Do I Need a Medical Exam to Get a Green Card?

The medical examination is a required element of the green card application process. Read below to learn more and determine if any waivers of the medical exam requirement apply to you.

Do I Need a Medical Exam to Get a Green Card?

Yes, a medical examination is required for you to adjust status and obtain a green card.

You must undergo this medical exam to prove that you are not inadmissible to the United States pursuant to Section 212(a)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Health-related Grounds of Inadmissibility

Generally, you will be inadmissible to obtain a green card if you meet any of the health-related grounds for inadmissibility, such as:

  1. If you have a communicable disease of public health significance;[i]
  2. If you are not vaccinated against certain diseases, which include:
  • Mumps,
  • Measles,
  • Rubella,
  • Polio,
  • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids,
  • Pertussis,
  • Influenza type B,
  • Hepatitis B, and
  • any other recommend by the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices;[ii]
    • The current vaccinations suggested by the ACIP can be found here.
      • Note, however, that not all the vaccinations listed will be required.
  1. If you have a physical or mental disorder and either:
    • behavior associated with the disorder that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of yourself or others, or
    • a history of behavior associated with the disorder, which behavior has posed a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of yourself or others and which behavior is likely to recur or to lead to other harmful behavior;[iii] or
  2. If you are a drug abuser or drug addict.[iv]

However, under certain conditions you may qualify for a waiver for some of these conditions.

Waivers of Health-related Inadmissibility

You may be able to get a waiver even if you have a communicable disease of public health significance if:

  1. You are a spouse or an unmarried son or daughter, or a minor unmarried lawfully adopted child, of a United States citizen, or of an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or of an alien who has been issued an immigrant visa, or
  2. You have a son or daughter who is a United States citizen, or an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or an alien who has been issued an immigrant visa; or
  3. You are a VAWA self-petitioner.[v]

You may be able to get a waiver even if you are not vaccinated against the above mentioned diseases if:

  1. You received the vaccination for which you have failed to present documentation of the previous vaccination;
  2. You have a qualified medical professional certify that such vaccination would not be medically appropriate;
  3. The vaccination would be contrary to your religious beliefs or moral convictions; or
  4. circumstances as the Attorney General provides by regulation, with respect to whom the requirement of such a vaccination would be contrary to the alien’s religious beliefs or moral convictions.[vi]

You may be eligible for a wavier if you have either of the mental disabilities described above if:

  1. The attorney general allows for it; and
  2. You act in accordance with such terms, conditions, and controls that the Attorney General prescribes (e.g. giving a bond).[vii]

You will not be eligible for a waiver if you are found to be a drug addict or abuser.

Special exceptions for children 10 years old or younger receiving vaccinations.

A child who meets the requirements of 8 U.S.C. 1182(1)(C) is exempt from having to have the vaccinations listed above at the time of filing for a green card. This exemption applies to a child who is

  1. 10 years of age or younger, and is
  2. described under subparagraph (F) or (G) of section 101(b)(1) (essentially an orphan to be adopted by U.S. citizens), and is
  3. seeking an immigrant visa as an immediate relative under section 201(b), if, prior to the admission of the child, an adoptive parent or prospective adoptive parent of the child, who has sponsored the child for admission as an immediate relative, has executed an affidavit stating that the parent is aware of the provisions of subparagraph (A)(ii) and will ensure that, within 30 days of the child’s admission, or at the earliest time that is medically appropriate, the child will receive the vaccinations identified in such subparagraph.[viii]

How do I get the necessary medical exam?

To get the necessary medical exam, you will need to have a Form I-693 certified by a qualified medical professional. The form can be found on USCIS’s website.

If you are adjusting status in the United States, then you can find a qualified medical professional at https://my.uscis.gov/findadoctor. If you are applying for your green card while abroad, you will need to find a qualified physician by completing the steps at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/immigrate/immigrant-process/interview/prepare/medical-examination.html.

How much will the medical exam cost?

While USCIS does not charge for filing of the medical exam form, you will have to pay the medical professional’s fees, which will vary.

What parts of the I-693 must I fill out?

As the applicant, you only need to fill out part of the form.

  • First, write your name and A-Number (if applicable) on the top of each page in the boxes provided.
  • Next, fill out questions 1-10. For any part that does not apply to you (e.g. if you have no email, or no A-Number) write “N/A” in the box provided.
  • You will need to do questions 11-13 in the presence of civil surgeon, so do not fill these questions out until instructed to do so at your medical exam.

If you use an interpreter, then their information will need to be entered in Part 2 and they will need to sign where indicated.

What do I do after the medical exam?

After your medical exam, the doctor will hand you a sealed envelope with “DO NOT OPEN. FOR USCIS USE ONLY” on the front and the doctor’s initials on the back. It is imperative that you do not break this seal. This envelope contains your Form I-693 with all necessary supporting documentation.

The doctor should provide you with a copy of all the information in the envelope for your own records. If they do not, just politely ask for one.

You will then need to send the envelope to USCIS. You have three options:

  1. You can submit Form I-693 by mail, together with your Form I-485, Application to Register for Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to the location specified for your Form I-485;
  2. You can submit Form I-693 by mail, after filing your Form I-485, to the location specified in your most recent communication with USCIS (for example, a Request for Evidence letter from USCIS); or
  3. You can submit Form I-693 in person, at an interview in a USCIS field office (if an interview is required).

Conclusion

The medical examination is required to protect the welfare of our nation. If you have any additional questions about the medical examination or any other stages of getting a green card, consider speaking with an experienced immigration attorney today.


[i] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A)(i).

[ii] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A)(ii).

[iii] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A)(iii).

[iv] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A)(iv).

[v] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(g)(1).

[vi] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(g)(2).

[vii] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(g)(3).

[viii] See 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(C).

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