New immigration policy affects same-sex diplomatic couples

California residents might have read that on Oct. 1, the Trump administration put a policy in place that will require unmarried same-sex partners of United Nations workers and foreign diplomats to be married or lose their visas. People have until Dec. 31 to comply. After that date, they will have 30 days in which to leave the country.

According to the United States mission to the U.N., the policy is part of making sure that its international visa regulations are consistent with U.S. law. Same-sex marriage was made legal in the U.S. by the Supreme Court in 2015, so the U.S. is now demanding that same-sex partners who are granted visas must be married as is the case with opposite-sex partners. However, critics of the policy say it could put some people in danger.

Same-sex marriage is criminalized in some countries and is only legal in 12 percent of U.N. member countries. This means that some people could be forced to choose between family separation and leaving a post. Some might face criminal charges when they return to their home countries. The journal Foreign Policy reported that at least 10 U.N. employees are affected by the change, which has been criticized by both the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the deputy United Nations director at Human Rights Watch.

Immigration can be a confusing, complex and fast-changing area of law. Errors in immigration paperwork can lead to significant delays or even denial. Therefore, people who are seeking a visa, naturalization or another immigration status might want to consult an attorney. There could be a number of avenues through which a person might qualify for a visa based on the person's education, work history, family status and situation in the home country as well as whether the person is already living in the United States.

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