The Trump administration recently implemented a new policy that will make it harder for foreign nationals to travel to the United States if they are pregnant. The goal of the policy to crack down on "birth tourism,” a common term for when a person from another country comes to the U.S. to give birth on American soil, thus ensuring their child can become an American citizen. The new rules went into effect on January 24, 2020.
In an announcement, the White House said the State Department "will no longer issue temporary visitor (B-1/B-2) visas to aliens seeking to enter the United States for 'birth tourism.'" Under the new policy, foreign travelers coming to the U.S will have their petition for a temporary visa denied if the State Department discovers that the "primary purpose" of the trip is to secure citizenship for a child by giving birth in the U.S.
It is important to note that the new birth tourism rule doesn’t apply to the 39 countries that belong to the Visa Waiver Program.
How Will the New Birth Tourism Rule Be Implemented?
According to officials from the State Department, consular officers have been informed that they aren’t allowed to outright ask a woman if they are pregnant:
“You must not ask a visa applicant whether they are pregnant unless you have a specific articulable reason to believe they may be pregnant and planning to give birth in the United States. You should document any such reason in your case notes. You must not, as a matter of course, ask all female applicants (or any specific sub-sets of applicants) whether they are pregnant or intend to become pregnant."
So if a woman says they are coming to the U.S. for a medical procedure, it can trigger questions about pregnancy, despite medical procedures being listed as an option on the application. While the State Department official didn’t say that officers couldn’t use visual cues to initiate questioning or ask a woman if she looks pregnant, they did say that officers can’t require travelers to submit a pregnancy test.
Under the new rule, visa applicants seeking medical treatment also have to show their arrangements for the treatment and prove they can pay all associated costs.
Assisting Clients with Temporary Visa Petitions
At Verma Law Firm, our team of seasoned legal professionals understands that obtaining a temporary visa to visit the U.S. is already complicated. This new rule from the Trump administration will only make the process even harder for foreign women who need crucial medical treatments in our country because they will face intense scrutiny regarding their physical appearance and reasons for traveling.
If you are trying to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa but you’re worried about how the new birth tourism rule might affect you, then you need to get in touch with our attorneys to discuss your situation. We have more than 18 years of experience. We will gladly guide you through the legal process and ensure your rights are protected as you apply for the visa you need.
Are you ready to start your consultation with one of our attorneys? Give us a call at (408) 560-4622 to speak to a member of our team.