New Regulation Complicates Pregnancy and Medical Treatment for Visitor Visa Applicants

Last Updated

January 30, 2020

The Department of State on Jan. 24 issued a final rule, Visas: Temporary Visitors for Business or Pleasure, which makes it more difficult for pregnant women and applicants seeking medical treatment to be granted a B-1/B-2 visa. 

The rule creates the presumption that pregnant applicants and those seeking medical treatment are not eligible for a visa unless they can provide sufficient evidence to overcome that presumption. For pregnant applicants, the evidence would need to show that the primary purpose of the travel is not “birth tourism,” or travel to the United States for the purpose of giving birth to a child who would automatically acquire U.S. citizenship.

For applicants seeking medical treatment, the evidence would need to establish:

  • a reason to seek treatment in the United States;
  • that a practitioner or facility that has agreed to provide the treatment;
  • the duration and cost of the treatment and incidental expenses;
  • and that the applicant has the means to pay the expenses. 

The new rule only affects applicants for a nonimmigrant visa and not those seeking an immigrant visa. It also does not affect those seeking admission to the United States with a previously issued visa when they are questioned by Customs and Border Protection.

This rule was published as a final rule, and is not open for public comment. It was effective as of Jan. 24, 2020.