The United States on Friday announced that it will immediately start considering visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner it considers opposite-sex couples. The American Secretary of State, John Kerry made the announcement while speaking at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in London. In other words, visa applications from same-sex spouses will get the same consideration granted to opposite-sex spouses.
With the new policy, a foreign citizen legally married to an American citizen can more easily acquire a U.S. entry visa. It has also been stated that applications from foreign same-sex married couples will be considered jointly.
Kerry said “if you’re the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. If you’re the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally. As long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it, so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same.”
The Secretary of State pointed out that the decision came via a review of State Department regulations in view of the Supreme Court’s ruling two months ago, which overturned one of the provisions of the federal Defence of Marriage Act.
Before now, applications from adults seeking to enter the United States were considered individually unless the adults were an opposite-sex married couple.
As it stands now however, same-sex couples from the 15 countries that have legalized same-sex marriage will be evaluated for visas together, as will same-sex applicants from states in Mexico that have legalized same-sex marriage. Mexico, like the United States, has legalized same-sex marriage only in some states.
According to the State Department, the policy will apply equally at all American visa-processing posts worldwide, whether those posts are in countries that have legalized gay marriage or not.