Question: My same-sex spouse and I would like to visit Miami together so I can introduce her to my family. We were married in Mexico, but Trinidad and Tobago does not recognize our marriage as legal. When we apply for visas, will we be viewed as individual applicants or as a couple? My American friend is also planning to marry his Trinbagonian partner of many years in the United States. Can he file a fiancé visa for his same-sex partner?
Answer: In a 2013 landmark case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional in the United States to discriminate against same-sex couples for certain U.S. Federal benefits. These benefits extend to U.S. visa and immigration procedures. On Friday August 2, 2013, then Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the U.S. visa system would treat same sex fiancé visa cases the same as it treats heterosexual fiancé visa cases.
This means that for U.S. visa procedures, a same-sex marriage is valid for immigration purposes. Consular officers must review visa applications filed by a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed by an opposite-sex spouse. So, to answer your question, when you and your same-sex spouse apply for a non-immigrant visa, you both will be extended the same consideration as an opposite-sex couple.
U.S. visa policy regarding same-sex marriages also has some implications for immigrant visas. The second part of your question refers to the K-1 or “fiancé visa.” Same-sex partners of U.S. citizens may apply for K-1 visas to wed in the United States. Once the marriage is finalized in a U.S. state permitting same-sex marriage, the foreign spouse may apply for adjustment to legal permanent residence status through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
There are many ways that these new provisions affect U.S. immigrant and non-immigrant visa policies for same-sex couples. For more information, please visit: https://travel.state.gov
To apply now, follow this link: http://trinidadandtobago.usvisa-info.com