Hope for Gay Partners of Nonimmigrant Visa Holders

Back in March 2011 I lamented the Obama Administration’s announcement that it would continue to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the immigration context, thereby precluding gay spouses from petitioning for the immigration of their partners. Although this still holds true, on August 17, 2011 USCIS confirmed that it would now support the application for B-2 (tourist) status by cohabiting partners and other household members of principal non-immigrants.  This means that if you are a “household member” of an F-1 student, H-1B visa holder etc., you may be eligible for tourist status in the US for the duration of your partner’s authorized stay in the US.  Indeed, this policy would apply to all members of the visa-holder’s “nuclear” family, including possibly parents, heterosexual partners and even possibly parents.  Unfortunately, this “benevolence” has not yet been extended to cover petitions for Lawful Permanent Residency (“Green Card”) status, but it is a step in the right direction.

For guidance on whether you might qualify as a “household member” in this context, contact my office today at (914) 358-1400 or Click here to email me at karyn.schiller@kslawoffices.com

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