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President Trump’s latest attack on legal immigration is a requirement that immigrant visa applicants abroad prove that they have medical insurance or funds to cover medical needs. Most family-based and employment-based immigrants will need to meet that test. I’m optimistic activist lawyers will challenge the new rule and federal courts will stop Trump’s plans — the rule goes far beyond what the immigration statute allows.
A. The new rule applies to immigrant visa applicants receiving visas at U.S. consulates abroad on or after Nov. 3. It does not apply to those interviewing for green cards in the United States, the process called “adjustment of status.”
A. No. Among those exempt are the unmarried children of U.S. citizens under age 21. However, the spouse, parents and siblings of U.S. citizens must meet the new requirements. The same is true for the spouse and children of permanent residents. Nonimmigrants such as visitors and temporary workers need not meet the medical insurance test.
A. Applicants must prove that they will be covered by health insurance within 30 days of their entry into the United States, or show that they have the financial resources to pay for foreseeable medical costs. For example, if you are immigrating to join your spouse and your spouse’s insurance will cover you, you qualify under the rule. The same is true if you are in good health and have substantial financial resources. Insurance under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) counts only if the applicant will not need a subsidy to pay for the insurance.
A. The U.S. Consul General and his or her subordinates at the consulate where you apply for your immigrant visa will decide whether an applicant qualifies. Unfortunately, getting a consular officer’s decision on these cases reversed is very hard. Court review of those decisions is limited.
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