Back to Top skip to main content
GandS U.S. Immigration Logo
Jul 2, 2013

Supreme Court Ruling means U.S. Citizens can now sponsor same-sex partners

Jonathan A. Grode

Green and Spiegel U.S. applauds the recent Supreme Court decision holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional as well as the swift response from the Department of Homeland Security which now makes it possible for U.S. Citizens to sponsor their same-sex partners for permanent resident status if they have a valid marriage. For more information see below and/or contact Jonathan Grode.

Implementation of the Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act

Statement from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano:

“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?

A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.

Q2: My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

A2: Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

US Department of Homeland Security

Related Team

Jonathan Grode

Jonathan A. Grode

215-395-8959

215-395-8959

email Jonathan

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)
Providence (New England)

Full Biography

Jonathan A. Grode

Recent Blogs

Apr 21, 2021

DHS Has Announced an Additional 22,000 Visas for the H-2B Visa Program

After considerable pressure from small business owners and H-2B industry supporters, DHS has agreed to release an additional 22,000 H-2B visas, with 6,000 of those visas being earmarked for workers from Northern Triangle countries (Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala). According to DHS, employers wishing to obtain workers through this visa release will have to conduct additional advertising, and explain how their businesses will suffer without these workers. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 13, 2021

F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

On April 12. 2021 USCIS announced that F-1 students can now file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization online when applying for Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a 24-month OPT STEM extension. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 07, 2021

H, L, J-Visa Holders No Longer Suspended from Entry into the United States but Most Noncitizens Remain Subject to Travel Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending H-1B, H-2B, J and L admissions, expired March 31, 2021. Ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) public health travel restrictions remain in place requiring travelers from certain areas to qualify for national interest exceptions. U.S. Consulates are still operating at reduced levels and will have to work through backlogs as the pandemic ends. Learn more in this blog.