State Department Extends Visa Privileges to Same-Sex Spouses

United States Secretary of State John Kerry announced today that U.S. consulates worldwide will extend the same visa privileges to same-sex spouses as to other married couples. This change in policy is to be implemented immediately.

In announcing the decision, Secretary Kerry stated “…as long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it…then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate.”

This change of policy is a result of the Supreme Court’s June ruling overturning a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Secretary Kerry praised the Court’s decision and commended them for “tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier.”

Same-sex couples looking to take advantage of spousal visas must have a legally recognized marriage. Unmarried same-sex partners are not eligible. However, the State Department has announced that the new policy will apply equally at all 222 visa-processing posts worldwide, whether those posts are in countries that have legalized gay marriage or not.

The State Department joins the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which stated in June that it would start allowing legally married U.S. citizens to petition for green cards for their same-sex spouses. In announcing her agency’s decision, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano remarked that “[t]his discriminatory law denied thousands of legally married same-sex couples many important federal benefits, including immigration benefits.”

Murray Osorio PLLC are Fairfax Immigration Attorneys dedicated to their clients and to their clients’ families. If you have an immigration matter, it’s important that you contact us as soon as possible. An experienced Fairfax Immigration Lawyer could make all the difference- call us at (703) 952-3275, or fill out our contact form.

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