If you are immigrating to the United States, one of the requirements is completing a medical examination. This immigration health exam is mandatory for all immigrants to show that they are free from health conditions that could make them inadmissible. Locating an authorized civil surgeon to perform this exam is a key step in the immigration process. Here is a guide to finding immigration health exams in your area:
What is the Immigration Medical Exam?
The immigration medical examination, also known as a green card medical examination, is required for all immigrants to the United States. It consists of a medical history review, physical exam, and blood tests. The purpose is to screen for communicable diseases of public health significance, determine physical or mental disorders with harmful behaviors, and check for substance abuse issues. Some visa categories require additional tests like a tuberculosis skin test or syphilis test. The medical exam also checks your vaccination history and may require bringing your vaccination records.
Who Conducts Immigration Medical Exams?
The immigration medical exam must be carried out by a civil surgeon who is designated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Civil surgeons are licensed doctors who have been trained and given authorization to perform immigration medical exams. They are typically physicians in private practice or community clinics. The civil surgeon does not make the final decision on your medical admissibility - they conduct the exam and report results to the USCIS.
Finding Authorized Civil Surgeons
To locate civil surgeons in your area who are approved to perform immigration medical exams, here are some tips:
- Check the USCIS website. USCIS has a search tool where you can enter your ZIP code and find nearby civil surgeons. This is the official government list of authorized civil surgeons.
- Ask your primary care doctor. Some family medicine and internal medicine physicians are designated as civil surgeons. Your regular doctor may be authorized or may have recommendations.
- Search online directories. Several websites like imsdocfinder.com maintain directories of civil surgeons searchable by location. But always verify they are on the USCIS list.
- Contact nearby hospitals and clinics. Larger hospitals, community health centers, and family medicine clinics may have civil surgeons on staff. Call their primary appointment line to inquire.
- Search in non-English languages. Websites like medexpress.com/ch/ allows searching for civil surgeons in languages like Chinese, Korean, and Spanish. This can be useful for finding a civil surgeon who speaks your native language.
- Check foreign embassy websites. Some embassies like the Philippines Embassy maintain lists of designated civil surgeons used by their nationals.
Questions to Ask the Civil Surgeon
Once you have located civil surgeons in your area, you can reach out to ask questions before booking your immigration medical exam:
- What are your credentials? Are you a licensed physician and board-certified?
- How long have you been a designated civil surgeon? More experienced is better.
- Which languages do you speak? Can you provide an interpreter if needed?
- What specific tests are included in the immigration exam? Make sure they know the requirements.
- What is the cost of the immigration medical exam? There is no standard pricing.
- Do you accept health insurance or provide discounted rates? Some civil surgeons offer lower rates for cash payment.
- When is the soonest available appointment? There may be a waiting period.
Following the Immigration Medical Exam
The civil surgeon will send your immigration medical exam results directly to the USCIS. Many civil surgeons also provide a sealed copy of the exam and vaccinations to include with your immigration application. After USCIS reviews the results, they will notify you if there are any medical issues that need follow up or make you inadmissible. Common conditions like obesity may require additional screening. If you have a Class B medical condition, you may need to file a waiver. Your immigration lawyer can help navigate any medical issues.
Passing the immigration medical exam is mandatory for U.S. immigration. Finding an authorized civil surgeon to perform the exam involves searching the USCIS website, contacting local healthcare providers, and asking questions to find the right doctor for your needs. Locating a conveniently located civil surgeon and making sure you understand the exam process will help avoid delays in your immigration application. Reach out to potential civil surgeons well in advance so that your immigration health exam is completed on time.