Immigrant children are eligible to apply for the West Virginia Children Health Insurance Program if they meet the following criteria:
  • Child has entered United States prior to August 22, 1996 and has received legal immigrant or qualified alien status;
  • Immigrant child has entered United States on or after August 22, 1996 who has obtained legal immigrant or qualified alien status for 5 consecutive years.

A person is considered a legal immigrant or qualified alien if they are:

Legally residing in the United States; a refugee, an asylee, a Cuban Haitian entrant, an alien whose deportation is being withheld by INS, an Amerasian immigrant, a child of a veteran or active-duty U.S. military serviceman, children certified by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) as Victims of Trafficking.


Q. Is a parent’s immigration status part of eligibility?


Q. Will families accessing WV Children’s Health Insurance Program benefits, be considered a Public Charge?

A. NO. Public Charge is a term used by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to describe people who cannot support themselves and depend on government benefits that provide cash support, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Social Security (SSI); or they live in a nursing home or other long-term care institution at the government’s expense. If an immigrant receives WVCHIP benefits, INS will not consider the receipt of these benefits as a reason to classify the immigrant as a public charge.

Q. Does WVCHIP tell the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) I am applying for WVCHIP?

A. NO. The State of West Virginia cannot provide any information to INS about people applying for WVCHIP or medical benefits. (However people who apply for cash assistance or food stamps can be reported if they reveal they’re under a final order of deportation or not lawfully present.) Remember, the child’s immigration status, not the parent’s is considered for WVCHIP eligibility.

Q. Will enrolling a child in WVCHIP harm me in adjusting my status through INS?

A. NO. Regulations state that health care cannot be used to deny individuals, admission to the U.S., to bar legal permanent residence, or to deport. (May 25, 1999, Administration Policy Announcement directed to all federal agencies.)

Q. Does WVCHIP give my social security and income data to the INS or U.S. Department of State?

A. NO. A 1997 federal decision requires this data to be confidential.

Q. Is my Social Security Number required?

A. A parent's social security number is not required unless child is placed in WVCHIP Blue or WVCHIP Premium coverage.  WVCHIP may continue to ask for your Social Security Number to verify income and for use in other data matches.  Inability to give a Social Security Number will not affect your child's eligibility for WVCHIP.  A 1997 federal decision requires this data to be confidentially handled.

Q. Is my child’s Social Security Number required?

A. YES. In order to be eligible for WVCHIP, your child’s Social Security Number is required, unless your child does not have one. If your child does not have a Social Security Number, you have to provide documentation of the date you applied or attempted to apply for a Social Security Number. If your child is eligible for WVCHIP, you will have to submit the child’s social security number to your local DHHR office when it is assigned by the Social Security Administration Office. The child’s WVCHIP card cannot be mailed to you until the Social Security Number is received.

Q. If I enroll my child in WVCHIP, can I later be asked to pay back the money?

A. NO. Neither the State of West Virginia nor the INS can require you to repay a lawfully received benefit. They will not accept it even if you want to pay it back.

Q. How Do I Apply?

A. You may apply for health insurance coverage by visiting www.healthcare.gov, or by calling 1-800-318-2596, or by applying online at www.wvpath.wv.gov​, by printing an application to fill out and mail in, or by visiting your local DHHR office, primary care clinic or hospital.

Definitions for Some Immigration Terms:


Foreign national; any person not a citizen or national of the United States (a non-citizen).


Children fathered by U.S. citizens in certain Southeast Asian countries during the years of armed conflict in those regions. Spouses, children, and parents or guardians may sometimes accompany the alien child.


An alien in the United States or at a port of entry unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution, based on the alien’s race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. One who has been granted humanitarian permission to remain in the United States.

Cuban, Haitian Entrant

An individual defined in Section 501 of the Refugee Education Assistance Act, including any person granted parole status as a Cuban/Haitian entrant, regardless of the status of the individual at the time of assistance; also any other national of Cuba or Haiti who has an application for asylum pending with INS, or who was paroled into the U.S., or is the subject of removal proceedings.

Legal Permanent Resident

An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident (LPR). LPR’s are those persons lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may have been issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by the INS in the United States.


Any person outside the U.S. and his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her country because of persecution or a well-grounded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group. Refugees may be paroled into the United States.

Victim of Trafficking

A person who through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, has performed a commercial sex act, or been recruited, harbored, transported, provided or obtained for labor or services for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage or slavery.