The State Department issued a new regulation that prohibits pregnant foreign nationals from obtaining a B-1/B-2 visitor visa if the consular officer determines that the primary purpose of the trip is to obtain U.S. citizenship for the child by giving birth in the United States. Traveling to another country to give birth to obtain citizenship in that country is known as birth tourism. This new regulation will take into effect on January 24, 2020.

To overcome this presumption, the applicant would be required to show that the primary purpose of her travel is something other than obtaining U.S. citizenship. According to the State Department, the need for specialized medical care might rebut the presumption and qualify a pregnant applicant for a U.S. visitor visa. However, a consular officer would have the discretion to deny the visa if, for example, the applicant has ties to another country where she could be treated.

The new regulation also codifies the longstanding policy that requires foreign nationals travelling to the States for medical treatments on visitor visas to document their treatment plans, duration of treatment, and facility that has agreement to provide treatment. Applicants must also show they have the means and the intent to pay for all costs related to treatment.

These new regulations only apply to foreign nationals seeks visitor visas, it does not apply for other nonimmigrant visa types. It’s unclear at this time how this policy will be implemented. It’s also unclear how effective this policy will be as long term (10 year) visitor visas can be obtained years ahead of actual pregnancy and travel to the U.S.

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