Note: This article focuses on the requirements and procedures applicable to medical exams for green cards filed in the United States. If you are applying for a green card outside of the United States through a U.S. consulate or embassy, consult your immigration attorney.
As a part of the green card application process, applicants must complete the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) medical examination and submit a medical report (Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record) prepared by a designated civil surgeon.
1. What is the purpose of the USCIS medical examination?
The purpose of the medical examination is for USCIS to establish that you are eligible for a green card based on health-related grounds.
2. Can my health condition prevent me from receiving a green card?
There are four basic medical conditions that may lead to ineligibility for a green card:
- – Communicable disease of public health significance. For example, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, infectious leprosy, and infectious syphilis among others. HIV is no longer on this list since January 4, 2010.
- – Failure to show proof of required vaccinations. The required vaccination are: mumps, measles, rubella; polio; tetanus and diphtheria toxoids; pertussis; haemophilius influenza type B; and hepatitis B; varicella; influenza; pneumococcal pneumonia; rotavirus; hepatitis A; and meningococcal.
- – Physical or mental disorder with associated harmful behavior
- – Drug abuse or addiction.
- 3. If I have one of the conditions listed above, can I still receive a green card?
USCIS provides certain waivers for some of the medical grounds of inadmissibility potentially enabling you to still receive a green card. Each type of waiver of health-based inadmissibility has different requirements for approval. Contact your immigration attorney to check if you are eligible for a waiver.
- 4. What if I oppose vaccinations as contrary to my religious beliefs or moral convictions?
You may receive a waiver if you can establish that compliance with the vaccination requirements would be contrary to your religious beliefs or moral convictions. To show eligibility, you must establish that: you are opposed to all vaccinations in any form, your objection is based on religious beliefs or moral convictions, and the religious belief or moral conviction is sincere.
5. How can I find an authorized doctor? Can my regular physician conduct the required exam and sign the report?
Only a physician designated as a civil surgeon by USCIS is authorized to conduct the medical exam. Your regular physician may or may not be authorized to conduct the USCIS medical exam. You can find a physician designated as a civil surgeon by USCIS in your area here.
6. What should I bring to the exam?
Check with your authorized physician regarding the required documentation to bring to your medical exam. Generally, physicians request the following documentation:
- – Valid passport or other government-issued photo ID;
- – Your vaccination or immunization record;
- – Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record;
- – The required fee (check with your civil surgeon prior to your appointment);
- – Report of any learning disabilities;
- – List of regular medications;
- – Records of prior tuberculosis, syphilis, and violent behaviors history, if applicable;
- – Records of any treatment or hospitalization for psychiatric or mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse history.
7. What can I expect during the exam?
The doctor will conduct a standard physical exam and test for communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and syphilis. The doctor will also check your vaccination records to decide if you need any additional vaccinations. With your agreement, you may receive the required missing vaccinations during the medical exam. If you have the required vaccinations, but do not have your vaccination records, the doctor may perform a blood test to prove that you are immune to the disease and do not require the vaccinations.
After the exam, the doctor will complete Form I-693 and give it to you in a sealed envelope for you to submit to USCIS. Make sure to request a copy of the completed Form I-693 for your personal records before the doctor seals the envelope. Do not open the envelope! USCIS will not accept the form if the envelope has been opened or altered.
- 8. Do I need to pay for the medical exam for a green card?
Yes, an applicant is responsible for paying all doctor and laboratory fees for the medical examination. The fee for a green card medical exam varies by doctor. It is a good idea to call a few authorized doctors in your area to check the fees. Prices can vary by a few hundred dollars. Although your medical insurance will not likely cover the USCIS medical examination, the required immunizations may be covered by your medical insurance. You do not need to pay any fees to submit the Form I-693 to USCIS.
9. How long is my medical exam valid?
Effective November 1, 2018, the completed Form I-693 is valid for 2 years following the date the civil surgeon signed the form. If your case is not decided within the 2-year period of the validity of your medical report, USCIS will request an updated medical exam.
Also, Form I-693 must be filed with USCIS within 60 days of the date the civil surgeon signs the medical exam. Plan your visit to an authorized civil surgeon accordingly.
10. How to submit my Form I-693 to USCIS?
You must submit the sealed medical report to USCIS with your green card application. Depending on the specifics of your case, it may be beneficial to submit your Form I-693 at the same time that your green card application is filed (Form I-485), at the time of your in-person green card interview, or in response to a Request for Evidence related to your pending green card application. Check with your immigration attorney for the best strategy in your case.
If you have any additional questions about the green card medical exam, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan.