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.