To get your green card and come one step closer to immigrating to the United States of America, you need to undergo the green card medical exam. It is a necessary step for spouses seeking a marriage-based green card, and it is completed by a government-authorized doctor.
Parts of the Immigration Medical Exam
- Testing for a variety of illnesses and diseases
- Screening for drugs and alcohol
- Mental and physical evaluation
- A review of your immunization records
- A review of your general medical records
Green card medical exams are performed to make sure that the person seeking their green card does not have a health concern that could render them ineligible for immigration to the United States.
The process of a green card medical exam can be nerve-wracking, and it’s normal to be scared before the exam. It’s important to remember though, that there is nothing to be afraid of with this process, and that if you take the necessary steps to prepare for it, you will be just fine.
Before Your Immigration Medical Exam
You will have your exam with one of two different types of doctors. You may have the opportunity to ask questions and choose the right doctor based on where you are, the cost, the availability of the doctor, and if they accept your health insurance if you are insured.
– If you are in the United States you will go to a civil surgeon who will be designated to you by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
– If you are outside the United States you will visit a panel physician who will need to be approved and authorized by the U.S. Department of State
Green card medical exams can vary widely in cost and is usually impacted by factors such as location and provider. You may pay as little as $200, or as much as $500, and the most common fee is around $250 for one appointment.
You can schedule your medical exam by visiting the USCIS website and using their “find a doctor” tool, or by giving them a call to find out your local USCIS approved doctor. You as the applicant have a high degree of choice as to when to schedule your appointment. Where you are applying from will impact the schedule of the medical exam, and the validity period of the results.
You can choose to have your medical exam before you begin the green card application process, in which case you would submit the exam results with your application package. You can also schedule the exam after you have begun the green card application process, in which case you would submit the results as soon as you receive them, or bring them with you to your green card interview.
The most important way you can ensure your medical exam goes smoothly is to have all of your documents ready and bring them with you when you see your doctor.
I-693 Immigration Exam List of Required Documents
– Your health insurance card if the doctor’s office accepts your insurance
– Government-issued photo-ID, such as your drivers’ license, passport, or work permit
– A letter from your normal GP which outlines a treatment plan for any pre-existing health conditions you are dealing with
– Any previous x-ray images, or copies of images
– A copy of your complete medical history
– Your vaccine/immunization records
If you’re applying from the United States, you will also be required to bring Form I-693 also known as the “Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record”. This is the form that your doctor will use to document the results of your exam. Doctors will often have a copy of this form at their office when you arrive for your I-693 exam, but it is still advisable to bring a copy so you can be sure you have the most up-to-date version of the form filled out.
If, however, you are applying from abroad, you will need to bring your green card interview appointment letter from the NVC. You are required to bring this form, and your exam will not be able to occur without it. This is the form that your doctor will use to verify that you are in the process of your green card application.
What to Expect at Your Immigration Medical Exam
The immigration medical exam is quite dissimilar from any regular medical exam that you may have undergone in the past. Your doctor will begin by reviewing your medical history and your immunization record, and then ask you a range of questions about your health, and give you a basic health check-up.
Your doctor, during your exam, will also be on the lookout for conditions in the following categories:
– Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, syphilis, or cholera
– Drug addiction
– Disorders, physical or mental, which may lead to harmful behaviors
– Conditions that prevent you from being able to support yourself
You may also be required to undergo a tuberculosis test. A USCIS doctor in the United States is likely to perform the test differently than a physician abroad because they will follow different tuberculosis testing guides.
Women are required to complete the exam, even if you are menstruating at the time of your appointment. Pregnant women may also be required to undergo a chest X-ray, or you can choose to postpone your X-ray until after giving birth. You must, however, undergo an x-ray before entering from the United States if you are applying from abroad.
After Your Immigration Medical Exam
Your exam results will be valid for 6 months after the appointment unless you have one of a specific set of medical conditions that may be uncovered during your exam. This could cause the results of your exam to be valid for only 3 months.
The doctor’s job during your Immigration physical is to make sure you do not pose a risk to the United States, so as long as you are healthy at the time of your exam, you likely will have nothing to worry about.