Immigration Fact-Sheet

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LBGT people and people living with HIV.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those living with HIV

UPDATE: Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision ruling Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun reviewing immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse. Please read our fact sheet "After DOMA: Immigration." If you have questions, or need more information, contact our Help Desk.

This document provides general information about immigration issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and those living with HIV. Please note that this document is not intended to provide legal advice or guidance regarding any specific situation.

LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Reform

Lambda Legal embraces the richness that immigrants bring to our country and recognizes the strength and diversity that LGBT immigrants and HIV-affected immigrants, documented or undocumented, can bring to our communities. Recently, significant attention has been paid to the societal contributions of many undocumented people. Nevertheless, gross inequities in our immigration system disproportionately harm LGBT and HIV-affected people, documented or otherwise, and their families.

Currently, all binational same-sex couples (including those who are legally married) are denied the ability afforded to heterosexual U.S. citizens and “green card” holders to sponsor a foreign-born spouse to immigrate lawfully. Many people inhabit a double closet, afraid of disclosing their sexual orientation/gender identity and afraid of disclosing their immigration status. We need immigration reform to address these critical problems.

Lambda Legal supports LGBT-inclusive immigration reform. At a minimum, immigration reform must end the unequal treatment of same-sex binational couples, overhaul unfair restrictions on asylum, promote respect for the constitutional and due process rights of immigrants held in detention, and create a path to legalization and U.S. citizenship. Without a path to legalization, LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants who are victims of hate crimes, discrimination, or civil rights violations on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status will continue to be deterred from seeking justice out of fear of arrest and deportation. Lambda Legal also supports proposed immigration legislation like the Uniting American Families Act (a bill that would eliminate LGBT discrimination in immigration laws by permitting U.S. citizens and “green card” holders to sponsor their same-sex spouses) and the DREAM Act (a bill that would provide a path to legalization for students who arrived in the U.S. as minors, graduated from a U.S. high school, and complete two years of college education or two years of military service). Many of the students who would benefit from the DREAM Act identity as LGBT.

As states and cities continue to enact and implement virulently anti-immigrant laws it is clear that LGBT-inclusive immigration reform is urgently needed to protect individuals and families. Anti-immigrant laws have been passed in several states, including Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Utah and Indiana. In states like Arizona and Alabama, and cities like Hazleton, Pa., Lambda Legal has joined forces with civil rights groups to help challenge the constitutionality of anti-immigrant laws. Under these anti-immigrant laws, LGBT people, particularly LGBT immigrants and LGBT people of color, are at risk of police profiling and harassment based on the interaction between their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and gender nonconformity, and their actual or perceived immigration status.

Imposition of these state and local immigration laws is harmful and destructive to individuals, families and communities, and leads to community mistrust, racial profiling and civil rights violations. It also jeopardizes public safety for everyone in the community. If state and local law enforcement officials ask questions about immigration status or enforce immigration law, undocumented people will not come forward to report crimes they suffer or witness, and will not otherwise cooperate with law enforcement to help resolve crimes and investigations. When authorities deter people from cooperating with law enforcement, they force people deeper into the shadows. This makes everyone—regardless of immigration status—less safe. A majority of LGBT Americans are against these anti-immigrant laws.

For fear of having to reveal their immigration status, immigrants may also avoid using city services or calling city agencies, including public schools, fire departments and hospitals. Many people are even afraid of coming forward for HIV medical care and treatment because they are scared that contact with institutions like hospitals will result in immigration enforcement. This makes it harder to provide HIV medical care and treatment, and reduces the effectiveness of efforts to combat the HIV epidemic.

Although litigation is ongoing, federal courts have temporarily blocked state officials from enforcing certain parts of these anti-immigrant laws.

Immigration Overview

Gaining Entry Into the U.S.

Gaining entry into the U.S. is a two-step process.

First, before visiting or immigrating to the U.S., you will need to apply for a visa, which is a stamp in your passport that allows you to board a plane or use other transportation to travel to the United States.

Second, a U.S. immigration official must admit you into the U.S. at the airport or border. A visa does not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the U.S.—that permission is granted by U.S. immigration officials.

Citizens of certain countries who want to visit the U.S. for a short period of time do not need a visa. Check with the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country to see if your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program or visit the U.S. Department of State website.

