Wednesday, July 10, 2013

US Visas Following Supreme Court DOMA Decision

Analysis continues to be made following the Supreme Court's much welcomed decision to strike down the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA). The fact that same sex couples who live in states that recognize gay marriage will be entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couple ares brings with it massive changes in law from probate, to marriage, to divorce to immigration issues.

 The Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a very clear statement about what is to happen moving forward, "President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

US Spouse Visa Attorney 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in US visa law  

Despite Thailand being accepting of the gay community, same sex marriage is still not legal here. However thanks to the Supreme Court, and the statement from Homeland Security it now seems to open the way for US spouse and fiance visas to be made available to same sex couples living in Thailand and wanting to live in the states. Previously, even if the US petitioner lives in a state where same sex marriage was legal, they would have been unable to sponsor their partner for immigration as they would not have been in receipt of the same federal benefits.

It now seems that is no longer an issue, and to that extent we expect a surge of application for US fiance visas   although obviously this will still need to be tested in practice to see if there are any other stumbling blocks which have yet to been anticipated.

Watch the video here:

Relevant Articles: 
Prenuptial Agreements And Same Sex Marriage  
DOMA Overturned! Immigration Rights For Same Sex Couples

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