What to expect at your Green Card Medical Exam: A Step By Step Guide

Whether your green card application is based on family, employment, visa lottery, political asylum or any other means, everyone must file a completed Green Card Medical Exam before approval. If you want to get a green card “fast” (and of course that term is relative) you need a properly completed green card medical exam.

The purpose to the Medical Exam is to ensure that applicants who are applying for permanent residence are not admissible to the US on grounds of public health, and do not pose a health risk to the citizens of the US. In this post we look at what what to expect from your exam, what you will need to bring with you, as well as proper steps to better ensure success.

[Note: This post is about green card applications in the United States, also called Adjustment of Status. Filing green cards overseas requires a different green card medical exam form.]

First: will my health stop me from getting my Green Card?

Don’t be afraid that common health problems like a flu, or old-age-related illnesses are going to block you from getting your Green Card. The exam is only to look at health issues that are related to immigration.

Only certain medical conditions can make you inadmissible to the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.), under Sections 212(a) and 221(d). More importantly some of these conditions can be “legally forgiven” or waived. For this you will need the help of an immigration lawyer who can give you a full analysis, and help you fill in the waiver.

Step 1: Download and fill out form I-693

All people filing for Adjustment of Status complete the Green Card Medical Exam on Form I-693. While you can fill out these forms yourself, if you have any questions we strongly suggest getting the advice of a good immigration lawyer to help you. Even small mistakes can cost days, weeks, or even months. Remember, you have to fill out your personal information, and then take the form to be completed by an approved doctor.

Step 2: Find a doctor

Your family doctor cannot perform this particular medical examination. It must be performed by a “designated civil surgeon” who is simply a doctor pre-approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to do the I-693.

You can also call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283 or make an INFOPASS appointment to pick up the list at your local USCIS office.

Step 3: Green Card Medical Exam Checklist

  1. Your partially filled out form I-693 ( the doctor will fill out his section after the exam)
  2. A list of any vaccines you have had
  3. Prepare a list of any chronic medical conditions you have, or any medication you are taking
  4. If you have been treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse, you will need to bring written certification from a doctor -including the diagnosis, length of treatment, and your prognosis.
  5. If you have had any history of violent behavior you will need to bring information that will allow the doctor to determine whether the behavior was related to a psychiatric or medical problem, or to drug or alcohol use. Harmful behavior includes attempted suicide or self-harm, no matter how minor in nature.
  6. If you have had syphilis, a written certificate, signed by a doctor or public health official, proving that you were adequately treated.  If you have ever had a positive VDRL or other blood test for syphilis, and were not treated, you must bring a written explanation signed your doctor.
  7. If you or anyone in your immigrating family have any form of disabilities, you should bring a report of their condition, and any requirements they have as far as special education or supervision
  8.  If you have ever tested positive for TB ( tuberculosis), you should bring a certificate from your doctor giving the circumstances of the positive test result, indicating any treatment prescribed and how long it lasted, and if proof that you were adequately treated -including dates and types of medications prescribed.
  9. If you have ever had an abnormal chest X-ray, bring the last X-ray films taken. The actual films, not the typed reports, may be required.

Step 4: The exam

The exam itself is fairly straight forward. The doctor will review your medical history,and then give you a physical examination, chest x-ray and blood test. Children under the age of 15 will normally not have to have the x-ray or blood tests. If you are pregnant you may request that the x-ray be delayed, but this is not always allowed depending on country of origin.

Depending on your vaccine history, you can expect to receive any vaccines you might be missing. The doctor then completes the Green Card Medical exam with a sealed “Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.”

You can then take your sealed report to your visa interview yourself, or will send the results directly to the U.S. embassy or consulate.

 Remember…

  1. You can always get help from an immigration lawyer to understand the reasons for the many questions of the green card medical exam, and help you through your Adjustment of Status.
  2.  There are a lot of other requirements to getting a green card. This is just one step.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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