There are two categories of visas—immigrant and non-immigrant:

A non-immigrant visa allows you to stay in the U.S. for a limited period of time and for a specific reason (for example, to be a tourist or attend school).

An immigrant visa—also known as a "green card"—allows you to live and work in the U.S. permanently (subject to certain conditions).

The U.S. Department of State is the federal government agency responsible for administering laws and regulations for people who apply for visas from outside the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the federal government agency responsible for administering laws and regulations regarding non-U.S. citizens entering and remaining in the U.S.

Any time you seek to enter the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa, you must prove to the immigration official that your intent is truly to remain in the U.S. temporarily. The immigration official begins with a presumption that you plan to stay here permanently, and you must prove to the official that this is not the case. You cannot legally be denied entry into the U.S. based on your sexual orientation or HIV status. If an official asks about your sexual orientation or HIV status, you can politely tell the official that sexual orientation and HIV status are not a basis for exclusion from the U.S.

If questions about your sexual orientation or HIV status are part of your interview, and you believe that your sexual orientation or HIV status was the ground for denial of a visa, contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. See our resource section below.

Immigrant Visas

To receive an immigrant visa, whether you are abroad or in the U.S., you generally have to be sponsored by certain family members or an employer. You can also obtain legal permanent resident status through the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program—also known as the “green card” lottery—by being selected in a random drawing for a visa.

Asylees and refugees are also able to apply for legal permanent residence. Please see the asylum section below.

If you are in the U.S. and are undocumented, you may also be able to apply for immigration relief and protection if you are a:

  • survivor of domestic violence and abuse: As a battered spouse, child or parent, you may file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Certain spouses, children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (“green card” holders) may file an immigration petition for themselves without the abuser’s knowledge. This will allow you to obtain relief both safely and independently from the abuser. VAWA protections apply equally to women and men. Your abuser will not be notified that you have filed for immigration benefits under VAWA.
  • victim of a crime: If you have been the victim of a crime and you are willing to assist law enforcement and government officials in the investigation or prosecution of the crime, you may qualify for immigration relief and receive a U visa. On an annual basis, 10,000 U-visas are set aside to protect victims of crime who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime, and who are willing to help law enforcement authorities investigate or prosecute the criminal activity. Qualifying criminal activities include: abduction, blackmail, domestic violence, extortion, false imprisonment, female genital mutilation, felonious assault, hostage-taking, incest, involuntary servitude, kidnapping, manslaughter, murder, obstruction of justice, perjury, prostitution, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, slave trade, torture, trafficking, witness tampering and unlawful criminal restraint.
  • victim of human trafficking: The federal government helps protect victims of human trafficking by providing immigration relief. Human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons, is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers often lure individuals with false promises of employment and a better life. The T visa provides immigration protection to victims of trafficking, and allows victims to remain in the United States and assist law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of human trafficking cases.

Most categories of visa are available in limited numbers every year. If you believe you qualify for an immigrant visa or some form of immigration protection, contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. See our resource section.

You cannot legally be denied residency or entry into the U.S. based on your sexual orientation or HIV status. If an official asks about your sexual orientation or HIV status, you can politely tell the official that sexual orientation and HIV status are not a basis for exclusion from the U.S. If questions about your sexual orientation or HIV status are part of your interview, and you believe that your sexual orientation or HIV status was the ground for denial of a visa, contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law.

Family-Based Immigration

Because same-sex relationships are not recognized by the federal government, same-sex couples do not receive the same immigration benefits and protections as different-sex couples. Your same-sex partner—even if he or she is a U.S. citizen—cannot sponsor you for permanent resident or “green card” status based on your relationship.

Even if you marry your same-sex partner in a state like New York or a foreign country like Canada that allows same-sex couples to marry, the U.S. government will not recognize your marriage for immigration purposes. Under a federal law, the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), immigration officials will not provide a “green card” to an immigrant who marries a same-sex U.S. citizen partner.

Family-based immigration is complex and based on a “preference” system.

Generally, this involves a two-step process. First, your relative submits a petition on your behalf (an I-130 Form) that establishes their relationship with you. You are then assigned a “priority date” and “preference” category which determines how long you have to wait—sometimes for many years—before you can take the next step in the process and apply for a “green card.”

Immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, defined as different-sex spouses, parents or unmarried children (under the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen can file for legal permanent residence at the same time they file the I-130 petition. Everyone else must wait for their priority date based on their preference category.

Generally, in addition to the immediate relatives listed above, a family member can petition for an immigrant visa on your behalf (apply for a “green card”) if you are the adult son or daughter (over the age of 21) of a U.S. citizen. The waiting period is longer if you are married. U.S. citizens can also petition for their brother(s) or sister(s), but the waiting period is very long.

A “green card” holder (also known as a legal or lawful permanent resident) can petition for his or her different-sex spouse, minor children (under the age of 21) and unmarried adult sons or daughters (over the age of 21). A “green card” holder cannot petition for a married adult son or daughter or for a brother or sister.

The rules that govern whether you can apply for a “green card” from within the U.S. (known as “adjustment of status”) or whether you must return to your home country (known as “consular processing”) are complex. On January 6, 2012, the federal government also announced that it was considering new regulations which would allow more people to stay and apply from within the United States. Since this complex area of law appears to be in flux, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney before applying for a “green card.”

Having an approved I-130 petition does not give you legal status in the U.S.

Generally, undocumented people should not attempt to travel outside of the United States because of the high risk of being detected by immigration officials, and denied re-entry to the United States. If you have been in the U.S. without lawful status for more than 6 months and you leave the U.S., you will be barred from re-entering the U.S. for 3 years. If you have been in the U.S. without lawful status for more than one year, and you leave the U.S., you will be barred from re-entry for 10 years. So, even if you have an approved I-130 petition, it may not be possible for you to obtain legal permanent residence or a “green card.”

In addition to establishing the family relationship, applicants for legal permanent residence must prove that they are “not likely to become a public charge,” and must demonstrate that their sponsor has the income or resources to provide financial.

You will also need to have a routine medical examination. This exam includes a chest x-ray and a blood test that will reveal certain communicable diseases such as tuberculosis. Please note that, as discussed below, your HIV status cannot be used as a basis of exclusion for immigration purposes.

Employment-Based Immigration

Employment-based immigration visas are divided into different “preferences.” Some of the preferences are further divided by categories.

All categories of employment-based immigration require a U.S. employer to sponsor you unless you are considered a person of “extraordinary ability,” a “special immigrant,” or an “investor.”

Eligibility for all of the “preferences” is contingent on an employer’s ability to show that there are no U.S. workers available to fill the particular position. The intent of this policy is to protect U.S. workers by ensuring that they have maximum access to the job market.

To sponsor an individual for a “green card,” an employer needs to file an application for “labor certification” with the U.S. Department of Labor that demonstrates that there are no U.S. workers able, willing and qualified to fill the position being offered.

Employers filing the petition must also be able to show that they have the financial ability to pay the offered wage and that the employee meets the minimum requirements to perform the job satisfactorily.

Once the “labor certification” is approved, it is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

After obtaining the approval from the USCIS, you must file an application to either “adjust” your status if you are already in the U.S. or obtain an immigrant visa if you are abroad.

Once this application is approved, you will become a permanent resident of the U.S. and may start working.

 “Green Card” Lottery

The “green card” lottery allows qualified entrants the chance to be selected randomly for a “green card.” The lottery makes 50,000 diversity visas available annually, drawn from a random selection among entries of individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

You do not have to be present in the U.S. to apply for the “green card” lottery.

To be eligible for the “green card” lottery, you must hold a high school diploma or equivalent, or you must work in a job that requires two years of training or experience.

Generally, people who are in the U.S. without lawful status (undocumented) will not be able to obtain legal permanent residence through the lottery.

The U.S. Department of State uses a computerized system for entrants. For more information visit the department’s website.

Same-Sex Couples and Immigration

U.S. federal law does not recognize same-sex relationships. Under federal law, immigration officials will not provide a “green card” to an immigrant who marries a same-sex U.S. citizen partner. Being in a same-sex relationship will not help same-sex partners qualify for immigration benefits. To be clear: this means that you cannot sponsor your same-sex partner for immigration relief, and that you cannot get sponsored by your partner—even if your partner is a U.S. citizen.

