What to Expect at an Immigration Medical Exam?

Updated on 09/24/2023

As a Green Card applicant, you must have a medical exam as part of the permanent residency process.  This medical exam is used to establish that you don’t have any health conditions that would make you inadmissible to the United States and that all of your vaccinations are up to date. You will be screened for conditions such as tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, Hansen’s disease (leprosy), substance abuse, and mental disorders.

Immigration Medical Exam

1. Find a doctor to perform an immigration medical exam

If you are adjusting your status inside the United States, you can submit a Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record medical exam either at the same time you submit your Form I-485, or submit it when the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) send you a Request for Evidence to ask for it. You will need to find a qualified doctor to perform the exam. The USCIS has a list of designated civil surgeons who are authorized to perform the exam. The USCIS website has a search feature that allows you to search by address or zip code. Click here to find an authorized civil surgeon near you. Most cities will have at least one civil surgeon and larger metro areas usually have quite a few to choose from. You might have to travel some distance if you live in a small town or rural area.

If you are not already in the United States, you will schedule your exam after your interview at the U.S. consulate is scheduled. You must complete the exam before the interview date. The exam must be performed by a doctor, known as a panel physician, approved by the U.S. embassy in that country. This list, along with specific instructions, varies consulate by consulate.  Therefore, it is important to review the instructions particular to that consulate. Click here to find the U.S. consulate for its interview instructions.

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2. Cost and documents to bring at an immigration medical exam

You might want to call several civil surgeons or panel physicians on the list if you have multiple choices available because exam costs and appointment availability can vary. Exam costs in the U.S. typically run about $300 to $600 per person. Neither USCIS nor U.S. consulates charge for the exam but doctors performing the exam do. Depending on the doctor, appointments need to be scheduled anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks ahead of time. Some doctors only perform exams at certain set times while others are more flexible.

When you schedule your appointment, you will be typically informed what you should bring with you to your appointment. You should expect to bring your passport or other form of identification.  Previous medical and vaccination records aren’t absolutely necessary, but bringing them can save you time and money. Otherwise, you will likely have to repeat shots and tests that you have previously received. Some civil surgeons will expect you to bring your own interpreter if you do not speak enough English to communicate effectively.

Most doctors will have I-693 forms on hand, though some may ask you to bring that as well. You will need to fill out the first part, which asks for basic information such as your name, contact details and basic biographical information. The doctor will complete the medical exam portion of the form. You will be screened for the medical conditions previously mentioned. You will then have to sign the form in the presence of the doctor once it is complete.

3. Medical history records and vaccinations

Having copies of current medical records can cut down on the number of tests that have to be administered. For example, if you have proof of a recent negative TB test you will not have to have another one. It will also reduce your exam costs if you don’t have to have certain tests. Likewise, a current vaccination record will keep you from having to be re-vaccinated. 

The required vaccines are ones most people typically receive as children, such as measles, tetanus, polio, and hepatitis A/B, COVID-19 vaccine is also required. Therefore, you will likely need few vaccines if you have up-to-date records, though you may need boosters. The flu shot, are only required seasonally and you will also not need to receive vaccines that aren’t appropriate for your age group. You won’t be required to have the chicken pox vaccine if you can verbally confirm that you either previously had the disease or the vaccine, but you are expected to produce vaccine records or antibody tests if you wish to avoid other vaccines.

You sometimes will be required to return for a follow-up visit for the second dose of a vaccine or to see if you have a reaction to the TB test. Additionally, if you are found to have one of the conditions you were screened for, you will have to be successfully treated for it before the doctor can sign the exam form. Even without additional tests and vaccines, it can take several days before the form is completed and ready to be picked up.

4. Receive and submit the sealed medical exam report properly

Once complete, you should receive two envelopes from the doctor. The first is your personal copy of the exam results and any additional required documentation such as vaccine records. The second envelope should contain the same documents, but the envelope will be sealed and marked with the words “DO NOT OPEN, FOR USCIS USE ONLY” or similar words. USCIS or U.S. consulate will not accept envelopes with broken seals.

If you are interviewing for your Green Card at a U.S. consulate you should bring your sealed exam report with you to the interview. The medical report in consular processing is good for 3-6 months only.

If you are adjusting your status in the U.S., once your medical exam is complete, it is valid for a two-year period. You can either submit it with your adjustment of status application or submit it when USCIS send you a Request for Evidence to ask for it. 

5. What if there is a health issue?

Most applicants don’t have major issues with their medical exam results. But if you are found to have a disqualifying condition that can’t be treated, you will be considered inadmissible to the U.S. and will not qualify for a Green Card. Any of the following health-related problems will cause your green card application gets denied:

However, there is a process to request a waiver. If you are granted the waiver, you can obtain Green Card even you have such medical problem. Unfortunately, it is not easy to have a waiver granted by USCIS.  As such, if you believe you may have a disqualifying condition, you should consider seeking treatment for it before it is time to have your medical exam. If your health-related issue is complex and you are uncertain whether it will jeopardize your Green Card application, you can always consult an experienced immigration attorney to help you figure out.  

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