US eases process for same-sex couples to get visas

LONDON (AP) — The U.S. State Department on Friday began processing visa applications from same-sex spouses in the same way that it handles those from heterosexual spouses.

The change, announced by Secretary of State John Kerry while on diplomatic travel in London, comes in the wake of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage.

Kerry said that if someone is the spouse of a U.S. citizen, or is the spouse of a non-citizen, their visa applications now will be treated equally. And if a person is in a country that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage, their visa application will still be treated equally at all 222 visa processing centers around the world.

“Effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it considers the application of opposite-sex spouses,” Kerry said.

“As long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it, so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws and every married couple will be treated exactly the same,” he said.

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On the Web: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/frvi_6036.html

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