Certain illnesses can prevent obtaining a green card
Q. Will testing positive for Hepatitis B prevent me from obtaining a visa to work in the United States? I am healthy. My hepatitis is inactive, but it will show up in a blood test. I’m a nurse and I found an American sponsor.
Anonymous, Dubai, United Arab Emirates
A. You can get a temporary or permanent visa (green card) even if you test positive for hepatitis. If you come on a temporary work visa, you do not need to submit a medical examination during your interview. If you come on an immigrant visa, you must undergo a medical examination, but hepatitis B is not on the list of diseases that would prevent you from obtaining a visa. This list includes only diseases that the US Department of Health and Human Services determines to be communicable diseases of public health significance.
On the HHS list are chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, infectious leprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, infectious syphilis and active tuberculosis. Note that HIV status is no longer listed.
Applicants for permanent residence must submit a medical exam to show that they do not have a condition on the HHS list. Candidates who have a disease on the list may benefit from a waiver of inadmissibility. To qualify for a waiver, an applicant must be the spouse, parent, or unmarried son or daughter of a permanent resident or U.S. citizen, or a parent of a U.S. citizen or of a son or daughter. a permanent resident daughter, or a person to whom a consul abroad has issued an immigrant visa. Applicants with treatable conditions such as tuberculosis or syphilis can become permanent residents once they are no longer contagious.
Q. My brother left the United States in 2014 to study in our home country. Now that he has graduated, he wants to return to the United States and regain his green card status. When he first got his green card, his mother was a permanent resident. Now she is an American citizen.
Angelica Carmilema, NY
A. Your mother must file US Citizenship and Immigration Services Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for your brother. After so many years abroad, the alternative — to prove that he has not abandoned his residence in the United States — would be difficult.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and senior legal counsel for Citizenship Now! from the City University of New York! project. Questions and comments by email: [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @awernick.