What does a medical examination for immigration purposes entail?
The medical examination procedure consists of a physical examination, an evaluation (skin test/chest x-ray examination) for tuberculosis, and blood test for some individuals. The vaccination requirements include vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The immigration medical exam is for applicants of adjustment of status, "Green Card" applicants for permanent residency.
The USCIS medical exam also includes a mental evaluation. During this part of the examination, the doctor will ask you questions about your past and current behavior. If the doctor diagnoses you with a condition, this will not necessarily prevent you from immigrating, unless the disorder causes you to be a danger to yourself or others.
During the USCIS medical exam, the doctor will also look over your medical history and ask questions to determine if you have ever abused drugs. If so, you may be required to take a drug test. If you have used drugs illegally, you may be referred for treatment, after which you should be able to continue the immigration process.
More specific requirements of the USCIS medical exam vary depending on your age.
Age Related USCIS Medical Exam Details
Children who are 14 years old or younger will get a physical exam, a tuberculosis (TB) skin test, and any immunizations not given already. These may include chickenpox and tetanus-diphtheria (Td), as well as measles, mumps & rubella (MMR).
Adults age 15 or older can expect the same requirements, in addition to a blood test. Your blood will be tested for syphilis, and possibly other diseases. If your tests are positive for any conditions that may keep you from entering the U.S., you will likely receive treatment when possible.
Only USCIS designated civil surgeons are able to perform the immigration medical exam. To find a USCIS designated civil surgeon search by zip code here.
What are the communicable diseases of public health significance that would cause an applicant to fail a medical examination or be inadmissible?
Communicable diseases of public health significance include:
- Granuloma Inguinale
- Lymphogranuloma Venereum
- Hansen's Disease (Leprosy)
And the following two disease categories:
- Quarantinable diseases designated by any Presidential Executive Order. Current diseases include: cholera, diphtheria, infectious tuberculosis, plague, smallpox, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers, severe acute respiratory syndromes, and influenza caused by novel or re-emergent influenza (pandemic flu).
- Events that are reportable as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) to the World Health Organization (WHO) under the International Health Regulations (IHR) of 2005 (currently polio, smallpox, SARS, influenza, and other public health emergencies of international concern.)
What vaccines/boosters are required for immigrants and those applying for adjustment of status in the United States?
As part of the medical examination for immigration, all immigrants are required to have an assessment for the following vaccine-preventable diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, varicella, influenza, and pneumococcal pneumonia. Persons already in the United States applying for adjustment of status for permanent residency, including refugees, are also required to be assessed for these vaccine-preventable diseases.
Do all vaccine series have to be completed before vaccination requirements are fulfilled?
For vaccines requiring a series, only a single dose is required for immigration purposes. However, the Civil Surgeon should check the “insufficient time interval” box on the I-693 Form, and also advise the applicant to complete the series in the future.
Could a person request and be granted a personal-belief waiver from the vaccine requirements?
The applicant needs to check with USCIS to obtain the application for a waiver based on religious or moral conviction. It is a separate application process to obtain an individual waiver based on religious or moral conviction.
What should I bring to the USCIS medical exam?
If you are not fluent in English, you may wish to bring an interpreter to accompany you to the appointment. A medical interpreter will ensure that you and the civil surgeon understand each other completely.
Generally, the following items are required at a USCIS medical exam:
- Federally approved photo ID, such as a passport (driver’s licenses and school IDs are not acceptable)
- Medical records for chronic or serious problems
- Immunization records, if available
- Alien registration number (if applicable)
- an unsigned copy of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record for the doctor to fill out
The photo ID requirement is relaxed for applicants less than 15 years old — birth certificates or affidavits are acceptable.
Medical records which are not in English must be translated prior to the appointment
What happens after my immigration medical exam? Will I be given the results?
Once you have completed the USCIS medical exam, you will usually receive the results within one week.
The USCIS Civil Surgeon will let you know the outcome of the testing, and then you will be given a sealed envelope with the results. You need to give this to your lawyer or to USCIS with the rest of your adjustment of status paperwork for evidence of your green card eligibility.
If you have additional questions about the immigration medical examination, contact our knowledgeable U.S. immigration attorneys now for a FREE consultation.