Visa applicants will have to prove to consular officials that they will be covered by an approved health insurance within 30 days of entry into the US or possess the financial means to “pay for reasonably foreseeable medical costs.” The new requirement could make it more difficult for people — particularly ones without financial means — to immigrate to the US. It will take effect on November 3.
“Immigrants who enter this country should not further saddle our healthcare system, and subsequently American taxpayers, with higher costs,” Trump said in the proclamation.
Under the White House’s proclamation, accepted health insurance includes employer-sponsored and family coverage plans, unsubsidized individual health plans, and short-term plans. Medicaid or Affordable Care Act subsidies do not qualify as “approved health insurance” under the proclamation.
Exceptions to the rule include children of US citizens, unaccompanied minors, permanent residents who are returning to the US after being overseas less than a year, and “special immigrant visas” for Iraqi and Afghan nationals who worked for the US government, and their families.
Immigrants with a valid visa issued before the proclamation’s effective date are also exempt, and the proclamation does not affect refugees and asylum seekers.
Friday’s proclamation falls in line with the administration’s attempts to restrict legal immigration and reshape the legal immigrant population in the US. It’s likely to face court challenges from immigrant rights advocates, who are already decrying the proclamation.
When announcing the public charge rule in August, acting US Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli said it will encourage “self-reliance and self-sufficiency for those seeking to come to or stay in the United States.” But Immigrant advocates have argued that the rule would discriminate against those from poorer countries, keep families apart and prompt legal residents to forgo needed public aid.