What do they check for in an Immigration Medical Exam?

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It’s always the first time and usually the last when you go for the immigration medical exam. Of course, the nerves are on a high and the cluelessness is at its peak. In addition, it is difficult to find the right information on the immigration medical exam, there are questions in your mind such as “how long it will take?” “what do they check?” and several others.
Read on to find out.

Immigration Medical Exam is mandatory for all those aspiring for their Green Card, certain non immigrant visas and for those seeking asylum. It cannot be skipped since it is done to ascertain whether the applicant is mentally and physically healthy enough to be admissible to the United States or not.

USCIS approved civil surgeons conduct the immigration medical exam within the United States and outside the US physicians on the panel of USCIS conduct it. The medical examination takes 4-5 hours depending on the tests done and how the civil surgeon conducts the medical. It is recommended that you take a day off on the test day. The medical examination usually requires a follow up after two days from the first visit since it takes a while for some test results to show up.

Health Insurance does not cover the cost of this examination so you will need to bear the costs yourself. The USCIS does not regulate the amount charged by different civil surgeons. There is no harm in asking the civil surgeon or your insurance provider regarding the cost coverage. The charges vary from one geographical area to the next. It will cost you anywhere between $200 and $700.

There are various tests carried out on the d-day. The first one is to check for tuberculosis. Most doctors prefer tuberculin skin test to check for TB exposure followed by chest X Ray. There are certain doctors who carry out the IGRA test.

Next is the serologic test that determines exposure to Syphilis. In addition, a complete body check up is done including that of ears, nose, throat, eyes, heart, lymph nodes, lungs and external genitalia to check for communicable diseases. Tests to check other diseases like Leprosy and Gonorrhea are also done.

The doctor also checks the applicant for any symptoms of bad mental health or for signs of drug abuse or any addiction. He will ask a list of questions to ascertain this. The last step is that of vaccination.

The Centre for Disease Control has brought out a list of vaccines that should be given to immigrants entering the US. Vaccines are given depending on the applicant’s age. Certain vaccines will only be given to children like Pertussis vaccine and certain vaccines will be administered to only adults. The influenza shots are seasonal and will be administered only during the flu season from October to March.

Pregnant women will not be given certain vaccines and those with allergies too can skip some vaccines. These will be marked as contraindicated in the i693 form. If you cannot take vaccines for religious reasons, there is a separate form that you need to fill. Ask the civil surgeon for this form.

The doctor will fill the i693 form and sign it and hand it over to you along with the test results in a sealed envelope. Before he seals the results make sure you check your name and all the other information on the form. If your name or contact details are misspelled or if the seal appears to be tampered with or broken, USCIS will instantly reject the results. Carefully deliver the envelope to the USCIS within a week’s time.

After processing the results, wait and prepare for the next round of tests and interview.
Read the FAQ section for more details.