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Can I use a B-2 visa to enter the U.S. for medical treatment?

By January 6, 2023Immigration
medical professionals

The B-2 visa is most well-known for allowing foreign nationals to come to the U.S. for up to 6 months at a time for tourism purposes. Most B-2 visas can be issued for up to 10 years, although this can vary depending on what country you are from and what the reciprocity schedule says. For example, nationals of Azerbaijan are only eligible to get a B-2 visa stamp that is valid for 12 months.

Can the B-2 visa only be used for tourism?

Although tourism is the most well-known use of the B-2 visa, it is also possible to use the B-2 visa for a variety of other uses. For example, cohabitating partners and extended family members or other household members may potentially be able to use the B-2 to accompany a family member who is in the U.S. on a work visa. This scenario sometimes arises when an elderly parent is living with a foreign national and that foreign national needs to relocate to the U.S. for work. The elderly parent is eligible for a B-2 visa to accompany the foreign national. They can ask to be granted status for 1 year when they enter, although it is up to CBP whether to grant the entry for 1 year or 6 months.

Can I come to the U.S. on the B-2 visa for medical treatment?

The short answer is yes, it is permissible to use the B-2 visa for medical reasons in a situation where the foreign national is seeking medical treatment in the U.S. If this is the purpose of applying for the visa, the applicant should provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Proof of their diagnosis from a physician that explains the medical issue and explains why the foreign national is going to the U.S. for treatment.
  • Confirmation from the doctor or medical center in the U.S. that the applicant will be a patient at their facility. The documents should explain the diagnosis, the treatment plan and the timeline and cost for the medical treatment.
  • Proof that the foreign national has sufficient funds to pay for all medical and living expenses while in the U.S. The foreign national can submit tax returns, bank statements or other proof of funds to show they will be able to support themselves in the U.S. and pay for all living expenses, transport and medical care.

Can I travel to the U.S. on a B-2 visa if I’m pregnant and plan to give birth there?

If a consular officer believes that a visa applicant is going to give birth in the U.S., there is a presumption that the main purpose for travel is to obtain U.S. citizenship for the child which is not a permitted use of the B-2 visa. If the foreign national wants to qualify for the B-2 visa, they would have to overcome this presumption by showing that the primary purpose of travel is a legitimate reason. For example, if the foreign national is seeking specialized treatment due to medical issues with the pregnancy, they could qualify for the visa as long as the officer is convinced that the primary purpose of the trip is to receive the specialized care for complex medical issues. There may be other ways to rebut the presumption. For example, if the foreign national seeks to visit a dying relative and the timing means they are likely to give birth in the U.S., the visa could still be approved since the primary purpose of the B-2 visit is to be with their dying relative. It is important to note that merely wanting to give birth in the U.S. with a particular doctor, absent any compelling medical issues, would not be sufficient to rebut the presumption.

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