HIV Travel Policy

The blog focuses on using new media in response to HIV/AIDS—but we frequently get questions about HHS’ policies related to HIV/AIDS. To respond to this need, we are creating a new biweekly post that will provide a paragraph about Federal HIV/AIDS issues and policies.

This week’s post covers questions about the U.S. policy on prospective visitors who are living with HIV.

The U.S. Government has established, on a limited and categorical basis, a streamlined process for HIV-positive nonimmigrant alien visitors to obtain a B category (business or pleasure visitor) visa to enter the U.S. for up to 30 days. The HIV Waiver Final Rule gives Consular Officers overseas the authority to issue a visa, without the need of approval from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to an otherwise eligible applicant who has presented all of the required documentation and any other pertinent information. The former process did not authorize Consular Officers to issue a visa without an individualized, case-by-case waiver authorized by DHS.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has the oversight authority for the implementation of this new rule. The U.S. Department of State is responsible for the issuance of visas.



  1. Today President Obama is also expected to lift the “global gag rule,” which forbids federal funding for foreign organizations that provide abortions or counsel women about them. Global health advocates argue that the rule, also known as the Mexico City Policy and first imposed by President Ronald Reagan, has negatively impacted women’s health programs worldwide.

  2. HiV travel restrictions and retreats says:

    Complete list of countries and their restrictions for HIV positive people :
    Retreats,tips and games for PLWHA

  3. We would like do add aids/hiv prevention stamps in headers of our travel sites. Can you please tell me when can I find banners like this on site?

  4. Thanks for your comment! Web badges that promote the KNOWIT HIV testing campaign are available on Hope you’ll share them on your site!

  5. Well its one thing issuing Visas and an entirely other thing to approving and granting them. I heard the government is quite strict?

  6. Annette Lizzul says:

    The US in one of only several countries that impose this highly discriminatory and cumbersome TRAVEL BAN. It was put in place in the early 80’s, under Reagan, when HIV was not understood and panic was widespread. It’s time to reverse this ban. It only makes matters worse, because people with HIV who are too afraid to be “humiliated” at customs, “held in quarantine” or “told to leave” do not take their meds — which causes drug resistance. President Obama pledged to overturn this archaic travel ban and I hope it is reversed soon.
    After 25 years of this epidemic, people living with HIV are still feared, isolated and discriminated against.

  7. We would, also, like do add aids/hiv prevention stamps in headers of our Bed and Breakfast site. Can you please tell me when can I find banners like this on site?
    The url given in response to the above query shows an error 404 page.
    We being from India, a country with an increasing Hiv rate, would like to make public aware of this.
    Can you post the correct url, please.
    Thank you.

  8. Thanks for your interest in sharing web badges — the link above should now work.

  9. HiV travel restrictions and retreats says:

    Tips for positive travellers,restrictions and retreats on

  10. It would be nice to see changes to the HIV waver rules.

  11. Dave Billingsley says:

    It is absolutely inexcusable that the U.S. still has this entry restriction in place. To think that we are in the company of such countries as Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North and South Korea who all bar entry of HIV positive people. Nearly every other country on the planet has removed their ban on short term tourists who are HIV pos. and many have no restrictions on immigration. This government should be ashamed. How can we possibly claim to be a beacon to the world for civil rights, equality and freedom. …
    And equally frustrating is the fact that in July, 2008 congress passed legislation, and George Bush signed it, that eliminated the law requiring HIV/AIDS to be on the list of diseases that prevent entry into the country….

  12. As a travel writer who is constantly on the go, I have come across some of the most insane restrictions when entering a foreign country. Disease is nothing new when it comes to restrictions. It is the responsibility of the government to keep it’s citizens safe. It has nothing to do with discrimination.
    Using political correctness to make determinations is irresponsible.
    That being said; I have NO problem with HIV infected people gaining access to the US. I just don’t think the decisions should be based on politics.