In order to immigrate to the United States and become a permanent resident, you’ll need to pass the immigration medical examination for USCIS. The United States government doesn’t just allow anyone to become a permanent resident and the process is often long and complicated. Even after completing all the necessary paperwork, you must be able to pass the immigration medical exam to be granted final entry into the country. If any part of your medical examination is shown to be potentially harmful to others, like having a dangerous communicable disease, then you might be “inadmissible” or in other words, not allowed entry as an immigrant.
There are four main things they look for in your medical exam. These decide whether or not you are inadmissible. The presence of one of them will likely be an obstacle in your immigration path. On the other hand, if you’re free of all 4 then you won’t have any medical issues restraining you from becoming a permanent resident in the United States.
The 4 things that could make you inadmissible are: having a communicable disease of public health significance, failure to show proof of the required vaccinations, drug abuse or addiction, and finally having a physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior.
Basically, all of the aforementioned items are related to public safety. Whether you have a significant communicable disease, aren’t vaccinated, have a problem with drug abuse, or have a disorder that could harm others, the main concern here is that you present a threat to the safety of others. This threat isn’t intentional since you’re not planning to directly hurt anyone, but it’s a matter of safety rather than intentions.
Who Can Perform the Immigration Medical Examination for USCIS?
Not all doctors can perform the immigration medical exam. After all, the department of state needs the reports of doctors they can verify and trust. If you’re applying for a visa through a US embassy or consulate, they’ll be able to give you a list of doctors that are approved by the US Department of State. From that list you’ll be able to choose whichever doctor you’re more comfortable with, so you still have some wiggle room.
On the other hand, those with adjustment of status cases will need to be examined by a civil surgeon in the United States. Again, a directory of civil surgeons will be provided that you can choose from.
Things You Need to Take to Your Exam
The immigration medical exam for USCIS isn’t as simple as going to a regular doctor for having back pain. It’s an official process and you’ll need to go prepared with all the necessary paperwork. Here’s a list of the things you need to take with you:
- Valid passport or other photo identification issued by the government
- Your vaccination records
- The doctor’s fee which varies from one doctor to the other
- US passport photos (check with the embassy in order to find out how many you need)
- Form I-693 for those adjusting status
- List of medications if you’re being treated for a chronic medical condition
- Tuberculosis certificate from your doctor that you were successfully treated from TB if you previously had it
- Certificate of clearance if you had syphilis and were treated from it
- A certificate if you were treated or hospitalized for mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse containing your diagnosis, length of treatment, and prognosis
- Information to assist the doctor in determining whether any previous harmful behavior was due to a mental, medical, or drug abuse problem
- If anyone in your family is immigrating with learning disabilities, you’ll need to provide a report of their condition and any special education or supervision they’ll need
Vaccinations and immunization status is one of the priorities of the medical examination for immigration. It’s also one of the four things that can make a person inadmissible and block their entry into the United States. Not being immunized not only puts you at risk, but also those around you. In order to become a permanent resident in the United States, you’ll need to receive the following vaccinations:
- MMR: mumps, measles, rubella
- Pertussis for whopping cough
- Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
- Hepatitis B
- Haemophilus influenza type B
- Varicella for chicken pox
- Pneumococcal pneumonia
- Hepatitis A
If you already received all, or some, of these vaccines then you’ll need to take a certificate to the doctor during the exam to prove it. Any missing vaccines will be administered by the doctor during the medical exam.
The immigration physical exam is a thorough one and you can expect to be examined almost from head to toe. The doctor will take a look at your eyes, ears, nose, throat, extremities, heart, chest, abdomen, skin, genitalia, and lymph nodes. You will also be asked for a chest x-ray and a blood test. Children, however, are usually excused from the blood test and x-ray.
The doctor examining you will assess your intelligence, comprehension, thought, mood, behavior, affect, and judgment. As we mentioned earlier, mental disorders that are associated with harmful behavior could make you inadmissible.
Price of the Examination
The United States government doesn’t set a fixed fee for the immigration medical examination. The price varies from one doctor to the other but most usually have a fee between 100-400 dollars.
Once the medical exam is over, your doctor will fill in a form provided to him or her by USCIS with the results of the examination. In the event that your medical examination was performed outside the US, the doctor will send the completed form directly to the embassy. On the other hand, if the medical exam was inside the United States then you will be given the form along with form I-693 in a sealed envelope that you should submit to adjust your status.