Immigration: Questions and Answers on Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), work visa and "green card" interview

This month we will briefly answer some frequently asked questions and discuss the Supreme Court’s landmark decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act, “DOMA.”

Question 1: I have a bachelor’s degree and I keep going to job interviews but I cannot get a US employer to sponsor me for a work visa. What can I do?
Answer: The short answer is that an applicant cannot force or persuade a US employer to sponsor him or her for a visa if the US employer does not wish to proceed. The typical work visa for applicants with at least a bachelor’s degree is the H-1B visa. These visas are limited to the annual cap of 65,000. Another option for a work visa may be the H-2B visa which is a temporary job does not require that the applicant have a bachelor’s degree. Some employers are more willing to sponsor a worker for an H-2B visa as opposed to an H-1B visa.

Question 2: My husband and I attended my permanent residence “green card” interview and we thought it went well. Now we just received a second interview appointment. Why did this happen to us? What should we do?
Answer: There are a myriad of reasons why you were rescheduled for a second interview. Sometimes immigration has decided to investigate the couple’s relationship and therefore they require a second interview. However in some cases the immigration officer at the initial interview did not obtain sufficient information to allow the immigration office to make a decision. In some cases there are inconsistencies in the applicant’s file that needs further review. The second interview and any other interviews are crucial to the success of your case. In these cases we always advise couples’ to hire an attorney to attend their interview.

Question 3: My partner and I would like to get married. My partner is a United States citizen. I was told that immigration will not allow my partner to file for me. Is this true?
Answer: Great question. A couple days ago I would have stated that immigration does not recognize same sex couples and consequently immigration does not permit individuals to receive immigration benefits through their partner. That has now changed. On June 26, 2013 the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act “DOMA” as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s ruling now means that same sex couples will be able to obtain federal benefits i.e., immigration benefits from each other. We will now need to wait to see how Immigration intends to move forward with this new process. 

Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview of the proposed immigration reform. This article is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed. 

About the Writer:
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm, Inc. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica.  Attorney Byars shows her clients the best ways to get their cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.  Her office is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. Attorney Byars handles all immigration matters, deportation defense, family law, and criminal issues. Attorney Byars can be reached at 678-736-5600, 404-992-6506 or via email at [email protected].