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DOMA Defeat Opens New Doors to Immigration for Same-Sex Married Couples

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

In the week since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, same-sex couples have already begun to enjoy new immigration benefits.
On Monday, July 1, 2013, a Bulgarian graduate student and his American husband living in Fort Lauderdale, FL became the first same-sex couple in the U.S. to have their marriage-based immigrant visa petition and application for permanent residence approved.  Traian Popov, who is currently in the U.S. on a student visa and would have had to leave the U.S. after completing his master’s degree in social sciences had DOMA not been struck down, will now be able to stay in Florida with his husband and eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.  Read the full story here.

This development comes after a statement issued by Secretary of State John Kerry calling for cooperation between the Department of Justice and other agencies in order to, “…fully implement the requirements and implications of the Court’s decision…to review all relevant federal statutes as well as the benefits administered by the agency,” including those that affect visa processing and immigration benefits.  Read Secretary Kerry’s full statement here.  To read more on the implementation of the Court’s decision in immigration policies, visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s recently released FAQ’s on same-sex immigration benefits.

Sostrin Immigration Lawyers applauds the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA and USCIS’s swift implementation of this ruling to grant equal immigration benefits to all married couples.  We remind foreign nationals interested in permanent residence based on marriage to collect relevant documentation confirming the validity of their marriage and invite them to visit for additional information.

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