Starting on November 3, 2019, immigrant visa applicants at U.S. Consulates abroad must prove either that they will acquire approved health insurance within thirty days of their entry into the U.S. or that they have means to pay for reasonable medical expenses while they are in the U.S. Failure to do so will result in a denial.

This new regulation will apply for employment based, family based, and diversity visa applicants abroad. It does not include applicants applying for adjustment of status in the U.S. The following applicants are also exempt:

  • Foreign nationals holding an immigrant visa issued before 12:01 a.m., November 3, 2019, the rule’s effective date;
  • Most unmarried children of U.S. citizens who are under the age of 21, including orphaned children adopted abroad and orphaned children to be adopted in the United States;
  • Children under the age of 18 unless they are accompanying a parent who is subject to the proclamation;
  • Parents of U.S. citizens who are 21 or older, provided that the adult child can demonstrate that the parent’s healthcare needs will not pose a substantial burden on the U.S. healthcare system;
  • Returning residents;
  • Iraqi or Afghan translators and interpreters, as well as Iraqis and Afghans who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. government;
  • Foreign nationals whose entry would further U.S. law enforcement endeavors; and
  • Any foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest.

The following types of health insurance are accepted:

  • An employer-sponsored health plan;
  • A family member’s plan;
  • An unsubsidized individual plan obtained on a state market;
  • Medicare;
  • A catastrophic plan;
  • A short-term or visitor plan; or
  • Any other health plan that provides adequate coverage for medical care as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Subsidized health insurance obtained through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will not be considered an acceptable form of health insurance. This new regulation will go into effect on November 3, 2019.

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