Only a week after the US Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, Secretary Napolitano announced that USCIS will treat same sex marriages like any other marriage for purposes of eligibility for Lawful Permanent Resident status or receipt of an Immigrant visa to live permanently in the United States.

Previously, a lawful, same sex marriage was not recognized by USCIS.  As a result, a US citizen could not sponsor his/her same sex marriage partner to receive Lawful Permanent Resident status (green card) in order to live in the United States with his or her spouse.  In essence, same sex couples were forced to live apart or find some other way for the non-citizen to immigrate to the country.  No more!  With Secretary Napolitano’s announcement, and after the Supreme Court’s historic ruling, a US citizen who is lawfully married to a non-citizen may submit an Immediate Relative Petition (I-130) on his/her spouse’s behalf, regardless of the gender of the spouse.

Go to www.uscis.gov to read the official USCIS press release or click here