Wilner & O'Reilly, APLC
One Practice. One Focus. One Passion: Immigration Law.

Domestic partnerships not recognized by immigration law

California residents may not be aware that if they are not married to a foreign national, they cannot use their domestic partnership status as a path to permanent residence for the person. This is true even if the domestic partnership is registered with the state.

When a person marries their partner, they may petition on their partner's behalf for their green card. Since the immigration law does not recognize domestic partnerships, this means that they may want to marry their partner to provide them with a basis through which they can then apply for status as a permanent resident.

Family-based immigration is covered by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under the act, parents with green cards may petition for their unmarried children who are under the age of 21. If the parents become citizens, then they can also petition for married children to become permanent residents as well. That benefit does not extend to the family members of the children, however. If a person's domestic partner has a parent who is a citizen or one who holds a green card, that may be an alternative path other than marriage for them to become green card holders themselves.

Immigration law is complex and difficult to navigate. Those who have questions about getting green cards may benefit by consulting with family immigration attorneys. Legal counsel may help their clients determine the best paths to legal immigrant status based on their individual situations. If it is possible for a client to petition due to their family relationship, the attorney may help them gather all of the necessary documentation and submit the appropriate applications to the immigration officials.

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