A December 12, 2009 Department
of State (DOS) cable provides consulates with field guidance on new laws that
removed HIV infection from the list of communicable diseases that could bar an
individual from the United States.
SUMMARY: On November 2, the Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (HHS/CDC), published a Final Rule in the Federal Register that will remove HIV infection from the list of communicable diseases of public health significance and remove references to HIV from the scope of medical examinations for aliens. The final rule will go into effect on January 4, 2010. This cable provides guidance to posts for handling cases involving HIV after January 4, 2010, and in the interim. END SUMMARY.
Impact on visa processing, as outlined in the DOS cable and new FAM guidance:
- Effective January 4, 2010, visa applicants required to receive medical examinations will not be tested for HIV, and HIV-positive visa applicants will not be found ineligible for visas under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(i) of the INA and will not need waivers from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) prior to being issued visas, if otherwise qualified.
- Although applicants with HIV cannot be found ineligible for visas under Section 212(a)(1)(A)(i) of the INA starting on January 4, 2010, they still must overcome INA Section 212(a)(4), public charge, by demonstrating to consular officers that they will have means of support in the United States and that they, therefore, will not need to seek public financial assistance
- The following medical examination forms are being revised to remove references to HIV and the sections for the laboratory findings of the HIV test: Form DS-2053, Medical Examination For Immigrant or Refugee Applicant (For use with TB Technical Instructions 1991 and the DS-3024); Form DS-2054, Medical Examination For Immigrant or Refugee Applicant (For use with TB Technical Instructions 2007 and the DS-3030); and Form DS-3030, Chest X-Ray And Classification Worksheet.
- The DS-156 Nonimmigrant Visa Application, DS-160 Online Nonimmigrant Application, and DS-230 Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration forms contain the following question: "Have you ever been afflicted with a communicable disease of public health significance or a dangerous physical or mental disorder, or ever been a drug user or addict?" Effective January 4, 2010, HIV- positive visa applicants will no longer have to answer "Yes" to this question based solely on their HIV status. Applicants who are HIV-positive, and can otherwise answer "No" to the question, should answer "No" beginning on January 4, 2010.