U.S. embassies and consulates will immediately begin to adjudicate visa applications based on same-sex marriages, the State Department has announced. Visa applications based on same-sex marriages will be adjudicated in the same way that opposite-sex spousal applications are treated.
The State Department makes clear that only same-sex marriages valid in the jurisdiction where they took place will be considered. Same-sex domestic partnerships and civil unions will not qualify. However, both same-sex and opposite-sex unmarried partners continue to be eligible for B-2 domestic partner visas to accompany or join a principal nonimmigrant visa holder.
Step-children acquired through a same-sex marriage qualify for dependent benefits as long as the marriage took place before the child turned 18.
The State Department announcement ends several weeks of speculation on the processing of same-sex nonimmigrant and immigrant visa applications. Since the Supreme Court decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, consulates and embassies had refrained from processing same-sex applications pending further guidance from agency headquarters.