New Department of State Rule Increases Scrutiny of Pregnant Applicants for B Visitor Visas
As of January 24, 2020, the Department of State has amended immigration regulations to clarify that traveling to the United States “for the primary purpose of obtaining U.S. citizenship for a child by giving birth in the United States is an impermissible basis for the issuance of a B nonimmigrant visa.” The rule only applies to nonimmigrants who are required to obtain a visitor visa; travelers from visa waiver countries are exempt. While the new regulation does not prohibit all travelers who are pregnant or may become pregnant from obtaining visitor visas, it does require that they convince the consular officer that their primary purpose for traveling is not to obtain U.S. citizenship for their child by giving birth in the United States. Once a traveler has received her visa, she should be treated at the border like any other B visa-holder. According to the Department of State, the rule is intended to address national security concerns and so-called citizenship loopholes, but is not intended to discourage visitors with legitimate, specialized medical needs that can only be met in the United States.