By: Attorney Gail S. Seeram
When a foreign national is trying to immigrate to the United States or adjust his status in the United States, a medical examination is required. Many foreign nationals are unclear as to the purpose and scope of the medical examination. Medical examinations are necessary to verify good health and admissibility to the United States on medical grounds.
All medical examinations include:
• Physical Examination: applicants are required to have a physical examination (to include complete disrobing), and a mental status evaluation.
• Tuberculin (TB) Skin Test: All applicants two years of age and older are required to have a tuberculin skin test (TST).
• Vaccinations: Most applicants need to show that they are current with all vaccinations recommended by US public health officials. You should have vaccinations for mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus, diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B, hepatitis B. If you are unable to submit all your vaccination records at the time of the exam, or if you have never had certain vaccines, the Civil Surgeon or Panel Physician can administer them to you. It is important to not try to fulfill your vaccination requirements before you meet with the Panel Physician or Civil Surgeon, in case it is not medically appropriate for you to have one or more of the required vaccines. As of December 14, 2009, the zoster and the HPV vaccine were no longer required.
Who gives the medical exam?
Medical examinations are given by licensed and experienced doctors, called Civil Surgeons (in the U.S.A.) and Panel Physicians (outside of the U.S.A.). Doctors who qualify as Civil Surgeons or Panel Physicians receive special and on-going immigration oriented medical training and policy updates.
Note: A medical exam performed by a doctor NOT approved by USCIS will not be recognised.
What if I am pregnant?
If you are pregnant, you are required to have a medical exam, but some parts of it may be postponed until after delivery of your baby, depending on the circumstances of your case. If you have any concerns, you should discuss them with your family doctor before the medical exam, with the Civil Surgeon, or with the Panel Physician.
What if vaccinations are contrary to my religious beliefs or moral convictions?
If you have firmly held religious or moral beliefs that do not permit vaccinations, you may still be eligible for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status. You will need to apply for a waiver of vaccination requirements.
Who pays for the vaccinations?
The applicant is responsible for paying the appropriate fee for all vaccinations directly to the civil surgeon, as agreed upon with the civil surgeon. You should ask about the price of the vaccinations before the medical examination or the administration of the vaccinations.
Can I be forced to be vaccinated for immigration purposes?
If you refuse to receive the vaccines required for immigration purposes, as mandated by the immigration laws of the United States, your application for legal permanent resident status may be denied.
What happens after the medical exam?
After the medical exam is complete, the Panel Physician (if you are abroad) or the Civil Surgeon (if you are in the United States) will certify the results on the appropriate forms and place them in a sealed envelope. DO NOT OPEN THE SEALED ENVELOPE. Turn in your envelope with your immigration application to your attorney or the office that requested the medical examination.
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