What is the immigration medical exam?
An immigration medical exam also called the green card exam is a necessary criterion for immigrants into the United States or status adjusters seeking to get a green card. As part of the immigration admission process, it is a requirement by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to protect citizens from the hazards of certain diseases of public health importance.
An applicant might be rendered inadmissible based on a finding from an immigration medical exam. Only a USCIS designated civil surgeon or panel physician can perform the immigration medical examination. It is important to have the exam done before the scheduled interview is done at the visa office.
Why is the Immigration Medical Examination Done?
The immigration medical exam is designated under the immigration law to ensure that entrants into the United States meet the minimum health-related standards for admissibility into the country. The examination specifies certain conditions by the U.S. Public health service that poses threat to citizens and as such could lead to inadmissibility into the country or denial of the green card for those seeking to update their status.
Four basic medical conditions constitute the grounds for denial of a green card or immigration for foreign nationals. They include:
- Presence of a communicable disease of Public Health Concern
- Inability to show proof of vaccination
- A physical or mental disorder associated with harmful behavior
- Findings of Drug abuse or addiction
When to Schedule a Green Card Exam?
Those who are outside the country would be informed by the National visa center when they are due for their appointment. The immigrant medical examination and vaccinations are to be done before by a designated panel physician of the civil surgeon before this date as they form part of the Medical Examination for Immigrant or Refugee Applicant form. The exam is carried out by the Department of State designated Panel Physician.
For those in the United States, the green card exam experience can be started before beginning your green card application. Upon completion, the results can be sent together with your application or after applying as a Form I-693. The results are valid 2 years after the exam has been done.
Another option is scheduling the exam after filing your green card application. The validity period can extend to 4 years due to COVID-19 delays.
Who Can Perform a Green Card Exam?
The immigration medical examination can only be performed by designated Civil Surgeons.
The list of designated can be found on the USCIS here. Applicants processing their green card outside of the United States can find the local designated panel physician on the Department of States website.
The designated doctors examine a set of technical instructions from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The results from the examination are sealed in an I-693 form and sent to the USCIS. The USCIS reviews the document to determine the admissibility of the application.
St Andrews center is one of such accredited centers with USCIS designated civil surgeons located in Los Angeles. We offer a comprehensive and affordable service which includes: RPS (syphilis test), Tuberculosis Test, Gonorrhea Test, Complete i693 Report, Vaccinations.
What Examinations Make Up the Medical Exam?
The medical examination differs depending on the location of the applicant. It encompasses several screening processes that include a Tuberculosis test, a vaccination screening, review of medical history, physical examination, chest x-ray, mental examination, blood and urine test, alcohol and drug abuse screening. Specific questions relating to health issues are addressed by the Department of States on its website.
Applicants within the U.S. are required to bring the I-693 form on which the result of the medical exam would be recorded. Those applying abroad are to bring their green card interview appointment letter panel physician’s office. This is for confirmation of an ongoing green card application.
The immigration medical exam requires several documents depending on your location. Generally, the following documents are required:
- Government issued Photo ID
- Vaccination records
- Copies of previous chest x-rays
- Your personal doctor’s letter showing treatment history for any chronic health problem
- Required medical exam fee
The immigration law stipulates that vaccination is mandatory for the prevention of certain diseases. Applicants from an abroad embassy or those seeking an adjustment of status are required to be vaccinated from the following diseases:
- Mumps, measles, rubella
- Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
- Haemophilus influenza type B
- Hepatitis B
- Pneumococcal pneumonia
- Hepatitis A
The list is subject to changes by the CDC. The USCIS has a list of age-appropriate vaccination required. Certain waivers may be granted to applicants based on Age, Contraindication (negative reaction to the vaccine), Vaccine not routinely available, Religious or moral convictions.
For the medical history, the doctor would ask questions related to a hospital stay or relevant health events, institutionalized care relating to any chronic medical condition, any history of sickness or disability that greatly impacted the level of functioning. The doctor also asks questions related to the history of drug use.
A general physical examination is also done by the doctor and this includes checking the eyes, nose, mouth, lymph nodes, lungs, heart, abdomen, skin, and external genitalia. The doctor also checks the ordered chest x-ray for TB and blood test for syphilis. Children are generally exempted from the x-ray and blood investigations.
Mental State Examination
The applicant’s higher mental state functions are also examined to assess the mental status. This is done to rule out an ongoing mental or physical disorder.
St Andrews medical center provides medical examination services to applicants in Los Angels that can help you with the US immigration medical exam.
How much does a medical exam for immigration cost?
There is no regulated fee for the medical exam by the USCIS. The cost varies depending on the physician and can depend on some additional cost. Price ranges from about $100 to $500.
How long is a medical exam for immigration valid?
For those applying within the United States, the medical results form is valid for two years if the medical exam is scheduled before the green card application and four years when scheduled after the green card application has been done. This is done to factor in COVID-19 delays.
Does insurance cover the immigration medical exam?
The medical exam is not covered by most health/travel insurance plans. However, the vaccination requirements can be factored into medical insurance.