Nov 04 2019

Federal Court Blocks Health Insurance Requirement for Immigrant Visa Applicants

United States

At a glance

  • A federal district court has temporarily blocked the enforcement of a presidential proclamation that would require immigrant visa applicants to demonstrate that they would have unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days after entry to the United States or sufficient funds to cover reasonably foreseeable medical expenses. 
  • Later this month, the court will consider whether to continue to block the proclamation and issue a preliminary injunction while a lawsuit challenging the proclamation goes forward. 

The issue

An Oregon federal court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the Trump Administration from requiring immigrant visa applicants to show that they will have unsubsidized health insurance within 30 days after entry to the United States or the financial means to cover reasonably foreseeable medical expenses. 

President Trump issued a proclamation imposing the health insurance requirement in early October and it was to take effect on November 3. It would have applied to most foreign nationals applying for immigrant visas on or after the effective date — including family-based, employment-based and Diversity Lottery immigrant visa applicants. It did not apply to nonimmigrant visa applicants or applicants for adjustment of status to permanent residence. 

A lawsuit was filed against the proclamation last week in the US District Court for the District of Oregon. The case is Doe v. Trump. 

In issuing the TRO, federal district judge Michael H. Simon found that the plaintiffs showed a likelihood of success on the merits or at least raised serious questions concerning whether the proclamation conflicts with existing immigration statutes. The court also found that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in their claim that the Administration’s emergency request for approval of a health insurance coverage form violated procedural requirements. 

What the TRO means for foreign nationals

The court order means that, until further notice, foreign nationals will not be subject to the proclamation when applying for immigrant visas. The TRO will remain in effect for up to 28 days while the court considers whether to issue a preliminary injunction that would block enforcement of the proclamation during the lawsuit.

Fragomen is closely following the lawsuit and will provide updates as developments occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.