It is important to know that you could be placing yourself at significant risk of deportation/removal by applying for a “green card” based on your marriage to a same-sex U.S. citizen partner. Undocumented persons who file an application for a “green card” based on a marriage to a same-sex U.S. citizen run the risk of getting the application denied, and being placed in deportation/removal proceedings. To avoid this risk, couples may want to wait until DOMA is changed or immigration officials take an official position about granting immigration benefits and protections to married same-sex couples before applying for a “green card.” However, if you are an undocumented person who has already been placed in removal/deportation proceedings, your marriage to a same-sex U.S. citizen may, in some instances, help delay your deportation/removal. Please consult with an immigration lawyer to better understand your options and risks. If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, your same-sex partner must qualify for immigration relief through another legal category on his or her own.

If you have a visa to visit, live, or work in the U.S., getting married may make it more difficult to obtain or extend some visas. If immigration officials discover that you have an interest or incentive to remain in the U.S. because you are married to a U.S. citizen, this may be a basis for denying a visa application, extension, or renewal. If you have a visa to visit, live, or work in the U.S., and are interested in marrying your same-sex partner, you should consult an immigration attorney before you take this step, and find out how marriage may affect your immigration status.

If a lesbian or gay immigrant enters into a marriage with a person of a different sex in order to obtain immigration relief and remain in the U.S.—commonly referred to as an “immigration marriage”—he or she risks deportation and the possibility of being barred from returning to the U.S. In addition, the person he or she married may be fined and sent to jail for committing fraud.

People who are contemplating an “immigration marriage” should also be aware that when a spouse submits a “green card” application for an immigrant spouse to whom he or she has been married for fewer than two years, the immigrant is only eligible for a “conditional green card.” The couple must to return to USCIS two years after the “conditional green card” is granted, and demonstrate that the marriage is still viable. Couples must prove to USCIS that they live or own property together and share their finances. USCIS can call employers and do home visits to investigate the validity of a marriage.

It is not fair that same-sex couples have far fewer rights than different-sex couples. Same-sex relationships are not recognized by the federal government, and U.S. citizens cannot sponsor their same-sex partners for immigration protection. Lambda Legal and other advocates are working tirelessly to change this discrimination.

HIV and Immigration

Legally, having HIV is no longer a bar to entry into the U.S. for visitation or immigration purposes. Prior to 2010, U.S. immigration law prohibited people with HIV from entering the country. Lambda Legal and other advocates worked hard for more than two decades to change this discriminatory law. For more information, please read Lambda Legal’s final comment letter urging the Obama Administration to lift the HIV travel and immigration ban and our public statements declaring victory in this effort.

This also means that a person’s HIV status alone cannot be a reason for excluding, removing, or deporting you from the U.S. Notably, since June 17, 2011, immigration officials are considering whether a person “suffers from severe mental or physical illness” as a factor for exercising prosecutorial discretion and assessing deportation and removal cases. The new procedures are expected to result in the administrative closure of deportation and removal cases for at least some immigrants who do not pose a threat to national security or public safety. Lambda Legal issued a public statement in connection with this important immigration development.

Your HIV status may also be a basis for applying for asylum in the U.S. if you are able to show past persecution or fear of future persecution by governmental agents—in other words, that the government of your home country is out to get you or is intentionally not doing anything to protect you from persecution because of your HIV status. If you believe you may qualify for asylum, contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. See our resource section.

Applying for Asylum

If you fear persecution in your home country because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV-status, you may be eligible for asylum in the U.S.

To claim asylum you must be physically present in the U.S. or at an airport or border crossing. Many applicants who seek asylum at an airport or border crossing are detained and placed in an immigration detention center—essentially a prison—while their application is pending.

Asylum Basics

Contact an immigration attorney with expertise in asylum claims based on sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV-status to assist you.

All asylum applications are completely confidential. Your name and the nature of your asylum claim will not be disclosed to the government of your home country.

The law allows LGBT people and those living with HIV to apply for asylum as “members of a particular social group,” if they have suffered past persecution or have a well founded fear of future persecution in their home country based their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV-status.

You must prove that you are unable or unwilling to return to your home country due to past persecution or based on a well-founded fear of future persecution because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. You can claim asylum on more than one ground at the same time—for example, fear of persecution because you are gay and living with HIV.

