Visa applications for same-sex marriages will now be decided in the same manner as opposite-gender spouses. According to a Dept. of State FAQ, as of October 1, only a relationship deemed lawful where the marriage occurred will establish spouse eligibility for a derivative visa.

Visas will no longer be issued for unmarried same-sex partners of diplomats or other individuals, the Dept. of State announced.

Prospective applicants are advised to consult specific information on their partner’s intended visa category for details on how to apply for and obtain legal derivative spouse status.

Eligible same-sex marriages qualify a same-sex or opposite-sex spouse to obtain a derivative visa regardless of which category the primary spouse’s visa is in.

Work, study, international exchange, and legal immigration all qualify spouses of any gender to eligibility for a derivative spouse visa. Stepchildren through same-sex marriages will qualify as beneficiaries as well.

Currently, 25 countries authorize same-sex marriages. If all other immigration requirements are met, and a visa petitioner’s home country does not license same-sex marriages, the United States may recognize a same-sex engagement, according to a Dept. of State FAQ on this topic.

A U.S. citizen engaged to be married to a foreign national whose home country does not permit same-sex marriage can file a Form I-129F to apply for a K visa.

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