United States of America - Regulations on Entry, Stay and Residence for PLHIV

Restriction category relative to United States of America

  • Countries without restrictions

Entry regulations Residence regulations Additional information
No restrictions for people with HIV/AIDS. Entry bar in place since 1987 has been lifted as of Jan 4, 2010

HIV-specific entry and residence regulations for United States of America

U.S. President Barack Obama has announced that all current restrictions affecting people with HIV from entering or migrating to the United States are lifted as of January 4, 2010. The final rule was published in the Federal Registry November 2, 2009. It stated: "As a result of this final rule, aliens will no longer be inadmissible into the United States based solely on the ground they are infected with HIV, and they will not be required to undergo HIV testing as part of the required medical examination for U.S. immigration."

New instructions are being provided to panel physicians and civil surgeons who administer medical exams as for immigration purposes, but it may take time until they are all aware of the change, so residency seekers should be prepared. The revised instructions can be found at: www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dq/technica.htm

From January 4, 2010, people living with HIV can enter the U.S. like anybody else. 

Guidance on the new rule is published here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/laws/telegrams/telegrams_4631.html and an HIV Travel and Immigration FAQ brochure is available for download in English and Spanish here: http://immigrationequality.org/template.php?pageid=176.

Important note for visitors under the visa waiver program (for countries where a visa is not required to travel to the USA) and are living with HIV, please note that HIV is no longer considered a communicable disease for entry purposes. When submitting the online ESTA form to clear your entry to the U.S., it is important that you do check „no“ for the question about communicable diseases. HIV is no longer considered as such by the U.S. authorities.

Customs regulations require people entering with prescription medication like antiretroviral drugs to carry a doctor’s certificate in English, stating that the drugs are required to treat a personal condition. This requirement applies to all prescription drugs.

Medication should always be carried in hand luggage, as checked luggage may be delayed or get lost. If you are carrying-on liquid medication exceeding 3 ounces / 100 ml, you must declare it at the checkpoint for inspection.

(Sources: 1, 2)


HIV treatment information for United States of America

Emergency rooms cannot turn away any patient in need of care, so people with HIV can go there. They will however be billed for the entire amount, which could be huge. Regular care will also be self-pay, unfortunately. Unless the patient’s country of residence has a mechanism for paying for out of country care, or they have travel insurance, it will be out of pocket.

(Source: 3)


HIV information / HIV NGOs in United States of America

(Source: 1)

  • AIDS Action
    1730 M Street NW
    Suite 611
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: +1 202 530 8030
    Fax: +1 202 530 8031
    Web: www.aidsaction.org

    Services: Policy work, also serve as a national HIV/AIDS coalition.
  • African Services Committee
    429 West 127th Street
    New York, NY 10027
    Phone: +1 212 222 3882
    Fax: +1 212 222 7067
    Email: [email protected]

    Services: they work with African immigrants and many of the people they work with are HIV positive
  • International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
    80 Maiden Lane, Suite 1505
    New York, NY 10038
    Phone: +1 212 268 8040
    Fax: +1 212 430 6060
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web: www.iglhrc.org
  • GMHC Gay Men's Health Crisis
    The Tisch Building
    119 West 24 Street
    New York, NY 10011, USA
    Phone: +1 800 243 7692 (hotline)
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web site: www.gmhc.org
    Contact person: Vishal Trivedi

    Services: Legal advocacy, information, advice, support, health education resources, helpline, advocacy/rights, counselling.
  • Global Health Council
    HIV/AIDS Programme
    1111 19th Street, NW - Suite 1120
    Washington, DC 20036
    Phone: +1 202 833 5900
    Facsimile: +1 202 833 0075
    E-mail: [email protected]
    Web site: www.globalhealth.org
    Contact person: Sara Friedman, [email protected]

    Services: Health care/medical support, international coordinating body, advocacy
You can get updated information through the aidsmap search engine at www .aidsmap.com/en/orgs/ux/default.asp



Global Criminalisation of HIV Transmission Scan

The Global Criminalisation Scan is an initiative of GNP+. It aims to collect and keep up to date information on national and state level laws criminalising the transmission of or exposure to HIV. It also aims to provide an easily accessible ‘clearing-house’ of resources, research, and initiatives on the subject and to provide a platform for advocacy initiatives.

Find out more about the scan and the criminalisation of HIV transmission legislation at http://criminalisation.gnpplus.net/.



  1. Dr. Nancy Ordover and the authors, November 2, 2009 and April 7, 2010
  2. Memorandum, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immisgration Services, November 24, 2009
  3. Jeff Taylor, AIDS Treatment Activists Coalition, via e-mail, January 5, 2010


updated: 4/14/2010
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