If you are applying for Adjustment of Status or an immigrant visa (I-485, green card, Lawful Permanent Residence), then it is likely that you will need to submit a medical exam with your application or at the interview. The immigration medical exam is on the form I-693 (I693, I 693). The USCIS or the U.S. Consulate/Embassy will not be able to approve your residence (Adjustment of Status) or immigrant visa application until the medical exam has been submitted.
The reason the USCIS is asking for a medical exam is to make sure you are not inadmissible for a public health reason, such as being a danger to yourself or others or that you have some sort of disease, which poses a threat to the health of U.S. Citizens.
Immigration Medical Exam Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Find a Doctor
If you or your attorney have determined that now is the time to do your medical exam, the first step is finding a doctor. Here’s how:
- If your application is with the USCIS, you can consult the www.uscis.gov website and search “Find a Doctor”. The site will ask you for your zip code and will list the civil surgeons near you. You must go to a civil surgeon (doctor authorized by immigration to perform immigration medical exams). You cannot just go to your own doctor unless your doctor happens to be a civil surgeon. Once you have your list, call them and ask them how much the medical exam will cost. Medical exams can vary by a LOT. I have seen some medical exams cost upwards of $1000 and that is TOO much. The total should be about $500 or less. You are paying for the basic medical exam, any vaccinations that you need and any tests that they will need to perform, so be sure to ask about all the costs, not just the basic medical exam. Sometimes there are ways to save money by getting your vaccinations done by the county or by your own clinic, especially if you have insurance. Insurance generally does NOT cover immigration medical exams, but possibly could cover the vaccinations or the tests associated with the medical exam.
- If you are applying for an immigrant visa abroad (at a consulate or embassy), then there will be a limited selection of doctors to choose from and you MUST get your medical exam done with one of those doctors. You can find the list of doctors and instructions for each consulate/embassy by choosing the consulate/embassy where you will have your interview here.
- You cannot do your medical exam here in the U.S. before you leave. You must have it done by one of the doctors near the consulate who have been authorized to perform the medical exam. If you have just received notice of an interview at the consulate abroad, then you should schedule your medical exam for a few days prior to the interview. Some consulates want you to have the medical exam done a full week prior to your interview and some consulates are alright with you having the exam done a day or two prior to your interview. The instructions sheet with list of doctors will give specific instructions as to the timing of the medical exam and any special instructions that consulate/embassy may have.
Step 2: Schedule the Exam
If you just received an interview notice for an Adjustment of Status application and you have not already submitted a medical exam or your medical exam is expired (more than a year since it was submitted to the USCIS), now is the time to schedule your medical exam. The appointment should be at least a couple weeks prior to your interview, so you will have the results in hand to submit at the interview.
Once your medical exam is scheduled, it is important to gather any medical or vaccination records to bring to your exam. If you have any chronic conditions or any significant health history, then you should bring those records to the medical exam. If you have had prior vaccinations, make sure you bring your records, so you can hopefully avoid some of the vaccinations. If you are taking any medications, bring a list to the medical exam. If you have had a history of alcohol or drug abuse (including any DWIs or DUIs), you will want to consult with your attorney before your medical exam.
You should bring the following to your medical exam here in the U.S. or abroad:
- Passport/Identification/travel document — If you have prior immigration documents which contain an A#, bring one of those documents;
- Your vaccination records;
- Any prior chest X-rays;
- Copies of any medical records;
- There are also embassy/consulate specific instructions, such as some consulates/embassies want you to bring five “carnet” or passport style photos and some have a specific form they want you to fill out to bring to the medical exam. Consult the country specific instructions on the National Visa Center website. Follow the instructions very specifically. For example, if they want “carnet” style photos, bring “carnet” style photos and not passport style photos. They will send you out to take the photos again if you don’t have the right photos. Again, here is the link.
Step 3: The Exam
What to Expect:
- Questions about your medical history
- Questions about your history of drug and alcohol use
- The doctor will ask for records from police, military, school, and/or employment for physical or mental disorders history
- They will look at your eyes, nose, mouth, throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia
- They will draw blood and some doctors will want you to fast before the test (the clinic will give you instructions)
- A urine test
- A mental status examination assessing your thought, intelligence, judgment, mood, and behavior
- An X-ray
- Female applicants will have to complete a medical exam even if they are having a menstrual period
Once the medical exam is complete, the doctor will fill out a “Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record” and depending on your vaccine history, you can expect to receive any of the vaccines you are missing. Once the doctor seals this report, DO NOT OPEN IT. You will either send it with your application or take it with you to the interview either at the consulate/embassy or at the USCIS.
Current vaccines needed to complete your I-693:
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Pneumococcal disease
Timing for Your Medical Exam is Critical
These days, it is important to think carefully about the timing of when the medical exam should be submitted. I am telling my clients to hold off on the medical exam until either the USCIS requests it or until there is an interview. The reason for this, is because the medical exam expires one year after it is submitted to USCIS. With most Adjustment of Status (residence) applications pending over one year, the original medical exam is expired when USCIS is finally ready to make a decision on your case. There was also a recent change in policy that the medical exam expires if not submitted within 60 days of being signed by the doctor (civil surgeon).
Need Assistance in Applying for Your Immigrant Visa, Adjustment of Status, Permanent Residency?
The immigration medical exam is only one small part of the process to obtain your green card. Here at Bienvenidos Law Firm, Inc., we have the expertise and knowledge to represent you throughout the entire immigration process. We will carefully and meticulously work with you to prepare your application(s), file them and prepare you for your interview.
If the interview is here in Minnesota, we will be by your side at the interview representing you and your interests. If your interview is abroad, we will carefully help you prepare for your interview. Throughout our representations, we will also take the time to get to know you and your family, so that we can better individually represent you and your family’s needs. By knowing our clients and their families, we are able to better represent each and every family in our office with compassion, respect and concern. It is important to us that our clients feel calm and secure throughout the entire process. We believe that a huge part of feeling calm and secure is feeling informed. We always take the time to review what has happened so far in your immigration process and then take the time to look ahead as to what will happen in the future.
We truly want the best for our clients, each and every one of them. We understand that the immigration process is stressful and we want to alleviate as much of that stress as we can. We want to see you achieve your dreams for yourselves and for your family and we feel lucky to be a part of you achieving your dreams. As we represent our clients, we are always looking for ways to be stepping stones for our clients to help them move forward with their lives, for themselves and for their children. There is nothing more exciting for us than to see our clients move forward with their lives. Adelante!
Please contact us at 763-951-2235 or fill out this form to schedule your consult.