Our office specializes in helping LGBTQI+ clients with immigration and family law matters. We pride ourselves on being diverse and inclusive. Many members of our staff are members of the LGBTQI+ community and we all support the LGBTQI+ community.
Our office has helped LGBTQI+ asylum seekers from around the world. We have worked extensively with the LGBT Asylum Task Force in Worcester, MA to provide guidance, and Melanie Shapiro has led workshops training other attorneys on the intricacies of LGBT asylum cases. We have represented LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers from Uganda, China, Jamaica,Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan.
71 still countries criminalize private, consensual same-sex sexual activity. 11 countries impose the death penalty for same- sex sexual activity 15 countries criminalize gender identity and/or expression of transgender people. Our office helps LGBTQI+ asylum seekers in the United States before the Asylum Office and the Immigration Court. We have represented asylum seekers in appeals before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.
Same-Sex Marriage Petitions and Fiancé Petitions
A U.S. citizen can file a petition for their fiancé in another country, even if that country does not recognize same-sex relationships or marriages. The fiancé petition process begins when the U.S. citizen files a fiancé petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Once that petition is approved, USCIS sends the petition to the National Visa Center, and finally, the immigrant fiancé has an interview with the U.S. Embassy in their country. Once the U.S. Embassy approves the case, they give the immigrant fiancé a K1 visa and they are free to enter the United States, must marry their fiancé within 90 days of arrival, and then can file for permanent resident status.
A U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse can file a marriage petition for their spouse, either through adjustment of status if their spouse is in the United States or through consular processing if they are abroad.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
ART has been instrumental in helping LGBTQI+ people to fulfill their dreams of having children. There are several means to achieve this including: embryo transfers, sperm or egg donors, and use of a surrogate gestational carrier.
Our office assists prospective parents with the legal issues throughout the process, such as second-parent adoptions, egg donor agreements, and known sperm donor agreements.