Understanding the Immigration Medical Exam

immigration medical exam

Understanding the Immigration Medical Exam

An immigration medical examination is a must to all those looking to apply for a U.S. green card (lawful permanent residence). The purpose of this examination is to ensure your green card is able to be granted on public health grounds.

The medical exam can only be administered by a civil surgeon who has been designated by the relevant immigration bodies. Note that regular doctors no longer perform this medical test. The civil surgeons entrusted to perform the medical examination receive special and ongoing training concerning immigration issues.

The Objective of an Immigration Medical Exam

All foreign nationals are subject to medical examination, and the vaccinations administered are meant to safeguard the health of the United States citizens. It’s only through examination that civil surgeons can highlight the medical reasons for inadmissibility. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) relies on the immigration medical examination, the medical report, and the vaccination report to ascertain whether a foreign national meets the health requirements for admissibility.

An applicant with the following medical conditions will have his/her application dismissed on health-related grounds:

  • Drug Abuse/Addiction
  • If the immigrant doesn’t have documents to prove the required vaccinations
  • Communicable illness of public health importance
  • Physical/medical disorder in connection with harmful behavior

Finding a Civil Surgeon or an Authorized Physician

The immigration medical exam is only performed by physicians or civil surgeons who have been approved by the U.S. government. This means you can’t visit any other doctor to have a medical exam apart from those designated by the U.S. immigration authorities. Those applying for green cards from abroad, via a U.S. embassy or consulate, will be issued with a copy of authorized physicians before they can attend a visa interview. The other way to find authorized physicians is by visiting the medical examination page of the state department website.

To those applying for green card from within the United States, also referred to as “adjusting status,” can find the list of certified civil surgeons from USCIS.

Those adjusting status can call the USCIS Customer Care via their helpline.

What to Take to the Medical Examination?

As you prepare for the medical exam, remember to bring the following:

  • Valid Passport or any other government-issued document to proof identification
  • Vaccination records
  • Those adjusting status should bring Medical Examination Report, Vaccination Record, and a copy of Form I-693
  • Doctor’s fee statement
  • Those applying from oversees, the needed number of U.S. passport photos may vary.
  • Immigrants with learning disabilities should carry with them a report of their condition and any special education requirements
  • If you’re receiving treatment for a chronic disease or taking medications often, you should provide a list of the medications and clarify this condition further
  • If you’ve ever suffered from syphilis, a written certificate signed by a public health official is a requirement to prove that you were treated

What the Doctor Will Examine

The doctor will go through your medical and vaccination history, and subject you to a physical examination, usually blood test and chest X-ray.

Note that children below fifteen years are not subject to blood tests nor X-ray.

If you are pregnant, you can request the X-ray be postponed, although the acceptance will depend mainly on your home country.

In most physical examination, the physician will examine your respiratory organs, heart, eyes, throat, and external genitalia.

The physician will administer any vaccination you’re lacking based on the list of compulsory vaccinations. They include:

  • Influenza
  • Varicella
  • Measles
  • Pertussis
  • Pneumococcal disease
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A & B
  • Influenza type b (Hib)
  • Mumps
  • Rotavirus
  • Rubella
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Meningococcal disease

The Cost for Medical Exam

The cost of an immigration medical exam varies from one country to another and also depends on the doctor performing the test. There are no laws in the U.S. regulating the immigration examination fees. The cost is determined by the doctor you visit. Get in touch with several doctors and contrast their charges on medical exams.

Upon successful completion of the exam, the doctor will fill in the results and findings on a form provided by the USCIS. A doctor will convey the results to the consulate, in case an applicant is applying from abroad. To those taking the medical exam from within the U.S, the civil surgeon will issue you with Report of Medical Examination, Vaccination Record, and Form I-693 in a sealed envelope. You will be required to submit these documents to the Adjust Status.

To learn more about the immigration medical examination, contact Pacific Coast Medical Group, and we will provide you with all the necessary information regarding this medical exam.