Who Qualifies to Sponsor a Same-Sex Spouse?
You may qualify to sponsor your same-sex spouse for a Green Card if:
- You are legally married
- You were both physically present at the marriage ceremony
- You have not tried to enter into a false marriage to evade immigration laws
Note: Requirements for marriage by proxy are still being defined in terms of same-sex marriage. Marriage by proxy is when one spouse, or both spouses, are not physically present at a marriage ceremony.
States that Recognize Same-Sex Marriage
It is important to know which states see same-sex marriage as legal, especially for immigration purposes.
Knowing the legal status of your relationship will aid you in your application process.
The states that grant same-sex marriages are:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
From August 1, 2013:
- Rhode Island
Forms to File When Sponsoring Your Same-Sex Spouse
- You will file Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, to petition the USCIS for a Green Card for your spouse.
- You will file Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, to show that you can support your spouse financially.
Once your spouse is in the U.S., or if they are in the U.S. already, they will file:
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization if they would like to work.
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document if they want to travel abroad while their application is in process.
If your spouse is outside the U.S., he or she will apply for the Green Card at a U.S. consulate abroad. When the consulate approves Form I-130, your spouse will receive a date for an interview.
ImmigrationDirect's Form Navigator wizard prepares all these forms for you. You answer simple, step-by-step questions in plain English - our software does the rest.
The USCIS filing fee for Form I-130 is $420 and the filing fee for Form I-485 is $985.
There is no filing fee for Form I-134. Your spouse may also be required to have his or her biometrics (fingerprints and signature) taken for a fee of $85.
The Marriage-Based Green Card Interview
The U.S. government closely reviews all petitions for marriage Green Cards. Immigration officers look to expose what are called "marriages of convenience".
Marriages of convenience are cases of immigration fraud where someone marries another person so that they can get immigration benefits - such as a Green Card.
The immigration officer will ask you both a series of questions that may be very personal. The point of these questions is to reveal a functional and personal relationship between you and your spouse. You may be asked questions about your relationship, how you met, your finances, and the details of your daily lives and work. See a list of sample questions here.
The more you know about each other, the better the chance that your application will be approved.
If the initial interview is successful, you will then be granted a conditional Green Card. A conditional Green Card is valid for two years, after which you and your spouse will need to apply together to have the conditions on the Green Card removed.
To remove the conditions on the Green Card and get a regular, ten-year Green Card, you will need to file Form I-751, Petition to Remove the Conditions of Residence. At this time, you may be interviewed and your marriage examined again.
Green Card Interview Checklist
At the time of your interview, it's a good idea to gather supporting documents and proof of your marriage relationship. Below is a list of documents you can use to support your application.
- Marriage certificate
- Copies of previously terminated marriages (either through divorce, annulment or death)
- Photos of events in your marriage
- Documents showing joint ownership or property such as mortgages or bank accounts
- Proof that you live together (you can use your driver's licenses with the same address)
- Birth certificates of children (and associated adoption documents if applicable)
- Affidavits sworn or affirmed by third parties confirming your marriage
- Tax returns either filed jointly or separately
- Correspondence between each other (this simply illustrates the depth of your relationship)
How Immigration Direct can Help
Immigration Direct can help you prepare a family-based Green Card application for your same-sex spouse. Our form navigator wizard:
- Asks you simple, straightforward questions in plain language
- Offers you tips on complex questions, and tells you where to find answers to questions
- Completes all the forms you need for your application, including professional templates for additional information you may need to provide
- Tells you which attachments, documents and fees to submit with your application, and where and how to submit your application.