Less than six months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Age (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued the first ever fiance visa to Noel “Aeinghel”  Amaro.

Robert Cotterman filed the fiance petition almost immediately after the Supreme Court decision.  The couple intends to get married in California, Robert’s home state.

How Different is Filing a Same Sex Fiance Visa Petition?

Virtually nothing.  The requirements remain the same: the petitioner must be a US Citizen; the petitioner and beneficiary must have met in person within 2 years from the date of filing the fiance petition; the relationship is genuine and there is no impediment in their getting married in the United States.

The form filed with the U.S. Citizenship Immigration Service in the U.S. is the I-129F. After approval the file is forwarded to the National Visa Center and subsequently to the U.S. Embassy in Manila. The beneficiary (in this case “Aeinghel”) applies for the fiance visa at the Embassy.  The process usually takes 5-6 months.

Because the Philippines does not recognize same-sex marriage, the US Citizen cannot file a spouse petition. So even if Robert and Noel were “married” in a solemn ceremony in Baguio City, that marriage is not recognized under Philippine law.  However, upon arrival of Noel and subsequent marriage to Robert in California, they can file the spousal petition and Noel’s application for a green card at the same time.

For more information or assistance in filing a fiance petition for a same sex partner, you may call the Immigrant Visa Center at +632-634-8717

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