Before obtaining a U.S. green card, you must pass a medical exam. This exam helps eliminate inadmissibility based on medical reasons.
In other words, you cannot become a permanent resident of the United States if you have a disqualifying medical condition. This article covers some of the most important things you need to know about doctors for green card medical exams.
- The immigration medical exam is not designed to diagnose or treat you; it only helps eliminate inadmissibility based on health-related reasons
- Only a government-approved doctor can conduct this exam
- Find a Doctor Tool helps you to search for an approved doctor near you
- You may not be granted a permanent resident status if you have a disqualifying medical condition
- Having manageable disease does not disqualify you from obtaining permanent resident status
Reasons for Inadmissibility On Health-Related Grounds
You may be inadmissible based on the following reasons:
- You have an infectious disease that threatens the U.S. public health
- You have failed to prove that you took the required vaccinations
- You have a mental or physical disorder that puts you or the general public in danger
- You struggle with drug abuse or addiction
It is important to note that this medical exam does not include a full physical assessment. Instead, it only helps screen for specific medical conditions relevant to U.S. immigration laws.
For this reason, the doctor conducting this exam is not required to provide counseling, treatment, or other standard services provided by your personal doctor.
This applies even if the doctor discovers additional health problems while conducting the immigration medical exam.
How to Find Doctors Within the United States
Since you cannot have your personal doctor conduct this exam, you will need to locate one who has been approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS has an online Find a Doctor Tool you can use to search for an approved doctor near you.
All you will need to do is enter your zip code or address into the tool’s search bar. You will then see a list of the nearest USCIS-approved locations to have your medical exam.
The above process applies to individuals already in the United States. There is a different process when applying for permanent residence outside the United States.
How to Find Doctors Outside the U.S.
When applying for a permanent residence from outside the United States, you should schedule your medical exam only when you receive the green card interview appointment letter issued by the National Visa Center.
To find a U.S. government-approved doctor, follow these steps:
- Head over to the U.S. Department of State website
- Click on the U.S. embassies and consulates page
- Locate the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in your country
- The country-specific page will contain a list of approved doctors in your country
- Contact the medical facility or doctor to book your appointment
It is important to note that the State Department designates a panel physician to provide immigration medical examinations outside the United States and present the results to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.
What to Bring to Your Immigration Medical Exam
After booking your medical exam with a government-approved doctor, it is essential to know what to bring to your appointment. The USCIS recommends bringing the following to your appointment:
- Form I-693, also known as a Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- Your government-issued ID
- If you are 14 years old or younger, you can bring any other identification that shows your name, date, place of birth, and parent’s full name
- If your birth certificate is in any other language than English, you will need to bring it with you, along with a certified translated copy
- Medical insurance card
- Your immunization or vaccination record
- Proof of payment – remember to call the doctor’s office to find out how much they charge for this exam and the acceptable payment options.
Green Card Doctors FAQs
What Does the Doctor Check For?
During the exam, the doctor will review your immunization and medical records. They will then conduct a physical exam, which includes blood tests to check for infectious diseases such as gonorrhea, leprosy, tuberculosis, and syphilis.
Remember that children aged 15 and under need not be tested for gonorrhea or syphilis. The government-approved doctor will also check whether you have any of the following:
- Mental illness or disorders
- Violent behaviors
- Harmful behavior
- Drug abuse or addiction
What Immunizations Do I Need to Pass the Medical Exam for Immigration?
The exact immunization you will need depends on several factors, including age. For example, if you are aged between 18 and 64, you only need immunization against Diphtheria, Tetanus, MMR, varicella, and flu.
Do Pregnant Women Require Immunization?
Pregnant women may be exempt from certain vaccination requirements. That said, women with a menstrual period must still complete the exam. The exam might also include an X-ray if required.
However, pregnant women might be allowed to postpone the X-ray until after giving birth. In that case, they must complete the X-ray before being granted entry into the United States, i.e., if applying from abroad.
If applying from within the United States, pregnant women must take the X-ray exam before completing the green card application by filling out Form I-485.
Wondering how long it takes to process Form I-485? Here’s a more detailed guide.
How Long Does an Immigration Medical Exam Take?
In most cases, the immigration medical exam takes anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. This exam should take almost the same time as your regular visit to your personal doctor.
When Should I Expect the Test Results?
You should expect the immigration medical exam results about a week after testing. However, the timeline for receiving your test results may vary depending on multiple factors, like laboratory backlogs, etc.
Does the Government Doctor Test for HIV During an Immigration Medical Exam?
HIV testing is no longer required for immigration purposes. The Centers for Disease Control provides a list of medical conditions the doctor will likely test for. You can find the complete list here.
What Happens After the Medical Exam?
After the exam, the doctor will complete Form I-693. They will then send the test results to you or the U.S. embassy/consulate (in some countries).
Test results sent directly to the green card applicant are usually sealed in an envelope. You will need to bring the envelope with you to the interview. Keep in mind that the immigration officer will not accept the test results if the envelope has been tampered with.
Green Card Application Process | Read More
Who Should Take an Immigration Medical Exam?
Individuals applying to immigrate to the United States permanently must take an immigrant medical exam. A panel physician conducts this exam in the immigrant’s country of residence.
Refugees must also take this exam in the country where they will be interviewed before migrating to the United States.
Lastly, immigrants already living in the United States need a medical exam prior to adjustment of status. This exam is usually conducted by a U.S.-based civil surgeon.
Bear in mind that if applying as a family, each family member must take the exam.
Do I Need an Immigration Medical Exam as a Non-Immigrant?
When you are a non-immigrant, it means you do not intend to live in the United States permanently. Therefore, applying for a non-immigrant visa will not require a medical exam.
Can I Eat Before an Immigration Exam?
Yes, you can eat before an immigration exam. Since this exam usually draws samples from body fluids such as blood and urine, what you eat will not affect the test results.
However, keep in mind that you may want to avoid eating food that could potentially upset your stomach or make you uncomfortable during the exam.
Can I Adjust Status If I Had an Inadmissible Disease But Have Since Been Cured?
Yes, the USCIS is only concerned about any current health concerns. Your previous medical conditions will not count just as long as they have been treated and you have been cured.
In addition, you will not fail the exam if you have a cold during the exam, are HIV-positive, or have a well-managed disease such as diabetes.
Which Vaccinations Are Required By the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services?
The list of required vaccinations will depend on several factors. These vaccinations are usually required by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The agency is also in charge of recommending immunizations for the general U.S. public. Therefore, the list of vaccinations you may need will also depend on the health risks at that time.
For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals traveling to the U.S. were required to show proof of vaccination against the virus. However, now that the pandemic is under control, the U.S. government has eased Covid restrictions.
You will need the following vaccinations when applying to immigrate to the U.S. and obtain permanent resident status:
- Hepatitis b
- Haemophilus influenza B
- Diphtheria toxoids
What Happens If the USCIS Denies My Green Card Application For Health-Related Reasons?
Suppose the U.S. immigration service rejects your application for a green card for health-related reasons. In that case, you may still be able to obtain a green card if you apply for a ‘waiver of inadmissibility.’
In other words, this waiver seeks to plead with the U.S. government not to consider your medical condition when determining your eligibility for permanent residency in the United States.
However, for this to work, the U.S. government should have a good reason to waive this requirement. For instance, if you suffer from a disqualifying medical condition, you must demonstrate that you are actively receiving medical care.