Immigration Benefits In Same-sex Marriages In Arizona

Same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. Same-sex couples have the same immigration rights as opposite-sex couples. In 2013, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was struck down by the Supreme Court. The immigration benefits are now extended to federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

Family-Based Immigration Petitions

U.S. citizens and green card holders may sponsor their same-sex spouses for family-based immigration.

Eligibility and Qualifications

    • The sponsoring spouse (the petitioner) must prove their U.S. citizenship or legal permanent residence.
    • The same-sex couple’s marriage must be valid in the state of Arizona or in the country where it took place.

I-130 Petition for Alien Relative

    • The next step is to file an I-130 Petition for Alien Relative on behalf of their same-sex spouse. The U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse file the said form to establish familial ties. Download the I-130 form from the USCIS website.

Documentation and Evidence
Both spouses must submit proof of the marital relationship:

  • Marriage certificates
  • Joint financial records
  • Shared property
  • Photographs
  • Affidavits from friends and family affirming the validity of the marriage

Filing and Fees

    • Pay the required filing fee for the I-130 petition. Visit the USCIS website for the updated schedule of fees.

Processing and Interviews

    • USCIS is responsible for processing I-130 petitions. The sponsoring spouse and the immigrant spouse may attend an interview. You may be asked to show additional proof of your marriage.

Immigrant Visa Processing or Adjustment of Status

    • If the immigrant spouse lives outside the United States, they will have to go through consular procedures to receive an immigrant visa.
    • If the immigrant spouse is already in the United States with a valid visa, they may be able to change their status to lawful permanent residence.

K-1 Fiancé(e) Visas

Applying for a K-1 visa for their fiancé(e) allows same-sex couples to bring them into the country and have them married within ninety days of arriving.

Eligibility: Both couples must be legally able to marry. They must have met at least once in two years. 

U.S. Citizen Petitioner Files Form I-129F: Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), Form I-129F, must be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by the sponsor, a U.S. citizen. Here are the attachments:

  1. Proof of the petitioner’s U.S. citizenship
  2. Evidence of the relationship, and
  3. The intent to marry

USCIS Processing: USCIS is going to evaluate the I-129F petition. The NVC will process the petition next.

NVC Processing: The approved petition will be forwarded to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the foreign fiancé(e)’s home country.

Fiancé(e) Applies for Visa: In their home country, the foreign fiancé(e) will apply at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for a K-1 visa. They must attend a visa interview and provide the necessary paperwork. This includes police clearances and medical exams.

Visa Approval: The foreign fiancé(e) will receive a K-1 visa after approval. This allows them to travel to the U.S.

Entering the U.S.: The fiancé(e) must wed the petitioner, a U.S. citizen, within ninety days after arriving in the country.

Adjustment of Status: The foreign fiancé(e) can now file for status adjustment to get a green card.

Conditional Residence and Adjustment of Status

Spouses who enter the country on marriage-based visas may apply for conditional permanent residence first. They can change their status to receive a permanent green card after.

Removing Conditions:

    • The couple must show that their union is binding. The marriage must not appear to be for immigration purposes only.
    • The USCIS approves the I-751 petition and the immigrant spouse will receive a 10-year green card. This grants the immigrant spouse to obtain unconditional permanent residency.

Work Authorization

Same-sex spouses with specific visas have authorization to work in the U.S.

Removal of the “One-Year Bar”

The one-year bar was removed for asylum petition submissions for those persecuted against sexual orientation or gender identity.

Refugee and Asylum Claims

Individuals persecuted against their sexual orientation or gender identity may seek asylum or refugee status in the U.S.


Immigration laws and policies can change over time. It’s best to regularly visit the USCIS website. Consult an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information and advice on immigration benefits for same-sex marriages in Arizona.