New Immigration Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In brief, this decision opens the door for same-sex married couples to file family-based immigration petitions, something that was not previously permitted. On July 2, 2013, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance confirming that U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents may now file family-based immigration petitions on behalf of their same-sex spouses. This benefit also accrues, with some possible exceptions, to same-sex couples who were married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages and are currently residing in a state that does not.   


This summary does not represent legal advice to any specific case. Potential applicants are advised to consult with an immigration attorney before beginning the petition process.