State Department Issues Visa Guidance Post DOMA

DOS finally releases post DOMA guidance for nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applicants through FAQs.

"Effective immediately, U.S. embassies and consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.   This means that the same sex spouse of a visa applicant coming to the U.S. for any purpose – including work, study, international exchange or as a legal immigrant – will be eligible for a derivative visa.  Likewise, stepchildren acquired through same sex marriages can also qualify as beneficiaries or for derivative status."

The guidance also includes information on how the Supreme Court decision affects same-sex spouses in terms of derivative applications for nonimmigrant and immigrant visas, fiance nonimmigrant visa applications (for same sex partners) and more.

Furthermore, the State Department also issued a cable guidance for posts, which includes the following:

"The Visa Office (VO) deleted 9 FAM 40.1 N1.1 (a), which limited the word "marriage" for immigration purposes to mean "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife," and the word "spouse" to mean only "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." A same-sex marriage is now valid for immigration purposes, as long as the marriage is recognized in the "place of celebration." A same-sex marriage is valid for immigration purposes even if the couple intends ultimately to reside in one of the 37 states that do not recognize same-sex marriages. The same-sex marriage is valid even if the applicant is applying in a country in which same-sex marriage is illegal." 

A copy of the cable is available here:

#immigrationupdates   #DOMA  

U.S. Visas for Same-Sex Spouses
FAQs for Post-Defense of Marriage Act. Q: How does the Supreme Court’s Windsor v. United States decision impact immigration law? A: The Supreme Court has found section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. Effective immediately, U.S. embassies and consulates will adjudicate …

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