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Restrictions imposed by the U.S. government bar noncitizens with HIV/AIDS from entering the country. Such restrictions prevented these international AIDS activists from attending international conferences in the United States, including Dutch activist Hans Paul Verhoef (standing center) who was arrested and held at the border by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Applicants for immigrant visas (those who seek to remain in the United States) have been held to a much higher standard. Prospective immigrants are eligible to apply for a waiver only if they are the spouse, unmarried son or daughter, or parent of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. The immigrant waiver application process involves a complete medical examination, an application, and an interview. Under 1996 changes to the immigration law, applicants must meet stringent requirements to prove they have the financial resources to avoid becoming public charges dependent upon the government for health care expenses.