Each year, thousands of foreigners travel to the United States for medical treatment using the B-2 visitors' visas. There are several requirements to ensure that you receive the medical treatment you need most and successfully acquire this Visa. It is not easy for anyone to comprehend the B-2 visa requirements and policies unless you involve an immigration attorney. Contact us at California Immigration Attorney and help you go through your B-2 Visa application process smoothly.  

What You Should Know About B-2 Visa

The B-2 Visa also referred to as a tourist Visa, allows foreigners to visit the United States for tourism, pleasure purposes, or medical treatment. This means that a holder of this Visa may engage in the following activities while in the United States:

  • Go on a holiday in the United States
  • Visit family and friends residing in the United States
  • Tour different cities and areas of attraction of the United States
  • Visit the United States to receive medical treatment
  • Participate in unpaid or charity events related to music and sports or contest
  • Take part in social events
  • Enroll in short-term courses which you will not be receiving any credit like cooking class

B-2 Visa for Medical Treatment

As stated earlier, foreigners can visit the United States using a B-2 Visa for medical treatment. There are several requirements that anyone intending to travel to the U.S for medical treatment must meet. Firstly, you must prove to the United States immigration authorities that you intend to make a brief visit to the United States for medical attention unavailable in your county. Below are a few elements that you must provide:  

  • That your travel to the United States is solely based on receiving medical treatment
  • That you do not intend to seek U.S citizenship for your unborn child by traveling to the USA while pregnant
  • That you intend to stay temporarily and within the specified period that is provided in the letter provided by your local physician
  • That you have a permanent residence outside the U.S. and there are other bidding ties like a permanent job or family that demonstrates your intention to return home
  • That you possess a valid and unexpired passport that would allow you to return to your country after your treatment
  • That you are capable of catering for all your expenses during your stay

Please note, a B-2 Visa allows visitors to stay in the United States for a maximum of 180 days per entry. All visits are limited to the purpose of the visit, and visitors cannot seek paid work or employment during their stay. However, you can seek a stay extension based on the factors that are discussed below. 

Specific Requirements Needed to Visit the United States using a B-2 Medical Treatment Visa

Once you visit the United States consulate or embassy to request a B-2 Visa, you must have the proper documentation supporting your request. Failure to provide these documents makes it difficult to persuade the embassy or consular officials that you do not intend to enter into the United States and stay permanently. Below is a detailed explanation of the documents and requirements needed to prove that your B-2 Visa is crucial.

Letters from Your Local Doctor and a United States Healthcare Professionals

B-2 Visa holders trying to seek medical treatment should provide relevant letters proving their need for treatment in the U.S. Ideally, they should provide a letter from their local physicians describing:

  • The diagnosis of the ailment and recommended treatment
  • The reasons why the treatment is unavailable in their home country
  • Local doctor's recommendation to seek medical care in the United States

You should also provide an official letter from a United States’ doctor who’ll be treating you.

It is always essential to research and reach out to different medical professionals capable of treating you, learn how long the treatment will take, and the cost of your treatment. Other things to learn include related costs like hospitalization, doctor's fee, prescription medication, and tests.

After deciding on a particular doctor, he or she should provide a letter outlining the following:

  • The doctor's acceptance to treat you according to the information from your local doctor
  • A comprehensive plan for your treatment
  • The estimated period that you will have to stay in the United States to complete your treatment
  • The estimated cost of all your medical procedures

Prove That You Can Cater for Your Treatment

United States' medical services prices can be shocking to visitors used to subsidized medical care in their countries. That's why B-2 travelers must prove their ability to cater to their treatment. This means that you cannot rely on the United States' public assistance or welfare since the law prohibits people with the likelihood of becoming a "public charge" from entering the U.S.

In that case, you must provide relevant records showing that the money will be immediately available to pay for your medical expenses and additional costs. 

For travelers without the financial ability to cover their expenses but have U.S. relatives or friends who agree to sponsor them, the sponsors must provide information that proves that they can cover their friends or family expenses. This information includes employment, bank accounts, personal property, and income. This evidence is provided under Form 1-134, Affidavit of Support.  

Please note that providing Form 1-134 does not automatically guarantee that your Visa application will be approved.

There are Chances of Being Examined at the United States Consulate or Embassy

The U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country may require you to have a medical examination to receive your B-2 Visa.

This exam intends to confirm whether the disease is treatable in your country. The U.S. embassy or consulate physician will also screen for any infectious diseases that can make you inadmissible in the U.S.