You must be prepared to show that in your home country people like you are targeted as a group and subject to persecution. Persecution is different from discrimination. To find out more about what is considered persecution, consult an immigration lawyer familiar with sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV issues. Please see the resource listing at the end of this document.

You must file an application for asylum within one year of your entry into the U.S. or show an extraordinary reason for missing the deadline. Some immigration judges have also allowed people to apply for asylum within one year of a significant change in their life—for example, discovering your HIV status or starting a gender transition process.

Undocumented Asylum Applicants

If you are undocumented, you can still apply for asylum. However, information that you provide on the asylum application may be used as evidence to begin removal/deportation proceedings, or to establish that you are deportable if your asylum application is denied.

If you are granted asylum, you can apply for legal permanent residence and receive a “green card” one year after your asylum application is approved.

Contact an immigration attorney with experience handling asylum cases to assist you.

Immigration Enforcement

If you are undocumented, you may want to make contingency plans in the event of immigration enforcement or removal/deportation. This is particularly true if you live in a state or city with an anti-immigrant law. Your plan could include executing a power of attorney. Through this legal document, you can authorize someone you trust to act on your behalf if you are detained. For example, you can grant someone the power to: collect your wages/salary; pay your debts; manage your property, including a house that you own or apartment that you lease; manage your personal property and belongings, including your car and furniture; manage your bank accounts and finances (including opening or closing bank accounts, withdrawing money, transferring money and remitting money); manage and operate a business that you own (including selling or closing your business); manage and collect your government or public benefits. Please keep in mind that you should never grant a power of attorney unless you have absolute trust and confidence in the person to whom you are granting it. Please consult with an attorney before signing a power of attorney, because it is vital to understand the legal meaning and effect.

As part of your contingency plan, you may make arrangements for your children. For example, you can ask a responsible and dependable adult to provide care for your children, and make specific arrangements for your children’s care. Keep in mind that all children—regardless of immigration status—have the right to attend a public school for elementary and secondary education. Under federal law, students cannot be barred from enrolling in public schools at the elementary and secondary level on the basis of their own citizenship or immigration status or that of their parents or guardians.

For additional information and to help you prepare for a possible encounter with immigration officials, please consult an immigration attorney. You may also want to review the Know Your Rights guide prepared by Seton Hall University School of Law, also available in Spanish.

Immigration Detention Facilities

Lambda Legal works to protect the rights of LGBT people in immigration detention facilities. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has developed medical standards that should be applied to all individuals who are being held in immigration detention facilities. These standards must be maintained by all detention centers that house immigration detainees, including federal, state, county and local jails.

If you are in an immigration detention center, it is your right to receive medical care regardless of your immigration status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression. This includes medical care and treatment for HIV. It also includes access to hormone therapy for (1) individuals who were taking hormones prior to immigration detention; and (2) individuals who are determined (while in immigration detention) to need hormone therapy. If you have not received an individualized assessment of your medical needs, if you are being denied medical care, or if you do not have access to medicine, please contact your immigration lawyer or write directly to:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
Review and Compliance
245 Murray Lane, SW
Building 410, Mail Stop # 0190
Washington, D.C. 20528

Becoming a U.S. Citizen

Be sure to speak with an immigration attorney before applying for citizenship. You should talk to your lawyer about any length of time you were traveling or living outside the U.S. while you were a permanent resident, whether you have a criminal record, how you received your “green card” and other possible issues.

To apply for citizenship, you must file an application for naturalization (Form N-400) with the USCIS, including a copy of your “green card,” your photograph and a filing fee.

After you submit your application, a naturalization interview will be scheduled with a USCIS officer.

You should begin collecting the following documents for your interview:

  • income tax forms for the last 5 years;
  • your birth certificate; and
  • any documents showing a change in status after you became a permanent resident (for example, marriage or divorce papers).

Most applicants (unless they are elderly and have been in the U.S. for a long time) must pass English proficiency and U.S. civics tests to naturalize. A waiver is available for these tests if your doctor can certify that you have a disability that prevents you from learning the information on the tests.

If you are approved to become a U.S. citizen, you will be required to attend a swearing-in ceremony to complete the process. If you have obtained a medical waiver for the English and civics tests, it is important that your doctor state that you are competent to understand the oath of allegiance to the United States.

