How to Travel to the US for Medical Treatment
Would it surprise you to learn that up to 16 million people across the world resorted to medical tourism in 2017 alone? Of course, it would come as no surprise that the United States is ranked among the top 10 countries that people seeking medical treatment to visit.
If you too are planning on seeking medical treatment in America, here are some things that you should know.
Who is Eligible to Enter the US for Medical Treatment?
The first and most important thing to keep in mind is that if you are suffering from a contagious disease, your entry into the US might be restricted. Otherwise, anyone who can prove that the treatment they are seeking in the US is necessary and is not available in their home country is welcome.
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You will, of course, need to apply for a visa. For medical treatment, the visa you should apply for is the B2 visa type. The process of applying is the same as that for the tourist visa. The only difference will be during the visa interview, where you might need to provide evidence to the consular officer that the purpose of visit is strictly limited to medical treatment and that your stay in America will be temporary. For this, you will need the support of documents, including those that demonstrate that you have social and economic ties in your home country that will urge you to return.
Supporting Documents Required for a B2 Visa
- Letters from both your physician in your home country and a US medical professional, with information about:
- The nature and diagnosis of the ailment
- The reason for seeking treatment in the US, rather than in your home country
- Your local doctor’s recommendation that you need medical care available in the US
- The US physician agreeing to provide you the required treatment, while also mentioning the duration for which the treatment is expected to last.
- Proof that you have an appointment with a licensed medical institution in the US.
- Documents proving that you have the financial ability to meet all expenses related to the treatment, living and travel costs. You can do so via bank statements for the past 6 months. In case you are being sponsored by an individual or an organization, they will need to provide proof of finances.
Visa application procedure
- Fill up the DS-160 form with accurate information
- Pay the visa fee
- Schedule two appointments, one for your biometrics at the Visa Application Center, and the second for your visa interview at the US consulate or embassy closest to you
- Show up for the visa interview on the chosen date and time.
Few things to keep in mind during the visa interview
You need to be well prepared for some basic questions
- What is your medical situation?
- Can’t treatment be done in your country?
- What will be the approximate cost of the whole process?
- Can you provide us with any letters or past medical records indicating the disease?
It is best to bring all documents related to the illness and the required treatment, including copies of the doctors’ letters mentioned above to the visa interview, so that you can provide evidence if required.
Once the process has been completed, it takes about 2-3 weeks to receive the B2 visa, if approved. Of course, a lot might depend on the workload at the consulate/embassy at that point in time.
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