The USCIS Might restrict your Admission to the United States Due to Particular Health Issues

B-2 travelers with particular contagious diseases cannot be admitted to the U.S. and cannot obtain a B-2 Visa even if it is meant for medical treatment. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a list of these infectious diseases, which they refer to as "public health significance." Some of these diseases include STDs like gonorrhea and syphilis. Other diseases include quarantinable diseases like cholera, infectious tuberculosis, smallpox, pandemic flu, viral hemorrhagic fevers, and severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Apart from suffering from particular diseases, you might be inadmissible due to specific physical or mental disorders that are perceived as harmful to property, public welfare, or safety. Under this requirement, “harmful behaviors” are perceived as behaviors that can cause psychological or physical injury to the applicant or another person. Health and safety include threatening to kill someone or driving while intoxicated, or property damage. Having a mental illness alone, even without any harmful behavior related to it, may still make you inadmissible. Finally, you might be inadmissible even if you no longer have a harmful disorder, but there is a likelihood that the condition will reoccur.

Another aspect that might affect your B-2 Visa application is a history of drug abuse or addiction. There is a broad definition of drug abuse beyond mere experimenting with a particular drug. Generally, experimenting is referred to as one use. Therefore, anything beyond one use of a controlled substance is referred to as abuse. Typically, the physician administering the medical examination will administer the drug test after deciding that it is necessary for the individual applicant's case.

Additional Immigration Issues Related to Pregnant Women

In January 2020, the State Department amended the 9 FAM 402.2 statute to discourage foreign pregnant women from coming to deliver children in the United States and automatically make them United States citizens. This practice is referred to as "birth tourism."

Under this new regulation,  pregnant B-2 applicants seeking medical treatment should overcome the presumption that they intend to visit the U.S. to obtain United States citizenship for their children. Overcoming this is not easy unless you demonstrate a unique and permissible objective for your travel. For instance, someone with a complicated pregnancy can prove that the medical care provided in the United States is necessary for this condition. Again, this kind of applicant must prove that the required medical care is unavailable in her home country and must provide the right documentation to confirm this treatment.  

B-2 Visa Application Process

There are specific procedures that B-2 Visa applicants must follow to ensure that the process is complete on time and done effectively. These procedures are described below.

Acquiring a Digital Photo

You must submit a digital photograph while applying for a B-2 Visa or any other U.S. Visitor visa. Particular criteria must be met by the digital picture that you have to submit. A good photo must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be square
  • Must meet the dimension of a minimum pixel of 600 by 600
  • Must meet a maximum dimension of 1200 by 1200 pixels
  • Must have a colored image
  • Image must be in JPEG format
  • File size must be less or equal to 240KB

Please note that some consulates or embassies no longer require applicants to upload digital photographs while completing their application forms. Therefore, you must take this photograph at the Offsite facilitation center (OFC) or Application Service Center (ASC) along with the applicant's fingerprints.  

Complete the B-2 Visa Application Form DS-160

B-2 Visa application form DS-160 is completed online. There are specific requirements needed before starting to file for this Visa. These include:

  • A digital photograph of the applicant with the specifications mentioned above
  • Identify the United States consulate that you will appear for your interview
  • Passport details like issue date, names that appear on the passport, and passport number
  • Current travel itinerary
  • Applicant's family information
  • Address of where you will stay in the United States
  • Name and address of your relatives in the United States
  • If you are a U.S. resident, you should provide your social security number and U.S. tax Identification number
  • The date that you recently traveled to the U.S

There are also specific technical requirements that you must meet to complete the DS-160 filing process effectively. These includes:

  • An internet browser that can support 128-bit encryption and is JavaScript enabled
  • A minimum version of 5.0 service for your Internet Explorer or 6.2 for Netscape
  • A laser printer connected to your computer for an easier printout of the confirmation page

While filing for the DS-160 form, ensure that you provide accurate information and answer all questions. In case you intend to stay away from the application process for more than twenty minutes, ensure that the file is permanently saved to a file on your computer. Waiting for twenty minutes or more before completing the online application process will automatically expire the process and lose all your data. Finally, review all the information you've entered for accuracy and print the confirmation page. You will require the confirmation page for your Visa interview.

The application process takes 15 – 30 minutes to complete in one sitting. This makes it easy to complete without needing much assistance.  

Pay the Visa Application Fee

The first step of paying your Visa application fee is creating a profile on the U.S. Visa service website and choosing the Appointment option. On this option, complete the Visa type, category, and class steps by selecting the B-2 Visa medical treatment option. Once you are on the payment screen, you can pick the payment form that suits you best.  

Please note that once you pay the application fee, you acknowledge that the payment is non-refundable and is a prerequisite of the application process. This does not mean an existing contract with the United States Embassy or consulate or guarantees a successful application. In that case, there is no refund regardless of the outcome of the application.

Apart from that, you should save your GCI reference or transaction number, despite the payment option that you choose. You cannot schedule an appointment without this number. Completing the visa payment option allows you to schedule an interview according to the processing timelines provided.

