America continues to be a popular destination for medical tourism, despite the high cost of treatment. In fact, the number of foreign patients who visited the US for medical treatments in 2013 was between 600,000 and 800,000, as mentioned in a slideshow on CNBC. Such a huge influx of medical travelers to America every year reinforces the widespread belief that the country offers cutting-edge medical facilities and experienced physicians to tackle basic and some of the most pressing medical problems and procedures. The factor of cost therefore is not a deterrent for someone exploring the US for access to state-of-the-art medical facilities.
If such a trip to the United States is on the anvil, here are some things you must know.
Who can Apply?
You will need a B-2 Visa to apply for medical treatment in USA. Apply if:
- You have a valid passport and residence outside the United States
- You can demonstrate that the intended visit is temporary by establishing employment and/or family ties to convince the interviewer that you will stay for a limited period only
- You are able to provide evidence that you will fund the medical treatment on your own
- A letter can be furnished from your local physician in India outlining your medical condition and a recommendation for subsequent treatment in America
- You will need a letter on similar lines from a US physician or a medical facility, expressing their willingness to accept you as a patient and provide necessary healthcare
How to Apply for US Medical visa?
Carefully follow the instructions that accompany the online visa application form (DS-160) and upload your photo. Detailed instructions on how to apply can be accessed by visiting the visa page on the website of the US Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Which Hospitals Can Help?
For an exhaustive list of available hospitals and medical facilities that you can access in the US, visit the Patients Beyond Borders website. Authored by its CEO, Josef Woodman, Patients Beyond Borders is considered as one of the most trusted medical tourism guidebooks to help patients make informed decisions on available options. Josef Woodman is a credible voice in the healthcare industry, having spent the past decade visiting more than 200 medical facilities in 35 countries to bring out the best available healthcare options in the guidebook.
The Visa Process
Once you have successfully submitted your DS-160 online visa application form, you need to print the confirmation page and bring it on your visa interview day. A consular officer will verify your credentials and examine in detail whether you are eligible to apply for the visa, as per the prescribed rules and regulations. You will also have to pay a non-refundable machine-readable visa (MRV) application fee before this interview. To know, more about the applicable visa fees, other fees (if applicable) and other important conditions, you can visit the US Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs website. Remember, all applicable fees will have to be paid in local currency only.
Did you know that India ranked third in the list of nations that applied for non-immigrant visas in the fiscal year 2016? A total of 977,825 such visas were issued in the year, as per a graph on The U.S. Department of State website.
While these numbers are promising, your visa application can also be denied by the concerned consular officer. It is therefore important for you to follow the above guidelines to the letter for a hassle-free travel experience to the US.
Make sure you get a travel insurance plan, while you are here in US.
All the best!