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Third-Country Processing for GLBT Immigrants

The Department of State has announced to immigration attorneys, through the liaison efforts of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), that some GLBT immigrants may seek to process their immigrant visas in safer third-countries.

Last year, when the Supreme Court struck the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in Windsor v. United States, federal government agencies began recognizing same-sex marriages for federal benefits, including immigration. United States citizens may now seek immigrant visas for their same-sex spouse. Although some people may obtain residency without leaving the United States, some immigrants will be required to return to their home country to process their immigrant visa.

It is no secret that some countries remain quite hostile to GLBT persons. In recognition of the lack of safety for GLBT people, the State Department has advised that it would review reasons for fear of returning to that country and would entertain processing the immigrant visa in a safer country. This option is also open to GLBT immigrants seeking immigration benefits on an employment-based visa, as well. Such cooperation from the State Department is very welcome news as many of our clients do come from countries where being “out” as a GLBT person or someone in a same-sex marriage can be harmful or fatal.

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Kolko & Casey, P.C. is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, and Portuguese and we can arrange for translators in any other language.