A USCIS medical exam is necessary for most immigrants before being admitted into the US. The purpose of the exam is to ensure you do not have a condition that could be dangerous to others, or diseases you might spread to other US residents.
Note that you cannot choose just any doctor for the medical exam—you will need to use one certified by the USCIS as a civil surgeon or panel physician.
You will also need to bring an unsigned copy of Form I-693 for the doctor to fill out.
Who Needs a USCIS Medical Exam?
If you are applying for an immigrant visa, USCIS requires you to complete a medical exam before moving to the US.
USCIS medical exams are also required for both K and V nonimmigrant visa applicants.
USCIS medical exams are valid for one year. Therefore, if you had an exam less than a year ago, you will not need another one as long as you already turned in the results. But you will still have to make sure your vaccinations are current before adjusting your status or gaining entry to the US.
USCIS Medical Exam: What to Bring
If you are not fluent in English, you may wish to hire a medical interpreting professional to accompany you to the appointment. A medical interpreter will ensure that you and the civil surgeon understand each other completely.
Generally, the following items are required at a USCIS medical exam:
- Federally approved photo ID, such as a passport (driver’s licenses and school IDs are not acceptable)
- Medical records for chronic or serious problems
- Immunization records, if available
- Alien registration number (if applicable)
- Forms I-693 and Supplement to I-693
The photo ID requirement is relaxed for applicants less than 15 years old — birth certificates or affidavits are acceptable.
If you do not have copies of the I-693 forms, they can generally be provided at the appointment. This is not a guarantee, so it is best to call ahead and check.
Medical records which are not in English must be translated prior to the appointment. You should use a trusted company for your medical translations.
USCIS Medical Exam Details
The requirements of the USCIS medical exam vary depending on your age.
Children who are 14 years old or younger will get a physical exam, a tuberculosis (TB) skin test, and any immunizations not given already. These may include chickenpox and tetanus-diphtheria (Td), as well as measles, mumps & rubella (MMR).
Adults age 15 or older can expect the same requirements, in addition to a blood test. Your blood will be tested for HIV, syphilis, and possibly other diseases. If your tests are positive for any conditions that may keep you from entering the US, you will likely receive treatment when possible.
The USCIS medical exam also includes a mental evaluation. During this part of the examination, the doctor will ask you questions about your past and current behavior.
If he or she diagnoses you with a condition, this will not necessarily prevent you from immigrating — unless the disorder causes you to be a danger to yourself or others.
During the USCIS medical exam, the doctor will also look over your medical history and ask questions to determine if you have ever abused drugs. If so, you may be required to take a drug test. If you have used drugs illegally, you may be referred for treatment, after which you should be able to continue the immigration process.
Once you have completed the USCIS medical exam, you will usually receive the results within two weeks.
Your doctor will let you know the outcome of the testing, and then you will be given a sealed envelope with the results. You need to give this to your lawyer or the USCIS with the rest of your paperwork, and then you can relax knowing the medical exam portion of your application is complete.