The US Embassy in Addis Abeba is not happy with employees or spouses of the Ethiopian Airlines who travel to the United States, give birth while on visitors' visa and return home with outstanding hospital bills.
The Embassy has served a notice to the management of the Airlines, urging its employees travelling to the United States to disclose to consular officers should they have received medical care while in the US previously. The Embassy has compiled a list of all the Airline's staffs or their spouses who gave birth there, sources disclosed. It also threatened to deny them entry permanently should they provide information in falsehood upon application for renewal.
"Obtaining a visitor visa to get medical care in the United States, including for childbirth, is allowed under United States law," said a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Addis Abeba, in an email sent to Fortune, while declining to comment on the particular case in relations to the Ethiopian Airlines. "But, travellers are expected to pay for the medical care they get."
Anyone who applies for a visa must disclose the purpose of their travel clearly during visa interviews and should pay for a planned expense, including medical treatment, according to the Embassy.
Mostly cabin crews, women employees, and spouses of employees of the national carrier obtain visas to the United States with the aim of delivering there and hoping to get an automatic American citizenship for their children.
"We know such problems exist," said a person close to the Ethiopian Airlines Employees Union. "It is very normal. To make a child an American citizen, we have seen many employees travel to the United States to give birth."
The management of the Airline declined to comment despite repeated efforts for a response.