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The Truth About Gay Marriage and US Citizenship

This article discusses how to gain US citizenship through same-sex marriage. It refers to the United States. This is extremely important if you plan on going to or bringing someone to the US.

Can Gay Marriage Give Citizenship?

Many guys living outside of the US want to know if they can gain US citizenship through same-sex marriage. The answer is yes. On June 26th, 2013 the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This allowed the federal government to being recognizing same-sex marriages and granted all the rights and responsibilities afforded by marriage in the United States.

How to Get US Citizenship Through Marriage

If you wish to gain US citizenship through marriage there are two main avenues to go through. The first and most popular is the k-1 Fiancé Visa. It takes less time but is more expensive than the second route which is the CR-1 Spousal Visa.

Most same-sex couples utilize the K-1 Fiancé Visa since you a CR-1 visa requires a legally valid marriage in the non-citizens home country and most countries in the world still do not recognize marriage equality.

Meet The Minimum Requirements

Your US citizen sponsor must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for a K-1 Fiancé Visa.

  • Be a US Citizen (permanent residents are not eligible to apply for the k-1 visa)
  • Meet the minimum income requirements
  • Not have any serious crimes or felonies on his record
  • Be of sound mind
  • Proof that the relationship is legitimate and not just for a green card

What are the Income Requirements?

The US sponsor’s income must be at least 125% of the federal poverty line for your state. This is to prevent your bride from becoming a public charge and the taxpayers having to support you two. The income requirement changes every two years. As of 2019 the income requirement to be issued a k-1 visa is per the USCIS:
For the 48 Contiguous States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$16,910$21,137
3$21,330$26,662
4$25,750$32,187
5$30,170$37,712
6$34,590$43,237
7$39,010$48,762
8$43,430$54,287
Add $4,420 for each additional personAdd $5,525 for each additional person

For Alaska:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$21,130$26,412
3$26,660$33,325
4$32,190$40,237
5$37,720$47,150
6$43,250$54,062
7$48,780$60,975
8$54,310$67,887
Add $5,530 for each additional personAdd $6,912 for each additional person

For Hawaii:

Sponsor’s Household Size100% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*125% of HHS Poverty Guidelines*
For sponsors on active duty in the U.S. armed forces who are petitioning for their spouse or childFor all other sponsors
2$19,460$24,325
3$24,540$30,675
4$29,620$37,025
5$34,700$43,375
6$39,780$49,725
7$44,860$56,075
8$49,940$62,425
Add $5,080 for each additional personAdd $6,350 for each additional person

The First Step: Filing the Petition

  • You, the U.S. citizen sponsor, must file Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e), with the USCIS office that serves the area where you live. See Direct Filing Addresses for Form I-129F, Petition for Alien Fiancé(e) for information on where to file the petition.  Note: Form I-129F cannot be filed at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate, or USCIS office abroad.
  • After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). The NVC will give you a case number and send your petition to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where your fiancé(e) lives.

The Second Step: Applying for a Visa

The NVC will mail you a letter when it sends your fiancé(e) case to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once you receive this letter, inform your fiancé(e) to take the below-listed actions to apply for a K-1 visa and prepare for the interview.

Eligible children of K-1 visa applicants may apply for K-2 visas. Separate applications must be submitted for each K visa applicant, and each K visa applicant must pay the visa application fee.

Required Documentation

You, the foreign citizen fiancé(e), (and eligible children applying for K-2 visas) will be required to bring the following forms and documents to the visa interview:

  • Completed Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. You (and any eligible children applying for K-2 visas) must: (1) complete Form DS-160 and (2) print the DS-160 confirmation page to bring to your interview.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the U.S.
  • Divorce or death certificate(s) of any previous spouse(s) for both you and the U.S. citizen sponsor
  • Police certificates from your present country of residence and all countries where you have lived for six months or more since age 16 (Police certificates are also required for accompanying children age 16 or older)
  • Medical examination (vaccinations are optional, see below)
  • Evidence of financial support (Form I-134, Affidavit of Support, may be requested)
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs.
  • Evidence of relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e)
  • Payment of fees, as explained below

Note: The consular officer may ask for additional information, such as photographs and other proof that the relationship with your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) is genuine. Documents in foreign languages, other than the language of the country in which the application takes place, should be translated. Applicants should take to the visa interview clear, legible photocopies of civil documents and translations, such as birth and divorce certificates. Original documents and translations will be returned.

Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements

In preparing for the interview, applicants will need to schedule and complete a medical examination. Before the issuance of an immigrant or K visa, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized panel physician. You will be provided instructions regarding medical examinations from the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where you will apply for your visa, including information on authorized panel physicians.

K visa applicants are encouraged to get the vaccinations required under U.S. immigration law for immigrant visa applicants.  Although such vaccinations are not required for K visa issuance, they will be required when adjusting status to that of legal permanent resident following your marriage. Applicants are therefore encouraged to fulfill these vaccination requirements at the time of the medical examination.

Proof of Financial Support and Affidavit of Support Forms

During the visa interview, applicants will be required to present evidence to the consular officer that they will not become a public charge in the United States. You may present evidence that you are able to financially support yourself or that your U.S. citizen fiancé(e) is able to provide support. The Consular Officer may request that a Form I-134, Affidavit of Support be submitted by the U.S. citizen fiancé(e).

The U.S. citizen fiancé(e) will need to submit Form I-864 to USCIS with the application for adjustment of status to that of legal permanent resident following the marriage.

Do the Same Income Requirements Apply to Form I-134 as Apply to Form I-864?

No. The 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline minimum income requirement, the most recent year’s tax return, and other requirements only apply when Form I-864 is needed. Applicants presenting Form I-134 will need to show that their U.S. sponsor’s income is 100 percent of the federal poverty guideline.

How Much Does It Cost?

Fees are charged for the following services:

  • Filing an Alien Fiancé(e) Petition, Form I-129F
  • Nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, Form DS-160 (required for each K visa applicant)
  • Medical examination (required for each K visa applicant; costs vary from post to post)
  • Other costs may include translation and photocopying charges, fees for getting the documents required for the visa application (such as passport, police certificates, birth certificates, etc.), and travel expenses to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview. Costs vary from country to country and case to case.
  • Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status

For current fees for Department of State, see Filipino Visa.

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