Skift Take

The State Department's rules that made same-sex spousal visas difficult to obtain in the U.S. would soon be invalidated by the Supreme Court's new marriage guidelines. This prompted the swift action.

Secretary of State John Kerry will announce today that U.S. consulates worldwide will extend the same visa privileges to same-sex spouses as to other married couples.

The decision applies to legally recognized spouses of U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, and takes immediate effect. The change in procedure resulted from an Obama administration review of U.S. government agencies’ rules that discriminated against same-sex couples and might be invalidated by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a State Department official who asked not to be identified in advance of the announcement told reporters traveling with Kerry.

Same-sex couples who may take advantage of spousal visas to visit or work in the U.S. must have a legally recognized marriage; unmarried same-sex partners will not be eligible.

Kerry will visit the U.S. consulate in London, one of 222 U.S. visa centers worldwide, to highlight the start of the new procedures.

Editors: Leslie Hoffecker and Larry Liebert.

To contact the reporter on this story: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Washington at To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Walcott at

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Tags: usa, visas