On June 26th of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to be on the right side of history. Five out of nine judges voted to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), a law stating that marriage could only be recognized between a man and a woman. Because of this law, same-sex binational couples have been unable in the past to sponsor their foreign spouses for a green card, barring them from building a life together in the United States. The day after DOMA came down, couples from the four corners of the world began to send in their green card petitions, now with the guarantee that they will be approved. We are one of those couples. And today we were able to send in our Green Card Petition!
We were very blessed to have friends and family supporting us the whole way through messages of love, financial gifts to pay for processing fees and constant reassurance that everything would turn out ok. We’re very grateful for that. The past three years have been quite a journey (!) as Michele was denied twice for a tourist visa to the U.S. and once for Canada. While we have been married for over a year and together for 3, the majority of our friends and family haven’t been able to meet MIchele yet. We hope that in July of next year, we can finally make that happen by moving to the U.S. The plan now is to wait. We’ve been told the green card process will take 8 months to a year so in the mean time we will work to save up money and think of where we want to live when we go to the U.S. My parents and most of my extended family live in California but my brother and many friends are in New York, “home” is Colorado so it will be hard to decide. I’ll also be applying to Masters programs across the country that may be the ultimate factor in deciding our new home.
For anyone who is also part of a same-sex binational couple (or knows of someone who is), below I have listed what is required for applying for a green card petition from abroad…
First, you must know that I am not a professional or a lawyer and I recommended that you have a consultation with an immigration lawyer that specializes in same-sex marriage. Since the process is very new, few people are well-informed on the subject. I suggest these two organizations that have been at the forefront of the marriage equality fight for many years, the DOMA Project and Immigration Equality. Both are incredibly capable at giving invaluable advice and will point you in the right direction, answer your questions, etc. Practically everything you will need to know about getting your spouse’s green card can be found on the USCIS website. Remember, it is your RIGHT to bring your spouse to the United States as long as you are in a valid marriage so if it’s your dream to move back home, go after it! You will now be approved. On Friday, John Kerry announced that the Department of State would begin treating all same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples. And the Department of Homeland Security has been prepped since July 1st:
The first step is the green card petition, later comes the consulate interview as well as more documents for proving your marriage is valid.
These are the documents required to send in for the green card petition if you are starting to gather them together. Read the instructions too:
- G-1145 e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance form (1 page)
- Completed and signed I-130 form (2 pages)
- Check for I-130 filing fee of USD $420.00
- One completed and signed form G-325A Biographic Information and photograph (5cmx5cm) for each of you.
- Copy of your U.S. passport or birth certificate to prove your U.S. citizenship
- Copy of your marriage license
- Copy of a certified translation of your marriage certificate from if in a foreign language
- Any documents in both of your names to prove you have had a lasting relationship (joint bank accounts, leases, etc.)
- Copies of affidavits written by third parties having personal knowledge of the bona fides of your marriage.
- Any supporting information (photos, emails, etc.) that prove the length of you relationship
**If anyone else is going through this process and has had a different experience or has any valuable information, please share below. It’s such a new process and it would be great if we could all work together helping each other out!! Good luck!