to a lawyer--if you're willing to get married, there are no obstacles. You and your sweetie can make this work...

...and I am amazed and delighted to type that. I think of all the years, the stress, the money, Kelley and I had to spend and now it's so simple. This is fabulous. Good luck!
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