Medical tourism to the US is gaining immense popularity, with people increasing travelling to America in search of breakthrough healthcare. And why shouldn’t they? The US is known to be a leader in medical innovation, one of the most technologically advanced countries in terms of medical care. However, such advanced healthcare does come at a high cost.
An article on Forbes, published in 2012, stated that out of 20 medical device companies in the world, 12 were headquartered in the US. These companies had more than 3,000 new pharmaceutical products in development at that time, with the numbers only expected to increase going forward. The development of these lifesaving drugs not makes the US a world leader in medical innovation, but significantly boosts its economy as well. This is evident from the fact that in 2009, the biomedical industry contributed $917 billion to the US economy, while providing 4 million jobs.
If you too are planning a trip to America for the purposes of medical treatment, here is a quick guide that will help you understand the process of getting a visa for medical treatment in the US.
Apply for the B-2 Visitor Visa
The B-2 Tourist Visa is a non-immigrant visa, issued to those interested in visiting America for pleasure or medical treatment. With the visitor’s visa, the traveller is allowed to travel to a port of entry in the US and request permission to enter the country from the immigration officials there. However, to be eligible for a B-2 visa, the applicant must prove to the consular officer that they qualify for the visa as per the US Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
Who Can Qualify?
There are certain requirements that an applicant needs to fulfil to be eligible for a B-2 Visitor Visa. These include:
- The trip should be short and temporary.
- The applicant should not intend to stay in the US for more than a specific period of time.
- The purpose of the trip to America should be solely pleasure or medical treatment.
- You will have to provide proof of sufficient funds for your trip or a sponsor who will fund the trip.
- You also need evidence of owning a residence outside the US to ensure that you have somewhere you can return to.
How to Apply
To apply for the US B-2 visitor’s visa, the first step is to fill the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form. However, remember that all the information mentioned in the form cannot be changed. Make sure you read and understand the Guidelines for DS-160 Form completion before you fill the form.
To apply for a B-2 visitor’s visa for medical treatment, the application fees of $160 needs to be paid while submitting the required documents.
- Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form: This is a mandatory application form that needs to be filled to apply for the B-2 visitor’s visa.
- Valid Passport: The passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay in the US.
- Photograph: Two 2 x 2 inches photographs of the applicant need to be submitted, which should have been taken within the last six months.
- Financial Evidence: To prove that you will be able to support your trip, documents like your bank statements and letter from the bank would be required.
When you are able to collect all these documents, schedule your visa appointment at the Embassy or Consulate and at a Visa Application Centre. Results of the interview will largely determined by whether you quality for a US visitor’s visa for medical treatment or not.
All the best! If you have any questions, please let me know in comments.