30 September 2008

U.S. changes rules for HIV-positive visa applicants

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The Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday they will be changing the rules for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) positive visa applicants. The changes will mean that the application process for short-term non-immigrant visas for HIV-positive foreign nationals will be streamlined.

Before the legislative changes, HIV-positive foreign nationals were not allowed to enter America unless they obtained a special waiver.  Now, overseas consular offices can grant temporary American visas to HIV-positive applicants who otherwise meet the requirements of the government. 

"This regulation significantly improves the opportunities for individuals seeking to visit the U.S. who were previously inadmissible because of an HIV infection," said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.  "Perhaps most important to the applicants, we’re also accelerating the process by providing an additional avenue for temporary admission, while maintaining a high level of security at our borders."

The HIV Waiver Final Rule will allow HIV-positive visitors to enter the country for up to 30 days, provided they meet all other criteria as determined by the government.  All HIV-positive persons holding a temporary visa for America will not have their condition identifiable by the public.

The Final Rule simplifies the process for the authorisation of temporary visitor visas for America for people with HIV, as a result of an inquest into the complex case-by-case evaluations previously required for the granting of such visas.

The American Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in American visa and immigration services.

Article by Jessica Bird, American Visa Bureau.

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