Immigration Options For Gay, Lesbian And Transsexual Individuals
As the world becomes a smaller place through globalization, more and more individuals are traveling abroad, for pleasure, for school, and for employment. Individuals who are in gay or lesbian relationships face difficulties in staying together when coming to the US either as immigrants or nonimmigrants. Furthermore, those individuals who have immigration issues related to sexual orientation or transgender may have questions about their rights under federal laws. This article explores the issues and provides information and assistance to the gay, lesbian and transgender communities for immigration purposes.
Are legally binding unions recognized as a marriage in an immigrant or nonimmigrant visa where marriage is an essential basis for qualification?
In 1996, Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states that a qualifying "marriage" for the purposes of federal law exists only between a man and a woman. Accordingly, a US citizen cannot petition for a green card for a same sex partner. This is true even if the couple has entered into a legally binding arrangement, such as the civil unions now performed in
Will a marriage involving a transsexual individual be recognized for immigration purposes?
In recent case decided by Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), In Re Lovo, the BIA held that a marriage between a postoperative male-to-female transsexual and a male can be the basis for benefits under section 201(b)(2)(A)(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act. Since the state where the marriage occurred recognized the change in sex and considered the marriage valid, the BIA also found the marriage to be valid. The BIA overturned the decision of the Nebraska Service Center Director who denied the petitioner's instant visa petition under the INA on the basis that Congress has not enacted legislation that officially recognizes a marriage where one of the parties has undergone a sex change. This decision marked a victory for the recognition of marriage of transsexual post operatives by federal laws.
How can people in a same sex partnership stay together as immigrants or non-immigrants?
In this article, we outline some of the ways people in such a predicament can stay together. Detailed information on the visa categories mentioned below is available in other ABC’s of Immigration articles which can be found online at http://www.visalaw.com/abcs.html.
Can homosexuality be a basis for asylum?
A final way that the foreign national in a same sex partnership can remain in the
The International and Lesbian and Gay Association World Legal Survey website at http://www.ilga.info/index.html
The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission website at http://www.iglhrc.org.
What resources are available to same sex partners or gays and lesbians with immigrations issues?
The bottom line is that couples in same sex relationships must be creative in devising workable visa strategies. If you are interested in learning more about immigration issues that affect the gay and lesbian community, visit the website of the Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force at http://www.lgirtf.org
Gregory Siskind is a partner in Siskind Susser's Memphis, Tennessee, office. After graduating magna cum laude from Vanderbilt University, he received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago. Mr. Siskind is a member of AILA, a board member of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and a member of the ABA, where he serves on the LPM Publishing Board as Marketing Vice Chairman. He is the author of several books, including the J Visa Guidebook and The Lawyer's Guide to Marketing on the Internet. Mr. Siskind practices all areas of immigration law, specializing in immigration matters of the health care and technology industries. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.