Obama Administration Opens Green Card Investigation for Same-Sex Couples

The Obama administration recently announced it will begin a system-wide review of same-sex couples where the partners of U.S. citizens were denied green cards. According to USA Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said couples of the same-sex would be able to obtain a green card for their foreign spouse, just as heterosexual couples are able to do.

The DHS will review all applications filed and denied after February 23, 2011, by same-sex couples, the source reported. February 23 is when President Obama announced his administration would not defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. The DHS has attempted to keep track of all green card denials based on DOMA.

Couples can also request the department to review their denied case even if the decision was made before the February 23 date, USA Today reported. As many as 36,000 gay and lesbian couples may receive a green card since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA. Although the marriage must be recognized, couples do not have to live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages in order to be issued a green card, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

New guidelines for married same-sex couples trying to obtain a green card were issued July 26 by USCIS. The regulations will allow U.S. citizens to bring partners they’re engaged to into the country before their scheduled marriages.

If a citizen or permanent resident wants to bring their fianc​é he or she I-129F. Same-sex couples can also reduce the residence period required for naturalization under the new guidelines, similar to opposite-sex marriages.

“As long as all other immigration requirements are met,” the guidelines stated. “A same-sex engagement may allow your fianc​ée to enter the United States for marriage.”