Same-Sex Couples FAQs
What documents are required to provide evidence of a same-sex relationship?
Every same-sex couple will be required to sign an affidavit that will serve as evidence of their domestic partnership, similar to the affidavit process that the Office of Personnel Management uses. This affidavit must be signed before the couple departs for service. The Peace Corps requires formal documentation for all couples who want to serve.
Do couples have to be in a relationship for a certain amount of time before applying?
No; however, living in a different culture will require adaptation and adjustment by both individuals. Couples who have been seriously committed for at least one year before service may be better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps.
How long will the application process take for couples?
On average, the application process takes 9-12 months for an individual; though, couples can experience longer processing times.
Our recruiter told us there are no openings for couples with our particular skill sets. Why is this?
When recruiters look at available openings for all applicants, they match the skill level of the applicant with requests from our host country partners. Applying to the Peace Corps is competitive, and because couples placement requires matching the skill sets of both individuals, there are fewer assignments available for couples than for single applicants. Currently, less than 10 percent of all assignments are filled by couples.
If we apply as a couple and no assignment is available, can we serve separately in the same country?
No. If you ask to be considered as a couple, you will be considered for a couples placement only. If you wish to serve separately, you both could apply individually as applicants, but the Peace Corps cannot guarantee you will be placed in the same country. This is consistent with how the Peace Corps processes similar requests.
Where will same-sex couples serve?
The Peace Corps will foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples and is working with field staff to determine placement options.
As a same-sex couple, can we choose the country where we would be most comfortable serving?
While you may express a preference for a certain region, the Peace Corps does not guarantee specific placement to any applicant or applicants. There are many factors that affect ultimate placements, including your overall competitiveness, program availability, departure dates, medical accommodations, and safety. The final placement decision is based on these and other factors. Still, the number one factor in determining your ultimate assignment is the demand from host countries for skilled Volunteers to assist them.
Will same-sex couples receive the same benefits as heterosexual married couples?
Yes, the benefits provided by the Peace Corps will be the same for all couples.
Will same-sex couples be able to live together overseas?
In some posts, couples are separated during training (usually 8–12 weeks) for programmatic and language training reasons. However, couples live together after training at their permanent sites. At some posts, Volunteers (including couples) are required to live with host families for all or part of service at their permanent sites.
Will same-sex couples be allowed to serve openly, and will their host communities be prepared in advance?
Since communities in different countries respond differently to same-sex couples, the Peace Corps will provide country-specific information once applicants are invited to serve, and Peace Corps staff will provide additional information and training once you arrive in-country. For a better understanding of the different types of experiences LGBT Volunteers have, we suggest you review some of the alumni stories and articles on the LGBT Peace Corps Association’s website prior to accepting an invitation.
If my domestic partner or someone in his or her immediate family has a terminal illness or dies during service, will I be able to accompany them back to the United States?
Emergency leave may be authorized if a member of the Volunteer’s immediate family (a parent, spouse, sibling, child, or grandchild related to the Volunteer by blood, marriage/civil union/domestic partnership, or adoption) has a terminal illness or dies while the Volunteer is in service. A country director may authorize a Volunteer domestic partner to accompany a Volunteer who is authorized to take emergency leave.
How will posts support same-sex couples?
Once Volunteers are in-country, Peace Corps staff will provide them with guidance for maintaining their safety and well-being as appropriate. To ensure productive, healthy, and safe experiences for Volunteers, the Peace Corps reviews work and housing sites in advance, collaborates on project development with local communities, and develops and tests plans for responding to emergencies. Field staff will also receive training to support same-sex couples that addresses safety and security issues, host family preparation, job assignments, and resources for same-sex couples (including host country LGBT organizations where available). Volunteers also often create formal and informal support groups at their post. Currently, many posts have support groups for LGBT Volunteers, women, and Volunteers of color.
Can you put me in touch with currently serving LGBT Volunteers and married couples?
Yes. The LGBT Peace Corps Association offers resources for applicants and prospective Volunteers, including a mentor program, an email listserv, and a quarterly e-newsletter. Recruiters can also put applicants in touch with married couples.
Last updated Jan 30 2014
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