When a citizen of another country wants to enter the United States, they usually have to get a visa. Visas are divided into two initial subcategories: nonimmigrant visas when someone is going to stay temporarily and immigrant visas when someone is permanently moving to the United States. A person entering the United States for business, tourism, or both may use a B-1, B-2, or a B-1/B-2 visa respectively. It may some strange given the traditional associations with recreation, but someone coming to the United States for medical treatment would legally be required to use a B-2 visa. This blog post will describe the basics you need to know about applying for a B-2 visa. For immigration advice tailored to your specific situation, please call a New York City immigration attorney who will work hard on your behalf.

How to Obtain a B-2 Visa for Medical Treatment

To request a B-2 visa, you’ll need to reach out to your local United States embassy or consulate with proof that you only mean to enter for medical treatment, that the treatment you are seeking is medically necessary but unavailable in your home country, and that if you are pregnant, giving birth in the United States is not your primary goal.

In addition, you must also show that you have the monetary funds to travel to the country and pay for United States healthcare, which is not an easy ask, considering the high prices. United States immigration law prohibits people “likely to become a public charge.” That means you won’t have access to domestic programs like welfare or public assistance.

As a matter of proving the above, you will want to show that you have a plan to stay in the country only for a limited and specific time. Part of this showing will also involve proof that you have a permanent residence outside the United States where you intend to return and where you have binding ties like family and work. Finally, be sure to have a valid and unexpired passport ready, so that you can return home at the end of your time in the U.S.

What Kinds of Documents Will I Need to Show?

Applicants for B-2 visas will require several supporting documents as a part of their application.

  • To prove medical necessity, you should bring a letter from your doctor, written on official letterhead, that explains the nature of your medical issue, your doctor’s diagnosis and recommended treatment, the reason why this treatment isn’t obtainable in your home country, and your doctor’s recommendation to look for treatment in the United States.
  • Furthermore, you also need a letter from the healthcare professional in the United States who will provide your treatment. That doctor must give you a letter indicating their willingness to treat you based on your local doctor’s recommendation, your suggested treatment plan, an estimate of how long treatment will take, and an estimate of the total cost of your procedures.
  • You are going to need bank statements or other financial records proving that you have the funds to pay for your medical treatment and expenses while in the country.
  • Alternatively, you can submit your B-2 application with Form I-134. Form I-134 states that you have a relative or friend in the United States ready, willing, and able to pay your expenses. That friend or relative, in turn, needs to provide their own financial records as proof that they can meet your costs. A good bet for getting Form I-134 approved would involve a close relative, like a parent or a spouse, offering to pay.
  • You may, potentially, need to accept a medical examination before your local U.S. embassy or consulate approves your B-2 tourist visa.