The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that LGBT bi-national couples are now eligible for green cards once they are married; Secretary Janet Napolitano issued a statement on Monday outlining that same-sex partners would be treated equally for the I-130 visa type.
The news follows the omission of LGBT couples from an immigration reform bill, passed by the Senate at the end of June, due to concern that the legislation would be killed straight away in the House.
“After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly,” said Napolitano.
“To that end, effective immediately, I have directed US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCUS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”
On Friday, a married couple in Fort Lauderdale, FL became the first same-sex couple in the country to have their green card application accepted. Traian Popov, a Bulgarian native, who wed Julian Marsh in New York, may now apply for immigration benefits and a permanent resident visa, though their marriage is not legal in Florida.
The DHS has released a short FAQ for LGBT couples considering I-130 visas.