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LGBT Issues in Immigration Law

New York City LGBT Immigration Attorneys

If you are a citizen of the United States and your same-sex partner is not, or if you are an LGBT individual who is seeking to emigrate to the United States, there are some options you can consider.  With the demise of Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, it is now possible for LGBT couples, where one member of the relationship is a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, to file petitions and applications with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services based upon their relationship, to classify the foreign partner as the fiance or fiancee of a U.S. citizen, permitting the foreign partner to travel to the United States to marry within 90 days of arrival in the U.S.A. (in a state where such marriages are legal,) or, if you are already married, or plan to marry either within the United States or abroad, in a jurisdiction where the marriage is legal, the U.S. partner can file a relative visa petition and the foreign partner can then process his or her visa application at a U.S. Consul or Embassy abroad, or, if already in the United States, and the spouse of a U.S. citizen, or the spouse of a lawful permanent resident who has maintained continuously lawful status, file simultaneously for adjustment of status to that of a lawful permanent resident.  As the spouse of a U.S. citizen, past periods of overstay or unlawful employment are generally not a bar to adjustment of status within the United States, although if the foreign partner has accrued unlawful presence and then left the United States, he or she may still face the three or the ten year bar to returning to the U.S.  In that event, a waiver is available based upon a showing of extreme hardship to the U.S. spouse of a continuing separation. The demise of DOMA has resulted in bi-national same-sex couples having many more legal options. The law firm of Weisberg, Friedman and Klapisch, LLP, has helped many same-sex partners obtain legal residency in the United States. To learn more about your options, contact our office today.

Apart from immigration based upon a committed relationship, another way in which a gay or lesbian person can legally stay in the United States is through the asylum process. In many countries across the world, homosexuals, bisexuals and transgendered individuals are subject to persecution. If you or your partner has a well-founded fear of persecution in your home country based on sexual orientation, you could be eligible for asylum. You must apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States.

In other cases, asylum will not be plausible. If this is the case, our lawyers will explore other options, such as the possibility of obtaining a family-based visa or employment-based visa. Contact the lawyers of Weisberg, Friedman & Klapisch, LLP.

Call or e-mail our law firm to set up a consultation to discuss your concerns. Our office is located in Manhattan, where we serve clients in the tri-state area and across the United States.

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