Immigrants to the United States applying for a green card are required by the United States government to have a medical exam. The exam must be performed by a doctor authorized by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Who needs a physical?
All immigrants seeking a green card are required to undergo an exam. However, children under 15 do not need a chest x-ray or blood tests. They do, however, require all immunizations. Adults 15 and older are required to have the comprehensive immigration physical exam.
What does it involve?
The medical exam begins with a review of the applicant’s medical history. You’ll want to be as honest as possible and report as thoroughly as you can. Once the doctors reviews your history, he or she will then order chest x-rays to check for TB and any other issues and will request blood tests (venipuncture) to screen for any unseen health issues.
The physical portion of the exam involves examination of your skin, lymph nodes, ears, eyes, throat, heart, abdomen, nose, external genitalia, and more.
Why do I need an immigration physical?
The immigration physical is a legal requirement for anyone seeking a change in status in the U.S. This helps ensure that you can get any follow-up care needed, that those living in the U. S. are up-to-date on vaccines and that the population is kept as healthy as possible.
What should I bring to my physical?
Prior to arriving for your physical, you will want to bring a copy of your vaccination history, your passport, and any other identification you have. If you are bringing a child under 14 years of age you’ll need proof of identity that includes a name, date, place of birth, and parents’ full names (a birth certificate is a great option).
After the Exam
After the exam, you will be asked to sign your immigration forms. The physician will take your documents and their findings and place them in a sealed envelope. It is important that you not open the envelope. You will submit this sealed envelope with your immigration paperwork..
What are medical grounds for inadmissibility?
There are four categories that label you as inadmissible. The first is if you carry a communicable disease of public health significance. This includes HIV/AIDS (a waiver may be possible), syphilis in the infectious state, Chlamydia, and more.
You can also be turned down if you have a drug or alcohol addiction or if you lack the required vaccinations.
The final category that deems you inadmissible is any physical or mental disorders with harmful behavior.
Although these categories seem broad, if you believe you have one of these issues it’s important to talk to your immigration physician and see if you’re eligible for a waiver. Many conditions don’t automatically exclude an individual and can be updated with a waiver. Oftentimes if a medical waiver is not granted you can be eligible for immigration if you get treatment.