State Dept. Issues New Policy: No Visas for Same-Sex Spouses of UN Staffers

October 4, 2018

2 min read

The Trump administration issued a new policy effective Monday, in which domestic partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations officials posted in the United States must show the State Department proof of marriage by December 31, or leave the country within 30 days. This means that same-sex partners of foreign staffers who are not legally married will no longer be eligible for a spousal visa allowing them to remain in the U.S.

This reverses a State Department policy allowing for visas to be issued to same-sex partners put in place in 2009 under the Obama administration, when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

The State Department’s website on G-4 visas currently states: “Effective immediately, U.S. Embassies and Consulates will adjudicate visa applications that are based on a same-sex marriage in the same way that we adjudicate applications for opposite gender spouses.”

Same-sex couples who were legally married in their home countries will still be issued a G-4 Visa enabling them to work in the U.S., but couples from countries that do not recognize same-sex marriages will not. Partners in a heterosexual relationship who are not legally married will also not be issued a G-4 visa.

Same-sex couples currently in the U.S. could get married in a civil ceremony at the City Hall in New York City since same-sex marriages were made legal in New York State in 2011. If they do so, they could face legal consequences when they return to their countries if same-sex marriage is illegal there.

Same-sex marriages are recognized in fewer than 30 of the 193 countries represented in the United Nations. Homosexuality is illegal in several countries and in Iran and Saudi Arabia it is a capital offense. Some of the other organizations affected by the new policy are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

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