Implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by the USCIS

Pursuant to the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on June
26, 2013 which overturned some of the provisions of the DOMA, a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident in a same-sex marriage to a foreign national can now sponsor his or her spouse for a family-based immigrant visa.

The key element is determining whether the marriage took place in a state or foreign country which legally recognizes same-sex marriages.


The USCIS began to unilaterally re-opening and approving previously denied petitions by same-sex U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident spouses. In addition to a spouse family petition, the following non-immigrant and immigrant visas, as well as relief from removal and waivers are now available to same-sex spouses:


  • Follow to join spouses who recently immigrated to the United States provided that the marriage occurred prior to grant of an immigrant visa.
  • Immigrant petitions for step-children of a same-sex spouse, provided that the marriage occurred prior to child turning 18 years old.
  • Fiance visas for same-sex individuals who plan to marry in the state which recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • Lawful permenant residence under Violence Against Marriage Act if same-sex spouse was abused by a U.S. Citizen or lawful permenant spouse.
  • Derivative U and V visas.
  • Derivative visas for same-sex spouses of non-immigrant visas: F-1, J-1, L-1A and L-1B, E, and others.  Please note that dependents of L-1A and L-1B visa holders are permitted to obtain an employment authorization in the U.S.
  • Employment-based immigrant visas for EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 and EB-4 categories.
  • Extreme Hardship waivers are now available based on a qualifying relationship of a spouse.

  • Cancellation of removal for Non-LPRs and LPRs: same-sex spouse's health and other factor can be taken into consideration.

  • Deferred Action from removal.


Immigration Officers will be giving a greater scrutiny when reviewing petitions and applications for immigration benefits submitted by the same-sex couples.  Therefore, it is extremely important to retain an experienced immigration attorney prior to filing.  Call our office at 248-663-5150 for a confidential consultation.



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The information on this Michigan Immigration Law Firm website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Law office with practice exclusively in Immigration and Nationality Law.  Serving clients in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Livingston counties, throughout the State of Michigan and other states.  Office located in Berkley, Oakland County; however, clients travel to meet with Svetlana Lebedinski from the cities throughout the Metro Detroit area, western Michigan and the adjacent states of Ohio and Illinois.  Full services Immigration Law Firm serving Farmington Hills, West Bloomfield, Novi, Troy, Detroit, Hamtramck, Downriver, Commerce Twp, Walled Lake, Pontiac, Livonia, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Howell, Wixom, Utica and beyond.

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