Expat FAQ

Do you have a general question on expatriation? FAQs give you answers to the most frequent questions: Public Services.

Where is it safe to live/travel as a homosexual?

Legal recognition of same-sex marriage is a political, social, religious, human rights and civil rights issue around the world. Debates often centre on whether same-sex couples should be allowed marriage, or if the separate principle of civil unions is adequate. More than an emotional issue, the rights of homosexual individuals are connected to concrete issues such as financial (ability to file joint taxes), legal protections (inheritance and hospital visitation rights) and are basic freedoms.

Countries where same-sex marriage is authorized

    Countries that have legalized Same-Sex Marriage:
  • Argentina
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France (Pending 2013 - under review by the Constitutional court before final validation)
  • Iceland
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand (same-sex marriage will become law in August 2013)
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • Sweden
  • Uruguay (General Assembly passed a bill on April 10th, 2013 to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples and the president has announced his intention to sign it)

In addition, several sub-national jurisdictions allow same-sex couples to marry including parts of Brazil, Mexico, and the United States of America. Bills allowing legal recognition of same-sex marriage have also been proposed, are pending, or have passed in Andorra, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Nepal, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. A bit bizarrely, Australia recognizes same-sex marriages only if one partner has had gender reassignment therapy.

Countries where homosexual behaviour is criminalized by law

In some places, basic rights are not only ignored, but just being known as a homosexual can be actively dangerous. It is important o be aware of these threats and conduct yourself accordingly. Laws may include sodomy laws penalizing consensual same-sex sexual activity, anti-lesbianism laws, and higher ages of consent for same-sex activity. Penalties can be severe, including fines, deportation, jail terms, or the death penalty.

There are more than 70 countries (82 if you include political entities such as Gaza/Palestine, the Turkish-controlled northern portion of Cyprus, and Indonesia) where criminal laws exist against sexual activity by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people (LGBTIs).

  • Algeria
  • Angola
  • Benin
  • Botswana
  • Burundi
  • Cameroon
  • Comoros
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Malawi (enforcement of law suspended)
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Namibia
  • Nigeria
  • Sao Tome
  • Senegal
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Sudan
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Togo
  • Tunisia
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe
    Asia & the Middle East
  • Afghanistan
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • Brunei
  • India (enforcement of law suspended)
  • Iran
  • Iraq (no law against homosexual acts, but homophobic violence is unchecked and self-appointed sharia judges reportedly have imposed sentences for homosexual behavior)
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Myanmar
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Palestine/Gaza Strip
  • Qatar
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Turkmenistan
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Uzbekistan
  • Yemen
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Jamaica
  • St Kitts & Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent & the Grenadines
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Cook Islands
  • Indonesia (Aceh Province and South Sumatra)
  • Kirbati
  • Nauru
  • Palau
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Northern Cyprus
  • Russia (several cities and regions have laws that prohibit discussion of homosexuality in the presence of minors)


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