New Presidential Proclamation Requiring Health Care for Immigrant Visa Applicants Effective November 3, 2019
Monday, October 28, 2019
On Oct. 4, President Donald Trump signed a new “Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Immigrants Who Will Financially Burden the United States Healthcare System,” which goes into effect Nov. 3 and affects most immigrant visa applicants. This Presidential Proclamation is separate from the Public Charge Rule, which is on hold in the U.S. due to a court injunction, and its implementation at U.S. Consulates has been delayed by the Department of State.
According to the new Presidential Proclamation, with very small exceptions including refugees and asylees, applicants for immigrant visas will need to present evidence to the consular office “to the consular officer’s satisfaction” at the time of their immigrant visa interview that they will be covered by approved health insurance within 30 days of entering the U.S. or that they have enough financial means to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The Presidential Proclamation asserts that “lawful immigrants are about three times more likely than United States citizens to lack health insurance.”
The DOS has updated its website with instructions on how they will be implementing the new rules for all immigrant visa applicants with interviews on or after Nov. 3 (See https://travel.state.gov/healthcare). The Department of State has advised that inability to meet this requirement will result in the denial of the visa application and further indicated on its website that “Officers will review the medical and financial documentation that is already part of the applicant’s case file and may request additional information or documentation as needed.” Therefore, prior to the visa interview, applicants may wish to review costs and eligibility requirements for approved health insurance plans or consider how they would pay for the reasonably foreseeable medical costs of any current medical condition they may have.
Approved health insurance, as indicated in the Presidential Proclamation, includes employer-sponsored health plans, including retiree plans; unsubsidized health plans offered in the individual market within a State; short-term, limited duration health plans effective for a minimum of 364 days or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States; catastrophic plans; coverage by a family member’s health plan; U.S. military health plans, including TRICARE; visitor health insurance plans with adequate medical coverage for a minimum of 364 days or until the beginning of planned, extended travel outside the United States; medical plans under the Medicare program; any other health plan with adequate coverage as determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. For individuals over the age of 18, approved health insurance does not include coverage under the Medicaid program
According to Law360, two Senate Democrats have urged President Trump to stop this proclamation from going into effect. Like the Public Charge Rule, the Presidential Proclamation may become the subject of litigation. However, as of the publication of this blog post, the Presidential Proclamation is still scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 3, and applicants should be prepared to bring to the interview evidence that they will be covered by approved health insurance upon arrival in the U.S. or that they have enough means to pay for “reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” As such, applicants may seriously consider carrying a copy of their recent bank statements showing enough income to cover medical costs in the U.S. or a copy of their health insurance card and information about their health insurance policy confirming that their plan provides adequate coverage.
As we are still unsure how consular offices will be handling the new rule, and it is solely at the U.S. Consular Officer’s discretion to determine if the applicant has enough financial means to pay for any “reasonably foreseeable medical costs” or that the applicant will in fact be covered by a health insurance within 30 days of arriving in the U.S., immigrant visa applicants are well-advised to consider carrying evidence of coverage with them, even if they think they might be exempt from this rule.
Co-Author Bianca Pipala is Not admitted to the practice of law.
Just to add and clarify. As has been mentioned above the 14 August 2019 rule that was going to be implemented on October 15 was only specific to those going through Adjustment of Status. These rules are implemented through DHS and USCIS. These agencies were litigated against and temporary injunction was placed on their rule. For consular visa processing it is responsibility of Department of State to set rules and guidelines for those applying from outside of the country and so the above mentioned rule would not affect people through this process BUT and here is the big BUT, the department of state (DOS) had already modified public charge at beginning of the year and on Friday (October 11) put out an interim rule specifying that they were changing their guidelines to closer adhere to the DHS and USCIS new rules on public charge that were going to take effect on October 15. So even though the original rules set by DHS and USCIS have an injunction on them, this injunction will not effect guidance updates and rule updates by DOS. You can read more about this DOS plan here:
So consular processing is not status quo for outside the USA and is changing. In fact this interim guidance is going into effect on October 15 as well. To me this is crazy because the guidance/rules were set for AOS applicants and many areas don't make sense for visa applicants and the form changes and new forms were also specific to AOS and no longer are published at all, so how they intend to collect this new information for visa applicants is anyone's guess at this point. It seems like complete chaos to me.
So in summary DOS consular visa processing is changing it's guidelines to closer reflect the August 14th rule, the DOS guidelines are not the same as DHS rules, but they are now very similar where as before public charge was a simpler hurdle to navigate this will certainly make it a lot more difficult and very confusing for people who have upcoming interviews since these changes are very rushed with little guidance.
My i130 which was initially filed in csc is now transferred to vsc. My pd is feb of 2018.
california was taking too long and vermont is currently processing for November of 2018. So how will they process my case. Anyone been through this scenario please reply.
Thanks in advance .
i had with me a brown envelop and brought it to usps for a stamp and paid $5++ for a regular mail. The embassy wanted the $12-15 prepaid envelop by usps. Oh well, it’s just an hour bart from east bay to SF.😅
No my psa mc was not yet available since we wer wed in the province last october and i filed for petition on december. I only submitted local certified registration of marriage. Also i did not submit passport of my wife and children as well.
We're in the same boat . Am going home this October to marry my gf(mother of my 2 kids) so that I can start to,petition them as what Aleful also suggested to me rather than waiting to be a citizen and wait 4 more years for me. I was an f2b so need to be single and my 2 kids were my derivatives.
Hi. You will not need a travel clearance since you are the mother.
Who does not need a DSWD Travel Clearance to leave the Philippines?
A Filipino minor traveling with either parent, with his or her solo parent or legal guardian;
A Filipino minor whose parents are in the Foreign Service
A Filipino minor who holds a temporary or permanent resident visa of another country and is rejoining the parents in that country
A child holding a foreign passport