· Visa applications filed by a same-sex spouse will be reviewed in the same manner as those filed by an opposite-sex spouse.
· A same-sex marriage is now valid for immigration purposes as long as the marriage is recognized in the “place of celebration.” The same-sex marriage is valid even if the couple resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
· The same-sex marriage is valid even if the applicant is applying in a country in which same-sex marriage is illegal.
· Same-sex spouses and their children are now equally eligible for non-immigrant visa (NIV) derivative visas.
· A spouse of a U.S. Citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident may apply for an immigrant visa (so long as the priority date is current) after USCIS approves the I-130. The place of celebration will determine whether the marriage is legally valid, not the applicants’ place of domicile.
· Fiancé(e) visas are now available for same-sex partners of U.S. Citizens.
· Diversity Visa applicants (green-card lottery) may now include same-sex spouses in their initial entry or add a spouse acquired after the initial registration. For DV 2013 and DV 2014, same-sex couples will not be automatically disqualified for not including their same-sex spouse on their original entry.
Interestingly, the Department of State guidance asks consular sections to identify what types of marriage are available for same-sex couples in-country and update the reciprocity tables, pursuant to 9 FAM 41.105. This leaves open the question of whether civil unions or other forms of legally recognized same-sex partnerships will be recognized as “marriage” for immigration purposes. We will keep you posted on this.