August 07, 2008

HIV Travel/Immigration Ban Lifted – Sort Of

On July 24, 2008, the House passed H.R. 5501, which includes a provision that would repeal the HIV travel/immigration ban by amending the current health-related ground of inadmissibility to exclude any reference to HIV. The Senate passed the same bill a week earlier which lifts the current ban on those with HIV from visiting and/or immigrating to the United States. The bill has now been signed by the President and is now law. HIV is no longer a separate basis to prevent a person’s immigration to the U.S.

However, current law also renders persons with certain communicable diseases inadmissible and therefore ineligible for a visa (including immigrant visas, i.e. green cards). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) maintains a list of these communicable diseases and HIV is on this list. Consequently, persons with HIV are still required to obtain a waiver to be admitted to the U.S.

By Ann Massey Badmus