Don't Be Left In The Dark: Everything You Need To Know About US Immigration Physicals
Just like any other location in the United States, immigration physicals in New York City are conducted by Civil Surgeons designated by the USCIS. These trained physicians must follow the guidelines set by the US government to confirm if a would-be immigrant is medically fit to reside in the country. A lot of applicants are curious as to what to expect during this physical. This guide is meant to cover all aspects of the green card physical that a normal applicant should expect to face during the medical exam.
What to Bring
There are quite a few things you will need to gather before the day of your examination:
- Be sure to bring a list of all of the vaccinations you have received so far.
- If you’ve had syphilis in the past you will need to bring a written certificate that has been signed by a doctor (or public health official) proving you have been properly treated. If you have tested positively for syphilis but have not been treated, you will need to bring a written explanation signed by your doctor.
- If anyone in your immigrating family has learning or mental disabilities of any kind, you are required to have a report of their condition and any special education or supervisions requirements.
- If you’ve tested positively for tuberculosis (TB), you must provide a certificate from your doctor explaining the circumstances of your positive test results. The certificate should also indicate any treatment you received and how long it lasted. It is extremely important that you can prove you were adequately treated, and the proof must include dates and medications you received. Also, if you’ve ever had an abnormal chest X-ray, you will need to bring the films with you, or digital copies on a CD.
- You will need to be upfront with any history of harmful or violent behavior that resulted in injury to other people, animals, and even inanimate objects. This information will help the doctor determine whether your behavior stemmed from a medical condition, psychiatric problem, or drug or alcohol abuse. To be clear, harmful behavior also includes self-harm or attempted suicide.
- If you are adjusting your status in the United States you are required to bring a copy of Form I-693 with the top part filled in by you.
- If you have ever been treated or hospitalized for mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse, bring written certification of your diagnosis, length of treatment, and your prognosis.
- If you are being treated for a chronic illness or taking medication of any kind on a regular basis, you must be ready to explain your medical condition(s) and provide all of the names of the medications currently prescribed. It’s a good idea to prepare a list instead of trying to think of them all on the spot.
What to Expect During the Examination
During your appointment the doctor will review your medical and vaccination history, and then perform the actual exam, which will include a chest X-ray and blood tests.
Typically, children under the age of 15 will not have to have a chest X-ray or blood tests.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you might be, you can ask to have your X-ray postponed. Depending on which country you are coming from, this may or may not be allowed, as different U.S. consulates are currently following sets of regulations regarding this policy.
During the actual physical part of the exam, the doctor will need to take a look at your eyes, ears, nose and throat, as well as your extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia.
The doctor will also give you any vaccinations that you have not yet received. The full list of vaccines include:
- Hepatitis A and B
- Influenza type b (Hib)
- Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
Illnesses or Conditions That Can be Considered Inadmissible
There’s no need for you to worry that if you walk into your exam appointment with a sinus infection or allergies that your green card will be denied. The doctor’s job is to examine you only for conditions and illnesses that are relevant to the immigration process and nothing more. This appointment is not a complete examination of your current health.
There are a handful of medical conditions that make applicants inadmissible to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), under Sections 212(a) and 221(d). These include:
- A communicable diseases of public health significance. You can find a complete list of these in the Code of Federal Regulations at 42 C.F.R. Section 34.2. The main ones on this list are various venereal diseases, active tuberculosis, and infectious leprosy.
- Any physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that may pose or has posed a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others. (It should be noted that in the past a conviction of driving under the influence has been considered inadmissible behavior that can be harmful to oneself or others.)
- Abuse of or addiction to drugs or alcohol.
If any of the above apply to you, you are encouraged to speak with an attorney, as some of these grounds of inadmissibility can be waived or legally forgiven.
How to Submit the Results of Your Medical Examination
After your examination, the doctor will complete form I-693 and hand it to you in a sealed envelope. You must take this envelope and submit it to USCIS at your green card interview. It is very important that you keep this envelope sealed, as it will not be accepted otherwise.
The results of your examination remain valid for up to one (1) year before you file your application for a green card.
Troy Baker blogs for UrgentWay, a top provider of Immigration Physicals in New York, and has over 10 years of experience in the industry. His interests include current health care issues and medical technologies that are helping improve the patient-doctor relationship. If you need to figure out an immigration medical exam near me, you can use the UrgentWay location finder tool.