In Illinois, same-sex unions gained legal recognition in 2014, and green card sponsorship for a foreign national came with that legal status. Despite being legal, permanent US residents often must still seek a Chicago immigration attorney to help them face the challenges that come with helping their partner obtain their green card.
Immigration Rights are in Full Effect for Same-Sex Partners
A US citizen or permanent resident has the right to file a visa petition to sponsor their foreign same-sex spouse. As with any marriage, the applicant must prove they legally married, whether here or elsewhere. They must also prove the marriage is in good faith. It’s here that many of the initial challenges can present themselves.
The presumption of marriage fraud – A marriage of two years or less must prove it’s a “good-faith marriage.” This requirement can create a burden for same-sex couples as many of their marriages only recently occurred. It’s also difficult if the other partner is in another country.
The presence of discrimination – Despite legal standing, there’s still the possibility that discrimination can rear its head. Discrimination can hamper the process or outright make it impossible for some people to navigate on their own.
Status of the foreign spouse – The legal status of the foreign partner can come into play for green card sponsorship.
- Was the foreign national in the country legally when the marriage took place?
- Did they overstay their visa?
- Did the marriage take place in a country where same-sex marriage isn’t legal?
- Is one or both partners currently outside the country?
- Are there children involved, in the US or abroad?
All of these things can create difficulties for same-sex couples.
If it’s an engagement and not yet a marriage – Sometimes, a marriage has yet to occur. It’s still possible to seek a fiancé visa, but that comes with some of its own complications.
Some Challenges Have Nothing to do with Discrimination
The forms and requirements for sponsorship can turn into a problem all on their own, outside of any gender or orientation issues. Forms I-130 and I-485 come with requirements and responsibilities for the sponsor that aren’t always readily apparent.
In addition, the sponsor will have to fill out these and other forms differently depending on their current living and financial status. Doing research and seeking the professional guidance from a Chicago immigration attorney can help same-sex partners navigate the process.