U.S. Secretary of State Issues Press Release Confirming Same-Sex Spouses Can Apply For Non-immigrant Visas, Effective Immediately

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On August 2, 2013, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry issued a formal statement confirming that, effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a non-immigrant dependent visa, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses. A non-immigrant dependent visa allows, among other things, spouses who are foreign nationals to come to the United States because they are married to a non-immigrant visa holder (e.g., H1-B visa holder) who is authorized to live and work in the United States.  The announcement also confirmed that stepchildren of same-sex married couples can qualify for dependent status, as long as the marriage takes place before the child turns 18, and makes clear that same-sex couples holding non-immigrant visas are not required to live in a state in which same-sex marriage is legal, as long as the marriage is valid in the jurisdiction where it took place. Click on the DOS' Frequently Asked Questions page (http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/frvi_6036.html) for more information on this topic.