Can I get a K-1 visa for my same-sex fiance?

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Question:

I’m a U.S. citizen male, living in Texas, in a long-term relationship with another man, who lives in Costa Rica. We’ve done a lot of traveling back and forth over the years, but never been able to settle down in the same country. The news about DOMA being overturned is very exciting – we’d like to get married and have him join me in the United States. Would a fiance visa work for that? Is it okay that I live in a state where same-sex marriage is not allowed?

Answer:

A fiance visa (K-1) is indeed available to same-sex couples, based on current immigration law and the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of key portions of DOMA. As with other fiances, you would need to prove that you are a U.S. citizen, that the two of you have met within the last two years,  that the two of you plan to marry within 90 days of your intended’s entry into the United States, and that your partner is not inadmissible to the U.S. for health, crime, security, past unlawful presence in the U.S., or other reasons. For more on the requirements and procedures, see the “K-1 Fiance Visas” section of Nolo’s website.

After your fiance arrives in the U.S., you will need to get married reasonably soon, in order to prepare to submit your new spouse’s adjustment of status (green card) application. For a list of the U.S. states where you can potentially hold your wedding, see “Same-Sex Marriage Is Now Legal in 13 States and DC.” As of now (days after implementation of the DOMA decision), it appears that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services won’t add any additional hurdles for same-sex couples who  get legally married in one state but plan to live in another state where same-sex marriage is not recognized.  (There was some early speculation among attorneys that this would go in another direction . . . .)

Nevertheless, given how new this aspect of the law is, it would be wise for  you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for a full, personal analysis and assistance with the paperwork.

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