a pioneer in the field of LGBT immigration law

Sharon Dulberg was involved in the early 1990s with the filing of some of the first LGBT asylum cases. She worked closely with National Center for Lesbian Rights and International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission providing free legal services through clinics and community education.

She created one of the first LGBT panels at the American Immigration Lawyers Association conference in 1999 and has spoken on LGBT matters at AILA, the State Bar of California and the Lavender Law Conference. She has litigated LGBT asylum cases in the ninth circuit and represented many LGBT applications in immigration court. Sharon has counseled many individuals and couples over the years and is thrilled that she can now assist married same sex couples in filing for permanent residency in the United States.

+ Same-Sex Marriage

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service recognizes same sex marriages for immigration purposes. If you are married to a US citizen or lawful permanent resident of the US, your spouse can submit an immigrant visa petition on your behalf. You will need to demonstrate that you are both free to marry (all prior marriages or domestic partnerships have been terminated), that your marriage is legal at the place you were married, and that you and your spouse married for the purpose of being married, not solely for immigration purposes.


One of the bases for asylum is to demonstrate that you have been persecuted or fear persecution on the basis of your membership in a particular social group.

The courts have recognized that sexual orientation is a particular social group. Therefore, if you identify as LGBT and have been harmed in your home country or fear harm if you were to return to your home country on the basis of your LGBT identity, you may be eligible for asylum. An asylum seeker must apply for asylum within one year of entry to the US or be able to show changed circumstances or extraordinary circumstances for failing to file within one year of entry. Please contact our office to assess your eligibility of you belief you may be eligible for asylum.

+ Transgender Marriage

McVey Mullery and Dulberg has represented trans people over the past 22 years in marriage based cases and asylum.

The USCIS now recognizes your gender as the gender you have transition to. The USCIS will recognize your marriage as long as your marriage is recognized in the place you were married.

We've compiled a list of documentation that would be helpful/necessary to demonstrate your gender:

  • Letter from your doctor regarding your gender transition –The letter must contain
  • The physician's full name
  • Medical license and certificate number
  • Address and telephone number of the physician
  • Language stating that you have had appropriate clinical treatment for gender transition to male or female
  • Date transition was completed
  • Language stating that the doctor has either treated you in relation to your gender change or has reviewed and evaluated your medical history in relation to your gender transition and that the doctor has a doctor/patient relationship with you
  • Certification that you are medically male or female
  • California Court Order regarding name change if you have changed your name
  • œCalifornia Court Order recognizing your gender prior to marriage
  • œAny documents that you have that contain your correct gender, i.e. identification cards, passport, birth certificate, school records