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Immigration Medical Clearance When Seeking a Green Card
Besides filling out forms and submitting paperwork, most people applying for permanent residence in the United States must also pass an immigration medical clearance exam performed by a doctor approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
There are a few essentials to know about the green card medical exam as you get ready to see your doctor. To complete your green card application, you must also provide USCIS with the medical exam results.
The need for the immigration medical examination
Individuals seeking a green card need to pass a medical test to prove that they are medically fit and meet the requirements. The purpose is to ensure that no person's health status renders them unsuitable for entry into the United States or unqualified for a green card.
The primary care physician will inquire about the individual's medical background. The aim of the immigration medical clearance during a green card application is to see whether or not they have any issues that would cause their application to be denied. The conditions under Class A are the most crucial and include:
- Having a contagious disease that poses a serious threat to public health
- Failure to get proper vaccinations
- Conditions that lead to aggressive or otherwise destructive conduct
- A history of substance misuse or addiction, even with a clean criminal record
Class B conditions include those that are life-altering or permanently disabling. The person will not endanger anyone else by having these conditions, but they may find themselves unable to work and support themselves. Individuals cannot apply for a green card if they need government help to meet ends. However, obtaining a diagnosis is the first step in receiving the necessary care. Successful treatment may lead to a full recovery.
A green card medical exam may only be performed by approved civil surgeons or physicians specifically recognized by the USCIS. An online tool is available from the USCIS for locating an authorized medical professional.
Record of past vaccinations
Without proof of vaccination, individuals will need vaccinations against certain highlighted diseases. Vaccine schedules are tailored to each individual's health history and seasonal conditions. The influenza vaccination, for instance, is only administered between October and March. Required vaccinations for permanent residency include:
- Tetanus and diphtheria
- Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Meningococcal disease
- Seasonal Influenza
Individuals should remember to bring their vaccination paperwork to the exam. They need to contact a physician in their home country if they do not already have one. Individuals must also provide a documented, complete English translation if the immunization records are not in English.
Mental health assessment
One of the major reasons for an immigration medical examination is to see whether there are any mental health issues, such as drug misuse or harmful conduct, that might disqualify individuals from receiving a green card. Some of the questions may come as a surprise. The civil surgeon may also try to assess the person's behavior and reactions by asking seemingly random questions. It is important not to panic and simply give honest responses.
Test for communicable diseases
The doctor will do a full physical examination, including testing for STDs, to ensure the person has no contagious illnesses. They will need to collect blood at the medical clinic to aid this process. Having any of the following conditions can affect the individual's admissibility:
- Syphilis (infectious stage)
- Tuberculosis (active)
- Leprosy (infectious)
There will also be a tuberculin skin test, which screens for the presence of TB. One will need to return to the medical clinic in two days so the doctor can evaluate any adverse skin responses caused by the test. The doctor will recommend adequate treatment if the patient has a contagious disease.
What the immigration medical clearance covers
The doctor will examine the person's eyes, ears, nose, and throat as part of the exam. The doctor may also check for symptoms of illness on the face, limbs, abdomen, and lymph nodes.
Examining the heart and lungs with a stethoscope is standard procedure for a medical examiner. Individuals may also require blood tests during the immigration medical clearance exam. Chest X-rays are sometimes a requirement for those who test positive for TB.
After the examination, the primary care physician will complete Form I-693, which you will both sign. The completed form is sealed inside an envelope and should not be opened. The USCIS will not accept the application if the envelope has been tampered with or opened.
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An immigration medical clearance exam, also called a green card medical exam, is a routine medical exam for immigrants who are in the process of becoming green card recipients. The purpose of this medical clearance exam is to ensure the health of the individual in order to protect public health. The presence of certain diseases…