Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections



Tips for the LGBT Community on Immigration Matters post-2016 Elections

Prepared from information provided by the LGBT Committee of the MN/Dakotas chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Marriage equality is the law of the land. The Supreme Court is unlikely to reconsider the Windsor and Ogbergefell decisions that grant the right to marry to same-sex couples. At least not right away, although this may change in the future.  The following tips provide suggestions that may help you prepare for future changes in the law.

Please note:  These tips are not intended as legal advice.  They provide general information, but do not substitute for legal advice from an experienced immigration lawyer who is familiar with the facts of your case. To be sure that you are eligible to file an immigration application, we strongly recommend that you schedule an appointment for a consultation with an experienced immigration lawyer before you file.

  1. Consider legal marriage as something that is distinct from wedding planning. This means, if you are planning to marry, you may want to consider getting legally married as soon as possible in a civil marriage ceremony. You may chose to hold religious ceremonies, or other celebrations later.  If marriage equality goes away, it will most likely begin with denying the right to those who are not yet married.
  1. If you are not married, or if marriage protections are taken away from same-sex couples, consider the following non-marriage protections:
  •  Power of attorney for finances
  •  Power of attorney for health care
  •  Designation of beneficiaries on insurance, 401(k) and other policies
  •  Update your will to ensure your spouse has a legal claim to your assets
  1. If you are a same-sex couple with children, consider co-parent adoptions to ensure joint parental rights.
  1. If you are a married bi-national same sex couple, consider what your immigration options are in the country of the non-US citizen or non-US permanent resident spouse.
  1. Most petitions and applications for immigration benefits are decided under the law in place at the time of filing.  You may want to consider filing any of the following as soon as you possibly can. Make sure that you are eligible before you apply:
  • I-130 petitions based on marriage to a US citizen or Green Card holder.
  • Applications to extend your status, especially if your status is based on your
  • Marriage (including, but not limited to, F-2, J-2, H-4, L-2, etc.)
  • Adjustment of status (Green Card) applications based on your marriage
  1. If you have a Green Card and you are married to a US citizen, consider filing for naturalization as soon as you are eligible. You must be a green card holder for at least three years if you are married to the US citizen who sponsored you for your Green Card. Make sure that you are eligible for naturalization before you apply.
  1. If you filed for immigration benefits under DACA, this program is likely to end. DACA benefits do not provide protection other than a temporary stay of removal and temporary permission to work in the US.
  1. Be aware of “notarios” and other non-lawyer immigration service providers. Many are well-intentioned, but others are not. If you apply for something that you are not eligible for, or you file an application that contains inaccurate, or false information, your application may be denied.  Even worse, you may not be able to file immigration applications in the future.

Please contact us at  or 315-333-2424, if you would like to schedule an appointment for an immigration consultation with an attorney in our office. You may also contact us at


Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY


Naturalization Interviews in Syracuse NY

Naturalization interviews are now held  at the USCIS  Satellite Office office in Syracuse NY for applicants in the following counties: Cayuga, Chemung, Cortland, Jefferson, Lewis, Onondaga, Oswego, Schuyler and Tompkins. Some naturalization applicants may still need to go to Buffalo NY for their interview. Green Card applicants must still travel to Buffalo for an interview.


Be sure to bring the following to your naturalization interview.

  1. Original interview appointment letter
  2. Government issued ID such as a passport, valid driver’s license, Green Card
  3. Application documents
    • copies of all forms filed
    • filing receipts
    • copies of all documents you filed with your application

Reminder:  The filing fee for an application for naturalization (including fingerprinting fee) will increase from $680  to $725 on December 23, 2016.  If you would like help from the attorney’s in our office to determine whether you are eligible to apply for naturalization, please contact us at

Janet Moon receives award for business excellence and community service.



Janet Moon 40 Under Forty Honoree 2016.

