What is an immigration medical exam?
An immigration medical exam is an essential requirement for any individual, regardless of sex or age. Anyone who plans to immigrate to or acquire a permanent residence card (green card) in the United States. A green card physical is a routine part of the immigration application process. It helps determine the health of an immigrant as per the rules and regulations.
Basically, the US government wants to make sure that your overall health complies with the U.S. immigration law. For this, you need to get a blood test for syphilis (RPR test) and tuberculosis (IGRA or Quantiferon). You also need a urine test (NAAT) for gonorrhea. Other blood tests such as basic metabolic panel or tests of red blood cells and blood group etc. are not needed.
Who can perform an immigration medical exam?
Only a USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) designated civil surgeon can perform these physical exams on immigrants for i693 purposes. The immigration medical exam is a requirement for applicants wanting to naturalize. Anyone filing for an adjustment of status (I-485) needs this done. Then they can become lawful permanent residents in the U.S. or become a Green Card holder.
Government-approved military doctors can also conduct full physical exams. They can do this only inside US-based military treatment facilities for U.S. military personnel, U.S. veterans, and their designated dependents.
The U.S. Department of State evaluates select doctors in other countries. It reviews their applications and once approved, it designates them as ‘Panel Physicians’ through the U.S. Embassy in that country. These panel physicians are responsible for performing all immigration medical exams in territories outside the U.S. mainland. Anyone participating in a visa application or green card process at a U.S. consulate would also have to follow this process.
What is the purpose of the immigration medical exam?
All applications for U.S. permanent residency need to include an immigration medical exam. This helps to remove grounds for any health-related inadmissibility such as infectious diseases and incomplete records of immunization. In addition, physical or mental disorders, substance addiction, etc.
There are certain health issues in immigrants that have the potential to put public safety at risk. This immigration medical exam is a necessary part of immigration and naturalization to the US. It is also a part of visa application process a foreign national is admissible to the United States.
What happens during an immigration medical exam?
This is not like one of your regular doctor’s check-ups. Work physicals and other annual comprehensive physical exams have a different role.
If you or your family recently had a physical exam, then that physical can not be used for immigration. An immigration medical exam is more of a screening test of health. It helps analyze whether or not your overall health condition will raise an alarm with the U.S. immigration authorities.
There are technical instructions that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) experts have helped create. These guide the USCIS designated civil surgeon, military doctors, or panel physician for conducting an immigration medical exam. You will find a detailed explanation from the CDC website.
The medical visit includes inquiries about your past medical history, most recent medical examination, existing medical conditions, and vaccination records. You will be required to undergo a full physical examination, and blood and urine tests. In some cases, a Chest X-Ray may be required as well if the blood test results indicate you need one. All these tests help ascertain the existence of communicable diseases.
It is okay to feel nervous about it esp. if your priority date in the naturalization process has brought you to this step. Getting your green card is an exciting step.
A green card will allow you to live and work in the US. You will be able to travel back home to meet your family. This is often something that a non-immigrant visa might have prevented you from doing.
Being in absolute best health is not a requirement for this physical. However, if you are healthy, it will be helpful as that will help prove you’re not carrying any illness. This is merely to eliminate any infectious threat to the health of the American public.
How should I prepare for an immigration medical exam?
Bring the following items during an immigration medical exam:
- Government-issued photo identification such as a valid passport, driver’s license, or any legal forms of identification
- A completed version of Form I-693 Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- List of medication for any chronic illness
- Doctor’s recommendation for any special supervision requirement
- Medical insurance card
- Payment for immigration medical examination
What happens after an immigration medical exam?
Upon completion of your immigration medical exam, you will receive the documents. These USCIS-approved written results are on the Form I-693 report which has a 2-year validity period. This report is confidential and exclusively used for immigration purposes only.
The immigration doctor will place the Form I-693 report of medical examination in a sealed envelope. This envelope needs to be mailed directly to the consulate of citizenship and immigration services.
On the other hand, you may also be the one to take them to the USCIS. In that case, just make sure that the envelope has not been opened, altered, or damaged. Open envelopes will lead to an instant rejection of the exam result.
Where can I find a low-cost immigration medical exam in New York?
Payment for an immigration medical exam may depend on the doctor, clinic, or hospital conducting it. Usually, the cost can be as cheap as $100 or as expensive as $400.
There are four USCIS designated Civil Surgeons that work at Statcare. They work out of eight offices across New York City and Nassau County.
You can find low-cost immigration medical exam at Statcare for only $129. You can expect your exam to be affordable, fast, and hassle-free. Call now or book an appointment today.