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Green Card for same-sex couples

Green Card applications for couples in a same-sex marriage are handled in exactly the same manner as those for heterosexual couples. This means that same-sex spouses and their children are entitled to apply for a Green Card just the same as the main applicant. Fundamentally, it is important that the applicant got married in a country where same-sex marriage is recognized by US law as a legal marriage.

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Does my same-sex spouse get a Green Card?

Yes! Since 2015, same-sex couples in the USA share all the privileges and rights of a married couple in all 50 states. On June 26th, 2015 the Supreme Court of the United States declared the full recognition of same-sex marriage under US law.   

In the year 2013, the "Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)", a law that underlined marriage as a union only between a man and a woman, was declared unconstitutional. Nowadays all Americans can love who they want and enjoy the same rights and protection. How do these new rights affect US visa applications and immigration law? 

The de-legalization of DOMA on June 26th, 2015 led to many significant changes for gay couples. Since then, nonimmigration visas are handled in exactly the same manner as for non-same-sex couples. The main visa applicant can therefore apply for a derivative visa for his or her same-sex spouse and their children. The right to a lawful permanent resident card and US citizenship are effective for all same-sex spouses. Moreover, depending on the visa category, family members can work with a nonimmigrant visa within the United States and attend public schools.

Does my registered partnership count as a marriage?

Green Card applicants as well as their spouses and children under 21 benefit from this new law. In order for a marriage to be recognized by U.S. law, the couple must have married in a country where same-sex marriage is legal. A so-called registered partnership or civil union does not count as a marriage under US law.

If you win in the U.S. Green Card Lottery, then we highly recommend marrying your partner in a country where same-sex marriage is legal before continuing with the immigrant visa (Green Card) application and the interview appointment in a U.S. consulate. Marrying before proceeding with the application means that your same-sex spouse and their children under 21 also have the right to apply.

After the interview appointment, the process to get a Green Card for family members is more complicated and time-consuming. Applying for an immigration visa for family members after the interview appointment can take years.

Where is same-sex marriage equal to American law?

The USA only recognizes same-sex marriage if the marriage took place in a country where heterosexual and homosexual marriages share the same rights. This is true for the following countries:




Mexico (only in some states)




New Zealand








South Africa



Great Britain






It is crucial to note that every country has their own requirements and conditions for getting married. These must be carefully researched beforehand.