Learn More About the Immigration Medical Exam

The Medical Conditions That Are Not Admissable to the U.S.

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Every immigrant to the nation must undergo a preliminary medical exam. Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

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 individuals have health conditions that need attention prior to immigration.

Doctors Authorized to Administer the Exam

The medical exam must be performed by a physician approved by the U.S. government. In the U.S., the physician must be a U.S. Customs and Immigration Services-designated "civil surgeon." Abroad, the exam must be conducted by a physician designated by the U.S. Department of State, also known as a "panel physician." 

To find an approved doctor in the U.S., go to the myUSCIS Find a Doctor or call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. To find an approved doctor outside of the U.S., go to the Department of State website.

Admissibility

Panel physicians and civil surgeons will classify an immigrant's medical conditions into "Class A" or "Class B." Class A medical conditions render an immigrant inadmissible to the U.S. The following situations are classified as Class A: tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, Hansen's Disease (leprosy), cholera, diphtheria, plague, polio, smallpox, yellow fever, viral hemorrhagic fevers, severe acute respiratory syndromes, and influenza caused by novel or re-emergent influenza (pandemic flu).

All immigrants, including those on an immigrant visa and an adjustment of applicants, must receive all of the required vaccinations. Those may include the following vaccine-preventable diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, Haemophilus influenzae type B, rotavirus, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, meningococcal disease, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia.

Other disqualifying factors from admission include 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 and those individuals who are found to be drug abusers or drug addicts

Other medical conditions may be categorized as Class B. These include physical or mental abnormalities, diseases (like HIV, which was declassified from Class A in 2010) or serious/permanent disabilities. Waivers may be granted for Class B medical conditions.

Preparation for the Medical Exam

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will provide a list of doctors or clinics that the government has approved to perform immigration medical exams. An applicant should make an appointment as soon as possible so as not to delay case processing.

Complete and bring form I-693 Medical Examination of Aliens Seeking Adjustment of Status to the appointment. Some consulates require passport-style photos for the medical exam. Check to see if the consulate requires photos as supporting materials. Bring payment as indicated by the doctor's office, clinic or as directed in the instruction packet from USCIS.

Bring proof of immunizations or vaccinations to the appointment. If immunizations are needed, the doctor will provide instructions on which are required and where they can be acquired, which is usually the local public health department.

Individuals who have a chronic medical problem should bring copies of medical records to the exam to show that the condition is currently being treated and is under control.

Examination and Testing

The doctor will examine an applicant for certain physical and mental health conditions. The applicant will have to remove clothes for the medical exam to do a full body review. If the doctor determines that an applicant needs more tests because of a condition found during a medical exam, the applicant may be sent to their personal doctor or a local public health department for further tests or treatment.

The applicant is required to be completely honest during the exam and truthfully answer any questions posed by medical staff. It is not necessary to volunteer more information than is requested.

The applicant 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.

If 15 years or older, an applicant must have a blood test for syphilis.

Exam Completion

At the end of the exam, the doctor or clinic will provide the documentation that an applicant will need to give to USCIS or the U.S. Department of State to complete the adjustment of status.

If there are any irregularities regarding the medical exam, it is the doctor's responsibility to provide a medical opinion and make recommendations one way or another. The consulate or USCIS has the final decision on final approval.