At the end of 2020, federal prosecutors charged a group of people with running a birth tourism racket. They allege it cost New York state over $2 million in fraudulent Medicaid costs. It followed a similar prosecution by a California court caught in 2019.
Birth tourism is a long-standing issue. In January 2020, the government introduced new rules targeting it. Sadly they could also make it harder for pregnant women traveling to the U.S. for legitimate reasons to get a visa.
Who decides if you are traveling to the U.S. for legitimate reasons?
The new regulations give consular officials the responsibility to decide whether a woman has a valid reason to travel. Or if she is doing so to gain U.S. citizenship for her child.
Women must present sufficient evidence to convince the consular official that their reason to travel is legitimate. If they need to give birth in the U.S. for medical reasons, they need to prove they cannot receive the same medical treatment elsewhere. They must also show evidence of sufficient funds to do so.
If you are pregnant and traveling to the U.S. for reasons not related to pregnancy, you could still be affected. You might be traveling for tourism, business or to see family. Yet, a consular official may decide that you are fabricating a story and that your real motive is to gain U.S. citizenship for your child.
Get help with your immigration issue before immigration authorities get involved
Consular workers are not gynecologists. They do not have the necessary medical training to make judgments about a woman’s pregnancy. What is worse is that women have no right to appeal their decision. Immigration matters can be incredibly complicated. Being denied can also affect your future chances of gaining a visa. It is best not to tackle things alone.