Immigration physical examination is a part of medical examination intended to ensure that the applicant has no medical or physical ground that could make them inadmissible to the United States.

It is a compulsory part of the immigration process that must be performed by a government-authorized doctor named panel physician or civil surgeon. Here it is important to clarify the difference between panel physicians and civil surgeons. 

  • If a green card applicant is currently present in the U.S. and is required to approach a doctor for a physical examination. He/she must have to visit a civil surgeon (a Government and USCIS authorized doctor).
  • Whereas, if the applicant is residing outside the U.S. geographical boundaries, they are required to find a panel physician in their home country who is an authorized doctor by the U.S. Department for immigration examination.  

Cost of Immigration Examination

The cost for immigration examination varies according to the location and doctor, but typically it ranges between $100-$500. This cost includes physical exams and other specific examinations related to applicants’ medical conditions.  

When to schedule Immigration Examination?

The time to schedule an immigration examination depends upon the location from where you are applying such as;

  • If you are applying from within the U.S.
  • Schedule it before initiating the Green Card Application process: This is known as concurrent filing in which you are submitting medical exam results along with a green card application (Form I-485). In this case, medical exam results must be signed by the doctor no more than 60 days before the submission of the green card application. 
  • Schedule it after submitting the Green Card Application:  In this case, the applicant has the liberty to send it to USCIS soon after the submission of the green card application or you can bring it to interview. The exam results are valid for four years from the date of signature of the civil surgeon. Normally, it is valid for 2 years, but nowadays due to COVID processing delays, USCIS extended it for 4-years.  
  • If you are applying from foreign counties.
  • Schedule it once you received the green card interview appointment letter: In this case, an applicant is advised to schedule the immigration examination once he/she received an interview appointment letter from the National Visa Center (Part of the State Department who is responsible to process green card applications for relatives living abroad). 

What do you need to bring to Immigration Examination?

As it is the most important part of the immigration process for which you must bring the following documents to the immigration examination;

  • Valid passport or other government-issued photo identification.
  • All vaccination records.
  • Unsigned copy of Form I-693 (Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record).  
  • The required fee varies according to location and doctor.
  • List of medications in case of being treated for a chronic medical condition.
  • Tuberculosis certificate from your doctor (if applicable) as evidence that you were adequately treated for tuberculosis. 
  • Clearance certificate from a doctor (if applicable) as evidence that you were adequately treated for syphilis.
  • Written certificate from a doctor, if you have been treated for psychiatric or mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse, indicating the diagnosis and length of treatment.
  • Proof of medical insurance (if applicable)

During Immigration Examination

Immigration examination is not a regular examination from your family doctor, it decides the status of admissibility to the United States. This examination includes;

  • Review of medical record.
  • Review of vaccination records for vaccine-preventable diseases such as mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, varicella, and meningococcal disease.
  • Drug or Alcohol Screening.
  • Physical Examination.

Immigration Physical Examination

It includes the examination of body organs such as eyes, ears, nose, throat, lymph nodes, skin, and extremities. During a physical exam, the doctor will also examine your heart and abdomen. The doctor may ask various general questions related to your health and fitness. It may also include various tests and examinations;

  • Skin test to check tuberculosis 
  • Height and weight check
  • Pulse check
  • Blood pressure evaluation 
  • Blood tests to check for syphilis (exempted for kids less than 15 years of age)
  • A urine test to check for gonorrhea (exempted for kids less than 15 years of age)
  • Chest X-Rays (exempted for kids less than 15 years of age and pregnant women that can be harmful to the unborn baby)
  • Lung’s evaluation
  • Heart assessment  
  • Eyes and Ears assessment to check eyesight and hearing capacity
  • Review of previous medical history such as;
  • Surgical history
  • Past illnesses
  • Physical history
  • Mental medical history

Note: The doctor won’t examine your genitals or rectal area as it is not required y USCIS for an immigration medical exam. While, the doctor may examine your breasts, before that, they will explain to you the reasons and process of this examination. 

After Immigration Examination 

Once your medical/physical examination completes, the doctor will fill out all required sections of Form I-693 and sign it. After that, you will be asked to sign it. The doctor will place Form I-693 in a sealed envelope and handed it over to you to submit to USCIS.

Don’t OPEN the seal, otherwise, USCIS will not accept it. Depending on the requirements of your home country, you may bring the sealed envelope to your green card interview, or it may be sent directly to your U.S. Embassy or consulate. 

References:

  • https://www.urgentcare-sj.com/blog/whats-involved-with-an-immigration-physical retrieved on March 10, 2022. 
  • https://citizenpath.com/immigration-medical-exam/#:~:text=The%20immigration%20medical%20examination%20is,relevant%20to%20U.S.%20immigration%20law retrieved on March 10, 2022.
  • https://www.boundless.com/immigration-resources/preparing-for-the-medical-exam/ retrieved on March 10, 2022.
  • https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/medical-police/medical-exams/requirements-temporary-residents.html#physical retrieved on March 10, 2022.
  • https://www.primamedicine.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-your-immigration-physical retrieved on March 10, 2022.
  • https://citizenpath.com/immigration-medical-exam/ retrieved on March 10, 2022.
  • https://www.primamedicine.com/blog/how-to-prepare-for-your-immigration-physical retrieved on March 10, 2022.