White House Announces Health Insurance Requirements for Immigrant Visas

October 11, 2019

On October 4th, 2019, The White House issued a “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System.” This proclamation issues a new policy regarding health care insurance requirements for those seeking immigrant visas.

The Trump Administration declared the suspension of and limitation on entry of immigrants who may “financially burden the United States healthcare system.”  Specifically, an individual applying for an immigrant visa must be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entry into the United States or posses the “financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.”

What health insurance coverage is approved?

Approved coverage includes health insurance plans such as: employer-sponsored plans; short-term limited duration health policies; catastrophic plans; a family member’s plan; or, a visitor health insurance plan that covers at least 364 days or the date until the individual leaves the US for an extended time.  Approved health insurance does not include coverage under the Medicaid program for people over the age of 18. For more information on the complete list of approved health insurance, you can read the full proclamation, Section 1, Subsection b.  Specifics regarding “financial resources to pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs” are not defined in the proclamation.

Who is affected by this new policy?

The controversial policy will mostly impact those applying for visas abroad and those joining family members already in the US. At the US consulate where they apply for the visa, individuals will be required to show proof of insurance within 30 days of entry of the US. The policy will not affect the entry of those entering the United States through means other than immigrant visas, including lawful permanent residents, nor will it impact any individual’s eligibility for asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The Department of State will be responsible for publishing the exact rules and guidelines for use by consulate officers, but has not yet publicly stated any steps they will take to enforce the proclamation.

When will this go into effect?

These requirements do not apply to anyone already in possession of a valid immigrant visa issued before the effective date of this proclamation. The proclamation and associated guidelines will become effective on November 3rd, 2019.  For more information on petitioning for relatives outside the of the US, please see our website or contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

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