Once you are a U.S. citizen, it can be much easier to sponsor family (parents, different-sex spouse, children) to get a “green card.”

As a U.S. citizen you may be able to qualify for certain local, state and federal government programs and even apply for jobs with the federal government.

As a U.S. citizen, you will also have the right to vote.

Resources

East Coast

Lambda Legal
120 Wall Street, 19th Floor
New York, NY 10005
Phone: 212-809-8585
Email

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal actively litigates and advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. Through its Help Desk, Lambda Legal responds directly to members of our community who are seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Additionally, through its Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal serves Latino and Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.

Immigration Equality
350 West 31st Street, Suite 505
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-714-2904

Immigration Equality is a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals. The organization provides advice and technical assistance to LGBT and HIV-affected immigrants and their attorneys, and also operates a pro bono asylum program.

Gay Men’s Health Crisis
119 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212-367-1000

Provides direct representation to HIV-affected residents of New York City in immigration matters.

Greater Boston Legal Services
197 Friend Street
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-371-1270

Immigration clinic that offers free and lost cost legal services.

HIV Law Project
161 William St., 18th Floor
New York, NY 10038
Phone: 212-577-3001

Provides legal representation to low-income people living with HIV in immigration matters.

Safe Horizon Immigration Law Project
2 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10007
Phone: 718-943-8632

Provides free and low cost legal services to immigrants.

South

Lambda Legal
Southern Regional Office
1447 Peachtree St., N.E., Suite 1004
Atlanta, GA 30309-3027
Phone: 404-897-1880

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal actively litigates and advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. Through its Help Desk, Lambda Legal responds directly to members of our community who are seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Additionally, through its Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal serves Latino and Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.

Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center
3000 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 400
Miami, FL 33137
Phone: 305-573-1106

Provides free direct legal services.

Midwest

Lambda Legal
Midwest Regional Office
11 E. Adam Street, Suite 1008
Chicago, IL 60603-6303
Phone: 312-663-4413

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal actively litigates and advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. Through its Help Desk, Lambda Legal responds directly to members of our community who are seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Additionally, through its Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal serves Latino and Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights
36 S. Wabash, Suite 1425
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-332-7360

Provides information and referrals to appropriate legal services.

National Immigrant Justice Center
208 South LaSalle Street, Suite 1818
Chicago, IL 60604
Phone: 312-660-1370

Provides immigration assistance, deportation defense and asylum representation to low-income immigrants.

South Central

Lambda Legal
South Central Regional Office
3500 Oak Lane Ave, Suite 500
Dallas, TX 75219-6722
Phone: 214-219-8585

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal actively litigates and advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. Through its Help Desk, Lambda Legal responds directly to members of our community who are seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Additionally, through its Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal serves Latino and Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.

Human Rights Initiative of North Texas
2501 Oak Lawn Avenue, Suite 850
Dallas, Texas 75219
Phone: 214-855-0520

Provides free legal representation for those seeking asylum in the U.S. who meet financial eligibility requirements.

West Coast

Lambda Legal
Western Regional Office
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1300
Los Angeles, CA 90010-1729
Phone: 213-382-7600

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Lambda Legal actively litigates and advocates for the rights of LGBT immigrants and asylum seekers. Through its Help Desk, Lambda Legal responds directly to members of our community who are seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS-related issues. Additionally, through its Proyecto Igualdad, Lambda Legal serves Latino and Spanish-speaking communities across the United States.

ACLU of Southern California
1616 W. Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-977-9500

Advocates for individual rights and equal justice, and against unwarranted government interference and abuse.

ACLU of Washington
705 Second Avenue, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98104
Administrative Telephone: 206-624-2184
Complaint and Referral Line: 206-624-2180

Advocates for individual rights and equal justice, and against unwarranted government interference and abuse.

National Center for Lesbian Rights
870 Market Street, Suite 570
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: 415-392-6257 ext. 304

Offers free legal clinic and referral services for immigrants based on sexual orientation and assistance for binational same-sex couples.

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
1360 Mission Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-255-8680

Provides support services to immigrants and their advocates.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
909 8th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98104
Phone: 206-587-4009
Toll Free: 888-201-1014

Provides legal representation and community education to low-income refugees and immigrants. 

 

Source:
The Lesbian and Gay Immigration Rights Task Force and Lambda Legal