Rule restricting visas for pregnant women goes into effect in the U.S.

The U.S. government wants to curb the so-called "maternity tourism", and to that end, announced the modification of the regulation of B-1 and B-2 visas granted to temporary visitors for business or tourism.

The new regulations, published in the Federal Register, the official U.S. government bulletin, went into effect today.

According to the document, consular authorities must reject B visa applications from pregnant women whose "primary purpose" is to give birth in the United States so that the baby can obtain U.S. citizenship.

The U.S. Department of State also added a provision that imposes certain requirements on persons that apply for a B visa to obtain medical treatment in the United States. Must demonstrate to the satisfaction of a consular officer:

  • who have a legitimate reason to travel to the U.S. for medical treatment
  • that a physician or medical facility in the United States has agreed to provide treatment
  • the duration and cost of treatment and other related expenses
  • that he has the means and the intention to pay for the medical treatment and all the related expenses

In the case of pregnant foreign nationals applying for visas for medical treatment, they will have to demonstrate that they have a specific medical reason and that the trip is not just for the baby to obtain U.S. citizenship.

As an example, the rule notes instances where specialized medical care may be needed for a complicated pregnancy in areas of Mexico near the United States that lack appropriate medical facilities.

Consular officers will have broad discretion to approve or deny B visas to applicants who cannot comply with the new provisions.