What to Expect From an Immigration Medical Exam

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Overview of Immigration Medical Examinations

Immigration medical exams are necessary for the United States immigration and permanent residence process. They ensure visa and green card applicants are in good health and fit to live in the US. Certain medical conditions can make visa or green card applicants ineligible.

Your medical exam results will determine whether the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will consider your immigration application. USCIS uses these results to determine that you are not a risk to public safety or inadmissible on disease control grounds. It is crucial to understand what to expect during your examination and how to prepare for the examination.

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we are familiar with immigration medical exam procedures and processes. We can help you avoid mistakes and guide you on the next steps.

The Immigration Medical Examination Explained

What Is an Immigration Medical Exam?

An immigration medical exam is generally conducted by a designated physician, also known as civil surgeons. The exam confirms your medical eligibility and is a mandatory part of your immigration process. During the exam, the physician will conduct a mental and physical examination on you.

They will also examine your medical history and test for certain diseases as designated by US immigration law. After reviewing your vaccine records, you may receive vaccines against vaccine-preventable diseases. The results of your medical examination will determine if you are eligible for an immigrant visa or green card.

What Vaccines Are Required?

Several standard vaccinations are required to immigrate to the US, including:

  • Tdap or DtaP

  • Varicella

  • Hepatitis A

  • Hepatitis B

  • Rotavirus

  • Influenza


  • Measles, mumps, and rubella

  • HIB

  • Meningococcal


Certain waivers are available for vaccinations if appropriate.

Blood tests like quantifiers and varicella titer are also needed if you are sponsoring a family member two years or older who needs to undergo the tests. Blood tests may also be needed to rule out syphilis and gonorrhea for adults between 18 to 24 years.

How and When To Have Your Medical Examination

To carry out any of these tests or vaccinations, you need the service of an authorized medical practitioner. A limited number of medical practitioners are eligible to perform this exam. If you apply for a visa outside the US, the embassy will offer several physicians certified by the State Department.

The USCIS recently eliminated the 60-day rule requiring a civil surgeon’s signature within 60 days of the application filing. Form I-693 is now valid for up to two years after the date of signature. This makes the timing of your immigration medical examination much more flexible than in the past. Now, you can have your examination anytime up to two years before you file your visa or green card application or make an appointment after filing.

Step-By-Step Guide To Completing Your Medical Exam

Scheduling Your Appointment

Once you have found an authorized healthcare provider, you can schedule your appointment and prepare all the essential documents that will be required.

What To Bring To Your Medical Exam

  • I-693 form

  • Vaccination or immunization record

  • Copy of medical history, x-rays, or test results

  • A letter from an authorized medical doctor containing treatment plans if you have a medical condition

  • A government-issued photo ID card

  • Medical exam fees

  • Health insurance card

The I-693 form reports the result of your immigration medical exam to the USCIS. The form must be signed by the civil surgeon conducting the medical examination.

After the Exam: Next Steps in the Immigration Process

After the exam, you will be asked to sign a Form I-693 in the presence of your physician. The doctor will then give you a sealed envelope containing the form. Do not unseal it. You must submit the sealed form to USCIS or take it to your interview, depending on whether you schedule the medical exams before or after filling out the visa or green card application.

Legal Insights on Immigration Medical Exams

The medical exams will determine whether you have met the health-related standards for admissibility. By signing Form I-693, a civil surgeon makes a declaration of your health based on USCIS guidelines. USCIS then uses the information from this form to determine whether you are inadmissible to enter the US on public health grounds.

You could “fail” the medical examination if the physician finds that you have:

  • A history of drug abuse or addiction;

  • A mental disorder associated with harmful behavior;

  • An infectious disease with public health significance, including tuberculosis, leprosy, gonorrhea, or syphilis;

  • Are unable to show vaccination records.

Waivers for Inadmissibility on Health Grounds

If USCIS has determined that you are inadmissible based on your medical exam, you may still be able to immigrate to the US or obtain permanent residence. USCIS can provide waivers for some medical grounds for inadmissibility.

To obtain a waiver, you must file Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility. With your application, you must provide evidence of why you qualify for a waiver of inadmissibility for a health issue or support exemption from vaccination requirements.

A complete and thorough waiver application is crucial. An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the application and help you determine what information is necessary for your application.

Consult Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law

Whether you are initially entering the US or want to stay in the US as a permanent resident, you will need to have an immigration medical exam. While the medical exam is only one factor in determining whether you are eligible to stay in the US, it is a critical part of the process. Understanding what to expect, what health issues may make you inadmissible, and what steps you can take if USCIS determines you are inadmissible is a crucial part of the immigration journey.

Navigating the immigration process alone can be overwhelming, especially if you encounter delays or difficulties. Assistance from an experienced immigration law firm like Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at law can help. We have a successful track record of handling immigration cases and guiding clients through this complex process. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.