US Immigration News

What Happens in the Medical Examination for US Immigration?

4.75 minute read
"If you are immigrating to the United States, you will be required to complete a medical examination to receive a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). This is a part of the immigration process to ensure that you do not have a medical condition that could affect public safety."
Written by My Visa Source Team
Published on:  Aug 4, 2021
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If you are immigrating to the United States, you will be required to complete a medical examination to receive a Green Card (Permanent Resident Card). This is a part of the immigration process to ensure that you do not have a medical condition that could affect public safety. 

Having a certain medical condition that can affect public health will get you denied entry to the United States. Being inadmissible makes you ineligible for a Green Card. A medical examination is conducted to remove the grounds of medical inadmissibility. 

What Is the Purpose of a Medical Examination During the US Immigration Process?

The medical examination of foreign nationals and the vaccinations given to them during the immigration process is done to ensure both the health and safety of the US public. The medical examination and the vaccination records allow the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to determine whether a foreign national meets the health standards for admissibility. 

Having the following medical conditions will make you medically inadmissible to immigrate to the US:

  • A communicable disease that could significantly impact public health
  • Failure to show proof of required vaccinations
  • A physical or mental disability that could harm others
  • Drug abuse or addiction

The sole purpose of the medical examination is to screen the applicant for ailments relevant to the US immigration law. The government does not require you to know about any ailments that do not affect your ability to immigrate or require the doctor to provide you with a diagnosis or treatment for your health issues. 

What Kind of Doctor Can You Select for Your Medical Examination?

You can not just go to any doctor for a medical examination. Only a government-approved doctor can conduct a medical examination for immigration purposes. If you are outside the US, the US embassy or consulate will refer you to an authorized “panel physician.” If you are inside the US, then you will be required to go to a “civil surgeon.”

The panel of physicians will be approved by the Department of State and you can have your choice of physician from the panel. 

When Should You Schedule a Medical Examination for Immigration Purposes?

You will be informed by the National Visa Center (NVC) when it's time for your medical examination if you are applying through a US consulate. You will be required to complete the medical examination and take the required vaccinations before your scheduled immigrant visa interview date. 

If you are applying from inside the US, you will have more flexibility. You can make an appointment with a civil surgeon before beginning your Green Card application process and submit the result with your application to adjust status, Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. 

You may even choose to submit your medical examination results at a later time after filing Form I-485. Your exam results must be signed by the doctor in the last 60 days before submitting Form I-485.

What About When You’re Taking the Medical Exam Outside of the US?

When you are taking the medical examination outside the US, you will be required to take the following items with you:

  • Valid passport or other government-issued identification with your photo
  • Vaccination records
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • The required fee
  • Required number of US passport photos in standard size
  • Report of any condition, special education or supervision requirement
  • List of medication requirements if you are being treated for a chronic medical condition or taking medication regularly
  • Tuberculosis certificate if you have been previously diagnosed with the condition to prove that you received adequate treatment
  • Disclosing any history of harmful or violent behavior related to a psychiatric or medical problem or history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • History of being treated for a psychiatric or mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction with written certification including the length of your diagnosis and your prognosis

What Vaccinations Are Required for the US Immigration Process?

The doctor will confirm that you have been administered all the vaccines required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These include vaccination for:

  • Mumps, measles, rubella
  • Polio
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
  • Pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenzae type B
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella
  • Influenza
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Rotavirus
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningococcal

If you are missing any vaccinations, then the doctor will administer them. The US government currently does not require you to have a vaccination for Covid-19 as a part of the immigration process.

However, your application could be denied due to Covid-19 related issues including:

  • Having any symptoms of Covid-19 
  • Being in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have Covid-19 in the last 14 days
  • Being instructed to self-isolate by a healthcare provider, public health authority or government agency in the last 14 days
  • Waiting for the results of the Covid-19 test

What Happens After Taking the Medical Examination?

What happens after completing your medical examination depends entirely on your location. In some countries, your results will be sent directly to the US embassy or consulate. In other countries, your results will be sealed in an envelope and given to the applicant to take with them on the interview date.

If you have taken the medical examination from inside the US, then the civil surgeon will provide you with a completed Form I-693 in a sealed envelope. You must not open the envelope under any circumstances. You will be required to submit it alongside Form I-485, Adjustment of Status.

If you have already filed Form I-485, then you must take the envelope with you on the date of your interview. The medical examination results are valid for 2 years. However, if it is specifically signed by a civil surgeon, then it is only valid for 60 days before the applicant applies for a Green Card. The USCIS will then adjudicate the application within 2 years from the date of the civil surgeon’s signature.

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