To receive a green card, a noncitizen has to complete an immigration medical exam by an appointed civil surgeon. The civil surgeon does not make the final evaluation about whether or not a person should be allowed to come to the United States. Rather, they are checking to see if a person poses a threat to public health and will pass on that determination to the Department of Homeland Security, who will make the final decision.
Where Can I Find a Civil Surgeon?
A civil surgeon is a doctor who has been cleared by USCIS. Refugee applicants may be able to visit their local health department to complete the vaccinations needed to adjust their status. Here’s what USCIS says about using a local health department, rather than an individual doctor, to complete an immigration medical assessment. Special rules may apply to certain applicants who were examined overseas.
For all other cases, you can use the USCIS Find a Civil Surgeon tool to find a doctor near your ZIP code that speaks your language.
What to Bring to Your Immigration Medical Exam
- Form I-693, Report of Immigration Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. After completing the exam, the doctor will complete this form and return it to you in a sealed envelope. You (not the doctor) must submit this sealed form by mail or in-person at a USCIS office. You can request another copy for your personal files, but do not tamper with the sealed document.
- Identification, such as a valid passport or driver’s license
- Vaccination or immunization record
- Health insurance card
How Much Does it Cost?
Many health insurance plans do not cover all parts of the immigration medical exam. USCIS recommends calling many civil surgeons to compare costs as prices can vary by several hundred dollars.
What Does It Include?
The civil surgeon will complete a review of your medical history and a physical exam. There are a few major conditions that would make someone inadmissible to come to the U.S. on health-related grounds. This is how they are described by USCIS.
Diseases that will cause inadmissibility under this section include chancroid, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, infectiousleprosy, lymphogranuloma venereum, infectious syphilis, active tuberculosis, and any quarantinable diseases designated by Presidential Executive order. HIV/AIDS has been removed from the list and having this condition does not disqualify someone from entering the U.S.
Physical or Mental Disorder with Associated Harmful Behavior
A physical or mental disorder is admissible. But, paired with a history of harmful behavior – which USCIS describes as behavior that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the applicant or others – the person is no longer admissible to the U.S. Examples of harmful behavior include driving while intoxicated, verbally threatening to kill someone, a suicide attempt or child abuse.
The CDC says that physical disorders are rarely associated with harmful behavior and this falls mainly within the realm of mental disorders, which can include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, intellectual disability and schizophrenia.
In the medical exam, the civil surgeon will make an evaluation about whether the person’s condition is associated with harmful behavior or potentially harmful behavior.
Alcohol addiction is considered a mental or physical disorder for the purposes of the examination. So, an alcohol addiction with associated harmful behavior – such as intoxicated driving — could make someone inadmissible to come to the U.S. A civil surgeon will ask in the exam if you have had alcohol-related driving incidents or convictions. If you withhold information that you were arrested for an alcohol-related incident, it will come up later again when an agent reviews your arrest record. That means you will need to go back to the civil surgeon and re-complete the medical examination.
Drug Abuse or Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is considered differently from alcohol addiction. A person who is a drug addict is inadmissible to the U.S. They can try to pass the medical examination again once their addiction is in remission.
A person has to have documentation of these shots to be admissible to the U.S.
- Mumps, measles, rubella
- Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
- Haemophilius influenza type B
- Hepatitis B
- Pneumococcal pneumonia
- Hepatitis A
The health examination can be used to determine if someone is inadmissible because “they are likely at any time to become a public charge” due to their health, which means that they will become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence.