DHS: Foreign gays married to Americans get Green Cards

Oh what a difference a single court opinion makes. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has ordered that married gay couples be treated like every other married couple for immigration purposes.


This is a direct result of last week’s Supreme Court decision finding Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.

In the past, gay Americans who were legally wed to gay foreigners found that the federal government did not recognize their legal marriages, because of DOMA, so the foreign gay spouses were deported.  All of that now changes.

Press Release
July 1, 2013
Contact: DHS Press Office, (202) 282-8010


“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

More from DHS:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: I am a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national. Can I now sponsor my spouse for a family-based immigrant visa?

A1: Yes, you can file the petition. You may file a Form I-130 (and any applicable accompanying application). Your eligibility to petition for your spouse, and your spouse’s admissibility as an immigrant at the immigration visa application or adjustment of status stage, will be determined according to applicable immigration law and will not be automatically denied as a result of the same-sex nature of your marriage.

Q2: My spouse and I were married in a U.S. state that recognizes same-sex marriage, but we live in a state that does not. Can I file an immigrant visa petition for my spouse?

A2: Yes, you can file the petition. In evaluating the petition, as a general matter, USCIS looks to the law of the place where the marriage took place when determining whether it is valid for immigration law purposes. That general rule is subject to some limited exceptions under which federal immigration agencies historically have considered the law of the state of residence in addition to the law of the state of celebration of the marriage. Whether those exceptions apply may depend on individual, fact-specific circumstances. If necessary, we may provide further guidance on this question going forward.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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10 Responses to “DHS: Foreign gays married to Americans get Green Cards”

  1. manu says:


    its me manikandan from india age 22, am gay guy would like to work and study in that abroad wanna to take care my family because am from poor family, i am hard-worker and i will do my job are true to the best of my knowledge..please i beg you to help me and ofcourse i love gay relationship,gay marriage, No matter what is age..No matter what is gender Love is Love..!if anyone ok please contact through my mail id

    thank you

  2. TomTO says:

    We should never forget how quickly Menendez and Schumer threw us under the bus with immigration reform.

  3. S1AMER says:

    Absolutely! We still have many, many battles to fight.

  4. S1AMER says:

    Now, imagine where we’d be with the implementation of Windsor had Romney won last fall …

  5. BeccaM says:

    Well, it looks like the throwing of bi-national gay and lesbian couples under the bus by dropping the immigration bill amendment didn’t take. That’s good news anyway.

    I imagine the wingnuts’ heads are exploding over this.

  6. BeccaM says:

    Good luck, Mike, and congratulations. :-)

  7. cole3244 says:

    freedom comes slow even in a supposed democracy.

  8. bkmn says:

    This is a reason to actively campaign for gay supportive candidates. A republican president could direct the Homeland security folks to deny visas to couples that live in non-marriage equality states.

  9. unclemike says:

    I…I’m speechless.

    My husband has been in Hong Kong since 2004. We’ve only seen each other three times in the past 8 years.

    And now…wow. I need to get started!

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