Immigration Physicals FAQs for New Resident

May 10, 2022

What is an immigration medical exam?

Immigrating to the United States and becoming a permanent resident requires an immigration medical exam (green card holder). The appointment, also known as a green card medical exam, is a standard component of the process to protect public safety and remove the reasons for inadmissibility for intending immigrants.

The medical examination is used by the Department of State (DOS) and US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to identify candidates who have inadmissible health-related issues (USCIS). The following are frequently asked questions regarding the immigration process:

What factors make a candidate ineligible?

The following grounds are used to determine inadmissibility:

  • Infection with a communicable disease of public health significance
  • Failure to show documentation of vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • A medical or mental disorder with associated dangerous conduct.
  • Substance misuse are all grounds for inadmissibility (addicts).

What medical tests will be carried out?

There will be two types of medical examinations:

1. Physical Assessment

The doctor will examine you physically. A physical exam typically includes examination of your eyes, ears, nose, and throat, as well as your limbs, heart, lungs, belly, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia. A chest X-ray and a blood test will be performed to rule out syphilis. Children are usually exempt from the X-ray and blood test requirements. Contact your embassy or consulate office to request a postponement if you are expecting a child.

2. Psychological Evaluation

A mental status exam will be performed as well, which will assess your IQ, thought, comprehension, judgment, mood, and behavior. Applicants suffering from medical or mental illnesses, as well as dangerous behavior associated with those illnesses, are ineligible.

What diseases are considered communicable?

The CDC website provides technical instructions on the necessary testing, diseases currently recognized as communicable diseases of public health significance, and vaccine requirements.

The following are examples of communicable diseases with public health significance:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Syphilis
  • Gonorrhea
  • Hansen’s Disease (Leprosy)

What Do You Need to Bring to Your Medical Exam?

To prepare for the medical examination, you will need a number of items. Depending on where you take your exam, this list will change. If you are taking a test outside of the United States, the US embassy will provide you with country-specific instructions. However, you will almost always be required to bring the following items to an immigration medical exam:

  • Vaccination records
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record (if adjusting status)
  • The required fee (varies by doctor)
  • Required number of U.S. passport photos (if applying abroad – check with consular office)
  • Report of the condition and any special education or supervision requirements (if anyone in your family is immigrating with learning disabilities)
  • List of medications (if you are being treated for a chronic medical condition or taking medications on a regular basis)
  • Tuberculosis certificate from your physician (if you've previously had a positive tuberculosis skin test) proving that you were adequately treated
  • Certificate of clearance signed by a doctor or public health official, proving that you were adequately treated (if you have had syphilis)
  • Valid passport or other government-issued photo identification

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