A U.S. immigrant visa applicant must go through a medical exam during the adjustment of status application process. The doctor does not perform a full physical examination—rather, the doctor focuses on screening the applicant for specific conditions as required by U.S. immigration law. Without an exam to show the applicant's medical eligibility, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may delay processing or deny approval of the visa.
Not every doctor can perform an immigration physical exam. The visa applicant's personal physician often will not qualify. Instead, USCIS has a list of U.S. doctors who are designated civil surgeons. An applicant can search for a civil surgeon in his area. If the applicant is overseas, the Department of State will require her to see a panel physician abroad for the exam.
Physical Exam Fee
USCIS does not set a standard fee for the physical exam. Designated civil surgeons and panel physicians can choose the amount to charge. An applicant may want to ask about the specific fee amount beforehand.
Proof of Identity
The visa applicant must bring his passport or another form of photo identification to the doctor's office. The applicant must also bring his appointment letter. The appointment letter is the document sent to the applicant explaining the date, time and location of the upcoming visa interview.
The USCIS medical exam form is Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record. The applicant needs to complete Part 1 of the form before the appointment, but should not sign the form until told to do so by the doctor during the exam. After the exam, the doctor will complete and sign the form, seal all of the paperwork inside an envelope and give the sealed envelope to the visa applicant. If the visa applicant opens or unseals the doctor's envelope, USCIS will not accept it. Some panel physicians abroad will forward the paperwork directly to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Physical Exam Steps
The visa applicant must provide a full and truthful medical history, undergo a chest x-ray and submit to a blood test. The purpose of these exams is to determine whether an applicant is inadmissible to the U.S. based on health-related grounds, such as having a present or past mental or physical disorder that exhibits harmful behavior, communicable disease, drug abuse or addiction, or serious or permanent physical or mental abnormality, disease or disability that will require future institutionalization or substantial medical treatment or interfere with applicant's ability to care for himself, work or attend school. A child under 15 years of age usually does not have to get the chest x-ray and blood test. The doctor will also conduct a thorough physical examination of the applicant. Additionally, the applicant must provide the doctor with vaccination history, confirm he has received all vaccinations required for U.S. immigration purposes and receive any medically appropriate, missing vaccines.
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Finding a Medical Doctor
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs: The Immigrant Visa Process
- U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs: Interview Appointment and Preparation
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 8, Part B, Chapter 2 - Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Designated Civil Surgeons
- U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: USCIS Civil Surgeons Locator
- Lovely Doctor image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com