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Same-sex spouses can seek same visas as opposite-sex couples

Readers may be aware that family based visas are one way to bring family members into the United States to live. They may not be aware however, that the program is not limited to opposite-sex marriage. Same-sex couples that are married can also use the program to bring a qualifying relative into the U.S. This became possible when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Windsor v. United States that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.

As is the case in other situations where someone seeks to secure a visa for a family member, in addition to being a spouse, the family member could also be a stepchild.

Same-sex couples who are married may wonder if there are certain requirements that must be met in order to apply for a visa for a spouse or stepchild. As long as the marriage is deemed to be valid in the state or country where it took place, it is not necessary to reside in a state where it is currently recognized.

Same-sex married couples are not the only people who can seek a visa based on their relationship. So too can same-sex couples who are engaged to be married. In this situation a fiancé may enter the U.S. via a K visa.

It is important to note that a couple must be engaged or be in a marriage acknowledged as legal to qualify for visas of this nature. Currently domestic partnerships and civil unions are not recognized.

For many interested in pursuing this type of visa there are likely many questions. For answers to those questions, an immigration lawyer is often the best place to start.

Source: U.S. Department of State, “U.S. Visas for Same-Sex Spouses,” Accessed Dec. 16, 2014

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