You probably rank marrying your partner as one of your life’s most meaningful events, and getting a visa could hit the same highs. U.S. law makes it possible to have both, but an even playing field on paper doesn’t always translate to real life.
The U.S. sees same-sex marriage as a protected right. That includes when one of the tens of thousands of binational same-sex couples applies for a marriage visa. But laws drafted with opposite-sex marriage in mind can lead to difficulties for same-sex petitioners.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services processes same-sex visa applications the same as for opposite-sex couples. While this may be in the name of equality, requirements for same-sex married couples could present different challenges for you:
- Providing proof: You’ll need to prove your marriage the same way an opposite-sex couple would. The U.S. still wants a paper trail of things like joint ownership, shared tax filings and commingled funds that may be harder for you to show.
- Local laws: The area where you got married has to officially recognize same-sex unions. The U.S. government will accept marriages from states across the country thanks to federal law. But you may have to pursue other options if you joined together in a country without similar allowances.
- Civil unions: While marriages likely meet the standard for your visa application, the same can’t be said for other arrangements. These rights don’t extend to civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Knowing how the laws apply to your situation is crucial for a successful application. Make sure you and your partner are prepared and you could come out on the other side with a visa.