Trump Administration: No More Visas for Same-Sex Partners of Foreign Diplomats

Marsha Scott
October 3, 2018

Diplomats can still obtain visas for their partners if they get married, including if they do so while in the United States.

According to a September memo (pdf) circulated at the U.N.'s New York City headquarters, the new rules also mean that those who already reside in the USA and "who wish to maintain their G-4 visa must be ready to submit proof of marriage" by December 31-otherwise, "they will be expected to leave the United States within 30 days".

Officials also noted that the requirement would align the policy of the one that applies to U.S. diplomats overseas. The U.S. allows issuance of a visa for a "domestic partner" of a diplomat to include a same-sex domestic partner "if the sending country would provide reciprocal treatment to domestic partners of U.S. diplomats and government officials in that country", the State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs website says.

The same was not true of same-sex couples, for whom a domestic partnership was enough for both to receive visas.

Same-sex couples already inside of the United States could go to city hall and get married.

Samantha Power, former USA ambassador to the United Nations under the Obama administration, also expressed outrage in reaction to the news - decrying the move as "needlessly cruel & bigoted".

"Same-sex spouses of USA diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses", the US Mission to the United Nations wrote in a memo.

"Requiring a marriage as proof of bona fide partnership is a bad and cruel policy, one that replicates the awful discrimination many LGBT people face in their own countries". The heterosexual partners of foreign diplomats and United Nations employees are also not eligible for USA visas.

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Currently, 25 countries have recognised same-sex marriage.

Since 2009, heterosexual domestic partners have not been able to get visas.

"One Nigerian man (not a United Nations staffer) who married his same-sex partner overseas reported that both he and his family members in Nigeria received death threats as a result".

Ms Kumar said there are documented cases of death threats being sent to same-sex partners and their families who decide to marry overseas when the act is illegal in their home country.

The United States informed foreign governments that they would allow "limited exceptions" to its new policy in cases involving diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is illegal.

There are now 71 countries that criminalise same-sex relations, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA).

A USA official said that some 105 families now residing in America would be impacted.

David Pressman, who was the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs in the Obama administration, said the turning the Supreme Court decision that expands rights of same-sex couples on its head when it comes to equality.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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