We were retained by a couple who had been together for over ten years. The petitioner was a native New Yorker, a United States citizen, who was formerly a male, but over the past few years had reassigned his gender to female. Her partner, a woman who was a native and citizen of Guatemala, had entered the United States by crossing the border from Mexico, many years before. The couple lived together while the petitioner was male and remained in the relationship through the course of the transition to transgendered female. They had been living together for over ten years and had even created a business together. Throughout the course of the surgeries and therapy, the couple remained together in a committed relationship. After the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was repealed, they decided to look for a way to legalize the status of the beneficiary from Guatemala.
When we were initially consulted, the couple was not yet married. As they were living in Florida they had to travel to New York in order to marry, as Florida did not recognize same sex marriages at the time. Once they were married in New York City and traveled safely back to Florida, we immediately filed the I-130 petition with a plethora of supporting documentation, detailing their relationship throughout the years. We were so successful with this petition that the I-130 was approved without an interview at USCIS. The couple was highly relieved with this result, in which they were able to circumvent the entire interview process of appearing before an immigration officer where they would have to explain the nature of their relationship.
Once the I-130 petition was approved, we immediately filed the Provisional Waiver (I-601) with the required documentation already prepared. We were able to supplement this waiver with a variety of medical records, verifying the numerous surgeries and psychological evaluations that both clients had endured throughout the years. After approximately a year of correspondence and information exchange, we were notified that an interview for our client was scheduled at the U.S. Consulate in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Our clients made the necessary travel arrangements to get to Guatemala despite their trepidation based on the warnings of “informed” friends and neighbors who told them that they would not be permitted to re-enter the United States due to the beneficiary’s unlawful entry years earlier. We assured our clients that this was not the case and that the waiver was approved prior to the travel. The only remaining portion of their case was the consular processing to lawful permanent resident that had to be done at the home U.S. Consulate in Guatemala.
Our clients traveled to Guatemala in order to attend the interview at the U.S. Consulate in Guatemala City, Guatemala. As expected, they were pleased to be advised upon completion of the National Security Questions, that the application for lawful permanent residence was approved. Our client obtained the requisite travel documents to return to the United States as a Lawful Permanent Resident.