Does testing positive for HIV make someone inadmissible to the United States?

On January 4, 2010, the United States officially removed Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection from the list of “communicable diseases of public health significance” that make an individual ineligible for admission to the United States. This means that HIV-positive applicants seeking admission can no longer be denied solely on the basis of their HIV-positive diagnosis.

To reflect this change, HIV antibody testing is no longer part of the medical examination administered to applicants, and applicants are not otherwise required to disclose an HIV-positive diagnosis during the examination. It is also unnecessary to disclose an HIV-positive diagnosis on any forms submitted during the petition or application processes.

However, it is important to note that all applicants for admission to the United States are subject to inadmissibility if a USCIS officer determines that they are “likely to become a public charge,” meaning that the applicant will need government assistance now or in the future. This may affect HIV-positive applicants who are in poor health at the time they seek admission, particularly if they are unable to work or require costly medical treatment.

An applicant in poor health must show that he or she has some means of support in the United States. For example, the applicant may provide evidence that a spouse or other family member(s) residing in the United States are employed and could support the applicant. Alternatively, an HIV-positive applicant who is relatively healthy at the time admission is sought is unlikely to be affected by this ground of inadmissibility.