We are pleased to share news of an award to Janet Moon, principal at the Moon Law Office. Janet received the 40 Under Forty award from the Business Journal News Network at a luncheon at the OnCenter on November 16, 2016. This award recognizes forty young leaders under the age of 40 in CNY who excel in the workplace, volunteer and give back to the CNY community.



hfg_0This group provides a forum for business leaders under 40 who invest in our community as business owners and professionals and as active community volunteers.  To learn more about the 2016 honorees and their contributions to central New York click on




Stay Tuned for Immigration Updates


Stay Tuned for Immigration Updates!

Immigration has been a hot topic in the recent election.  For those of you who have approved applications for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), or who are eligible to apply, this program is still in effect.  We have no information on how this program will be treated going forward.  We want to let you know that we will be closely monitoring this program, and other developments in immigration, and will post updates as they become available.

Click on DACA for more information on this program as it exists now.

Apply Now for Naturalization?


Apply Now for Naturalization?


 Three good reasons to apply for naturalization (US citizenship) now.


  1. US citizenship is a more permanent status than permanent residence ( green card holder). In certain circumstances green card holders may lose their status. For more information on how this can happen see Permanent Residence.
  2. Once you are a US citizen, you may apply for a US passport. A US passport may simplify international. It will also allow you to spend time outside the US without the need to keep track of your absences for purposes of naturalization. Before you can apply for US citizenship you must be a permanent resident for five years (three if your green card was based on marriage to a US citizen). Make sure that you are eligible for US citizenship before you apply. For more on the requirements of  US citizenship see Naturalization.
  3. Naturalization application filing fees will increase on December 23, 2016 from $680 to $725.

If you would like our attorneys to help you apply for naturalization, please contact our office at 315-333-2424 or


Certificate of US Citizenship – Proof of US Citizenship



Certificate of US Citizenship – Application Fee to almost double on December 23, 2016.

Were you born outside the US to a US citizen parent? Did one of your parents become a naturalized citizen before you turned 18?  If you can answer “yes” to either of these questions you may be a US citizen.

Read the information below to see if you might already be a US citizen.  Please note that this can be a complicated determination. You should not claim to be a US citizen without enough proof.  There are serious penalties for claiming to be a US citizen when you are not actually a citizen, including a permanent ban on filing immigration applications. To schedule a consultation with our office for help on this issue, click on contact us.

The application fee to file an application for a certificate of citizenship will  almost double on December 23, 2016. This fee will go up from $600 to $1170.  If you are eligible to file an application for a certificate of US citizenship, read the information below.

Most people become a US citizen by birth in the US, or by applying for naturalization after being a green card holder for five years (three years in the case of a green card based on marriage to a US citizen).  Some people become a US citizen at birth, or may become a US citizen based on the naturalization of a parent before the child turns 18. The laws about who qualifies to be a citizen are complicated and change over time.  The information that follows provides a general outline of the requirements for acquiring or deriving US citizenship from a US citizen parent.  If you think you may already be a US citizen, it will be important to meet with an immigration lawyer to help you decide if you should apply for a Certificate of Citizenship to prove that you are a US citizen.

There are two ways to become a US citizen.

  1. Birth in the US
  2. Birth outside the US to US citizen parent(s)
  • Depending on the law in place at the time of your birth, if you were born outside the US to US citizen parents you may have become a US citizen at birth
  • If your US citizen parent naturalized before you turned 18, you may have become a US citizen at the time your parent became a naturalized US citizen.

Birth Outside the US to US citizen parent(s)

  • One or both parents must be US citizens
  • Your US citizen parent must meet the US residence requirements that were in place at the time of your birth
    • “Residence” means principal dwelling place (where your parent lived)
  • If only one parent was a US citizen at the time of your birth, whether they were married at the time of your birth may affect the determination on whether you became a US citizen at your birth

Naturalization of US citizen parent

  • Your US citizen parent became a naturalized citizen before you turned 18
  • You are the biological child of your US citizen parent
  • You must be lawfully admitted to the US for permanent residence (a green card holder)
  • You must be living in the legal and physical custody of your US citizen parent
  • If you are living outside the US different rules apply

Adopted Children may also become US citizens through a US citizen parent. This depends on the date of your birth and the laws in place at time you turned 18