What is USCIS Medical Exam – Overview
The U.S. immigration law makes it mandatory for all green card applicants to complete the immigration medical exam as part of their green card application process. This exam is necessary to confirm that the applicant is in good health and fit to live in the United States as a permanent resident.
In this article, we shall explain the necessity of the USCIS medical exam, how it is performed, its cost, and the medical tests involved.
What is the USCIS Medical Exam
A USCIS medical exam is commonly known as the immigration medical exam. It is an essential part of your immigration approval process and is required to get a green card. An application for permanent residency in the United States is incomplete without the immigration medical exam. This medical exam can only be conducted by a government-authorized doctor, which usually includes:
- Physical and mental health examination
- Drug and alcohol screening
- Medical history and immunization/vaccine record review
- Testing for different diseases and illnesses
Why is It Necessary to Undergo the USCIS Medical Exam
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires a complete physical and mental evaluation. This is done to ensure the protection of public health in the country. An applicant seeking permanent residence needs to undergo an immigration medical exam.
There are several different health conditions that could make an applicant “inadmissible” to the US. In short, you may be considered ineligible to receive a green card due to certain mental health conditions or something in your medical records. This situation is termed “medical inadmissibility.”
There are five major health reasons that could deny your green card application. This includes communicable diseases that can affect the general public’s health, alcohol or drug abuse, physical and mental disorders that result in harmful behavior, inability to work and incomplete vaccination records.
How to Prepare for the USCIS Medical Exam?
You must first find a government-authorized doctor to undergo the USCIS medical exam, so your green card application is approved. Remember, only government-authorized doctors are eligible to perform this medical exam. So make sure to get evaluated by the doctor before your scheduled interview.
To choose the right government-authorized physician to perform your USCIS medical exam, you should consult with the US embassy or consulate in your country. Here, you can receive a list of physicians certified by the Department of State. You can usually choose your physician, but you will need to confirm your choice of doctor with the local consulate just to be sure.
If you are applying for an adjustment status within the US, a U.S. civil Surgeon is also eligible to examine you. Your current location will determine the scheduling process for the exam appointment.
What Should You Bring to a USCIS Medical Exam
It is important to prepare documents and bring them down when you are scheduled to undergo the immigration medical exam. This ensures that the examination process goes smoothly.
Here are the necessary documents you need to carry with you when you are going for your scheduled USCIS medical exam:
- Vaccination records
- Copies of chest x-ray (if applicable)
- Copy of your medical history
- Government-issued photo-ID card
- Letter from your regular physician stating your treatment plan for any health issues
- Payment for the medical exam (check with the doctor before the appointment)
- Health insurance card (if applicable)
The rest of the documents you need to bring to the USCIS medical exam will depend on whether you apply for a green card from outside or within the US.
How Much Does a USCIS Medical Exam Cost
The immigration medical examination cost varies, depending on the government-authorized doctor and the location of the examination. The US government does not have a standard fee, but the cost of an immigration medical exam usually ranges between US$ 100 and US$ 400.
Besides this, you can check with several other government-authorized doctors to find their fees for the examination. This way, you can make the best-suited decision and choose the right doctor to undergo your USCIS medical exam. In addition, you should also find out if you will incur additional indirect costs, such as transportation, etc.
What is Checked in the USCIS Medical Exam
The USCIS medical exam consists of several tests to screen for different disorders and diseases. The specific tests depend on whether you are applying for an adjustment of status while staying in the US or consular processing from outside the United States.
Irrespective of the type of residency you are applying for, the general categories of tests remain the same. These are the major medical, physical and mental tests that are performed as part of the USCIS medical exam:
1. Tuberculosis Test
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has separate guidelines for applicants to undergo a tuberculosis test, depending on whether you are applying from within or outside the US.
For instance, if you are applying from within the US, the doctor will perform an “interferon-gamma release assay” (IGRA) test for every applicant over two years or older. If the test results show you are positive for tuberculosis, then you will be required to undergo additional testing, such as a chest x-ray.
On the other hand, if you are applying from outside the US, you will need to undergo a chest x-ray if you are 15 years or older, especially if you are applying from a country considered “heavily tuberculosis-burdened”, by the CDC. If you are found to be positive for tuberculosis, then you may need to undergo further testing at the clinic.
2. Vaccination Screening
The CDC and the Immigration and Nationality Act require several different kinds of vaccines. For instance, you should be vaccinated for diseases such as hepatitis A and B, polio, mumps, measles, rubella, influenza, etc.
These guidelines are subject to getting updated from time to time, so make sure to check the list of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided at this link https://www.uscis.gov/policy-manual/volume-8-part-b-chapter-9.
3. Medical History Review
The doctor will also check your medical history to see if you have ever stayed in a hospital or had any significant events in your health history. This test also checks if you are disabled, highly sick, or unable to function as a productive member of society.
4. Physical Exam
The physical examination includes checking your eyes, ears, throat, nose, heart, lungs, skin, abdomen, extremities, etc.
5. Mental Health Exam
The mental health exam will assess your intelligence, mood, judgment, behavior, and comprehension skills. This test also helps to notice any mental or physical disorders related to harmful or violent behavior and past mental or physical conditions with violent behavioral tendencies.
The USCIS medical exam is mandatory for all applicants seeking permanent resident status (green card) in the United States. These tests must be performed by only government-designated doctors/physicians, whose list you can find on the USCIS website. For more specific details on the USCIS medical exam, you can visit the official USCIS website at https://www.uscis.gov/.