Fee Payment Options for your Visa

You can use an online banking transfer, use a debit card, or pay in cash while paying for your B-2 Visa. If you are using an online banking transfer, you should not pay in U.S. dollars but use the current Consular Exchange Rate published on the home page.

Online payment using a debit card is the most convenient method you can use for your nonimmigrant fee. While using this process, avoid refreshing the webpage, pressing the back button on your browser, opening a new window, or closing your web browser until the payment confirmation appears. If you perform any of these actions, you may end up making multiple payments.

There might be a delay in the payment posted to your account. In case of this experience, check your bank account and see if the payment has been made.

Finally, you can pay for your Visa in cash at any bank. You might incur additional charges if you choose a third-party bank where you do not hold your account. Applicants should not pay in U.S. dollars but should use the current consular exchange rate published on the homepage.

Scheduling your Visa Appointment 

Once you have paid the application fee, you should schedule two meetings as part of your visitor visa process. The two-part meeting involves a meeting with the Offsite Facilitation Center and a second meeting with the Embassy or Consulate for a personal interview. While setting up a visitor visa appointment, you can use the U.S. Visa Online Appointment system.

It is important to note that you do not have to wait until the last minute to book your interview. Otherwise, you will not get your preferred time and date.
You will need to submit a passport valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond the intended period of stay, Visa application fee payment receipt, your email address, and DS-160 Form confirmation page.

The U.S embassy or consulate can grant you an emergency appointment if your medical condition needs immediate medical care. Misrepresenting the reasons for your travel can adversely affect your Visa interview.

Fingerprinting at The Visa Application Center

Once you have taken your meeting with the U.S. embassy or consulate, you should schedule a fingerprinting meeting before your interview. Earlier, applicants took the fingerprints during the interview. However, applicants must give their Biometric information before the Visa Application Center appointment under the new rules.

Attend Your Visa Interview at the Designated U.S. Embassy or Consulate 

During your interview appointment, go to the embassy or consulate as scheduled. Ensure that you have all the relevant documents needed in this process. After arriving at the consulate, you will go through a security check process and show your original passport and appointment letter.

Most of these interviews are conducted behind a glass window with a microphone that you should speak through. You will hear the interviewer through the speaker and see him or her through the glass window. If you intend to exchange any documents with the interviewer, use the slot below the window.

Make sure that you answer all the questions asked by the interviewer truthfully and confidently. Refrain from providing more information than what you are asked and do not present documents you are not asked to provide. Remember, the interview's primary goal is to verify your application’s information to confirm whether you qualify for the B-2 medical treatment visa.

B-2 Visa Stay Extension

Generally, B-2 Visas are issued for six months with a potential additional maximum extension granted under the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) approval. To extend your stay U.S. Visitor stay, you should file Form 1-539 with the USCIS before the authorized day expires. Specifically, you should apply for an extension at least forty-five days before the authorized stay expires. However, the USCIS Service Center must receive the application by the day the authorized stay expires. If you remain in the United States longer than authorized, USCIS can bar you from returning or have you deported.

You may apply for an extension if you:

  • Have a legitimate reason for the visa extension
  • You were admitted into the U.S. lawfully with a B-2 medical treatment visa
  • You nonimmigrant U.S. Visa status is still valid
  • You haven't committed any crime that makes you ineligible for a Visa
  • You haven't violated any conditions for your admission to the United States
  • You have a valid passport that will remain valid throughout your duration of stay
  • You have a definite plan to leave the U.S. at the end of the proposed extension period
  • You have proper evidence proving your financial capabilities during your extended stay

Once the USCIS receives the extension application, they will send a 13-digit receipt number that indicates the approximate processing time. You will also receive a biometric appointment to the closest Application Service Center for fingerprinting. This applies to all primary applicants and co-dependents irrespective of their age. The biometric fee is $85 and applies to all applicants.

You will be allowed to stay in the United States for 240 days after the expiration date indicated on Form 1-94, provided you have filed for the extension before it expires and if your application is under review.  

In case the application is approved, USCIS will issue a Form 1-94 with a new departure date. The new 1-94 approval letter allows you to stay in the U.S. until the new departure date. You should submit both the new and old approval letters to the airline staff while leaving the USA.

If USCIS denies your Visa extension application, you will receive a letter that tells you why they rejected the application. You will then have to leave the USA immediately.

Find an California Immigration Lawyer Near Me

Seeking medical care in the United States as a foreigner can be challenging due to the B-2 medical treatment visa requirements and application process. However, with the help of a competent immigration attorney, it is much easier to go through the Visa application process more than you could do on your own. At California Immigration Attorney, we have a reputation for offering the best immigration services related to B-2 medical treatment visas and other nonimmigrant visas in California. Contact us today at 424-789-8809 and let us help you through your B-2 medical treatment Visa application process.