October 9, 2018

The State Department announced that it will no longer issue family visas to unmarried same-sex partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the United States.

CREW filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the State Department for all documents and communications since President Trump’s inauguration relating to the change in policy.

On July 12, 2018, the United States Mission to the United Nations (UN)  announced that, “consistent with changes to Department of State policy,” it would require that “partners accompanying United Nations officials or seeking to join the same . . . be married in order to be eligible for the derivative G-4 nonimmigrant visa or to seek a change into such status beginning October 1, 2018.”

In 2009, the State Department began granting G-4 visas to same-sex partners regardless of marital status. The decision was reversed by the Trump administration despite the fact that only 25 of 193 UN member countries permit same-sex marriage and in more than 70 countries, same-sex relationships are punishable by law. According to the State Department, the change will affect about 105 families.

The reversal was met with public outcry and a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, said publicly that it unfairly targets couples who come from countries where same-sex marriage is unrecognized or illegal. The requested records will shed light on the reasons for the policy change, including whether it was motivated by any discriminatory purpose.

Read the FOIA request here.