Until recently, many U.S. visa and immigration laws did not cover the concept of same-sex spouses. This led to confusion and landmark cases that influenced our country’s immigration policies.


If you are in a same-sex marriage and wish to immigrate, then you probably have a long list of questions. How does the United States treat a civil union or domestic partnership? Can same-sex couples apply for nonimmigrant visas? Fortunately, as the Bureau of Consular Affairs explains, homosexual spouses now have the same rights and benefits as heterosexual spouses.

Although the Internet has plenty of helpful information about U.S. immigration laws, your best source of legal guidance is a green card attorney. Rusty O’Brien is a Louisville employment visa lawyer who can evaluate your case, answer your questions, and help you navigate the immigration process. Call the O’Brien Law Group today at 502-400-7890 to schedule a consultation.

Until then, read on to learn the answers to four FAQs about U.S. visas for same-sex spouses:

  1. How did the Supreme Court case Windsor v. United States influence immigration laws?

According to the U.S. Department of State, the Supreme Court found Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. This means that U.S. Embassies and Consulates now adjudicate visa applications based on same-sex marriage in the same way they would for applications from opposite-sex spouses.

If you are travelling to the United States to work, study, attend an international exchange, or immigrate legally, your same-sex spouse may be eligible for a derivative visa. Stepchildren acquired through same-sex marriages also qualify for derivative status and as beneficiaries.

  1. How does the United States treat a civil union or domestic partnership?

U.S. immigration services only acknowledge partnerships that are legally considered to be marriage in the applicant’s jurisdiction. As such, they do not currently recognize same-sex civil unions or domestic partnerships for visa purposes.

  1. Can same-sex couples apply for nonimmigrant visas?

According to the U.S. Department of State, homosexual spouses and their children now have the same eligibility for nonimmigrant derivative visas as heterosexual spouses. Same-sex couples and their children can also qualify as derivatives when the law permits the issuance of the visa to the child. The spouses will need to provide the same documentation as opposite-sex couples.

  1. Can the children of my foreign national spouse be included in his or her case?

The U.S. Department of State considers children of foreign national spouses to be stepchildren of U.S. citizens. As such, they can benefit from a petition filed on their behalf.

If you are considering immigrating to the United States, contact the O’Brien Law Group. Rusty O’Brien is a Louisville green card attorney who can evaluate your goals, answer your questions, and provide legal guidance.

Mr. O’Brien is fluent in Spanish, and he has been helping individuals and families resolve their immigration matters for more than 10 years. Schedule a consultation today by calling 502-400-7890.

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