A medical exam is required for all immigrant visas and some nonimmigrant visas, as well as for refugees and adjustment of status applicants. The purpose of the medical exam is to determine if you have any health conditions that need attention prior to immigrating.
Panel physicians and civil surgeons will classify any medical conditions into "Class A" or "Class B." Class A medical conditions render you inadmissible to the U.S. The following four conditions would make you inadmissible on medical grounds:
- individuals who are found to have a communicable disease of public health significance, including, chancroid; gonorrhea; granuloma inguinale; acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS); Hansen’s disease (infectious leprosy); lymphogranuloma venereum; infectious state syphilis; and infectious tuberculosis (Class A TB)
- immigrant visa and adjustment of applicants who have not received all of the required vaccinations
- individuals who have current physical or mental disorders, with harmful behavior associated with that disorder, or past physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior
- individuals who are found to be drug abusers or drug addicts
Other medical conditions may be categorized as Class B and include physical or mental abnormalities, diseases, or serious/permanent disabilities. Waivers may be granted for Class B medical conditions.
While it is natural to worry about the outcome of your exam, being prepared will go a long way to helping you relax.
Before the Exam
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will provide you with a list of doctors or clinics they have approved to perform immigration medical exams. Make your appointment as soon as possible so as not to delay the processing of your file.
Complete form I-693 Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status and bring it with you to your appointment. Some consulates require you to provide passport-style photos at your medical exam. Check to see if your office requires photos as part of your supporting materials.
Bring payment as indicated by the doctor's office, clinic or as directed in your instruction packet from the USCIS.
You will be required to provide proof of immunizations. If you have any records of immunizations (vaccinations), bring them to your appointment. The doctor will tell you if additional immunizations are needed and where you can get them (usually at your local public health department).
If you have a chronic medical problem which you feel may impact the exam, bring copies of your medical records to show that you are being treated and that your condition is controlled.
Examination and Testing
The doctor will examine you for certain physical and mental health conditions. You will have to remove your clothes for the medical procedures. If the doctor determines that you need more tests because of a condition found during your medical exam, you may be sent to your own doctor or to the local public health department for tests or treatment.
Be completely honest during your exam and truthfully answer any questions posed by medical staff. It is not necessary, however, to volunteer more information than is requested of you.
You will be tested for tuberculosis (TB). Applicants two years old or older will be required to have a tuberculin skin test or chest x-ray. The doctor may require an applicant younger than two to have a skin test if the child has a history of contact with a known TB case, or if there is another reason to suspect TB disease.
You will have a blood test to determine if you have syphilis (if you are 15 years of age or older) as well as to see if you have the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) infection.
After the Exam
At the completion of your exam, the doctor or clinic will provide you with documentation that you will need to complete your adjustment of status.
If there are any irregularities regarding your medical exam, remember that the doctor is providing a medical opinion and can only make recommendations. The consulate or USCIS has the final decision on whether you will be approved.