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A Quick Guide: What is an immigration health exam?

Medical exams for immigration are a required step in the immigration procedure. Before allowing anybody to live and work in the United States, it is essential to ensure their health. The immigration medical examination is a critical component in becoming a permanent resident or green cardholder. This test is designed to ensure that the person applying to become a legal resident does not endanger the public. With this in mind, it’s self-evident that some illnesses will exclude you from entering the United States of America.

This test is designed to identify any potential risk the patient or applicant poses to the US public. This is accomplished via a review of your medical history and immunization record. Certain vaccine injections are performed in other countries but not in the United States. The CDC sets the immunization criteria that must be met unless you have a documented allergy to a particular injection or are contraindicated in your circumstances, such as pregnancy.

What is an immigration physical examination?

The medical examination is divided into many sections, and the first is a physical examination during which your eyes, ears, nose, and throat are examined for any abnormalities. Additionally, it includes an assessment of your extremities to ensure the health of your arms and legs. Vital organs such as the heart, lungs, belly, lymph nodes, skin, and external genitalia are all affected. Additionally, the doctor will do a chest X-ray and a blood test. Generally, children are exempted from X-ray and blood testing. The examination, which a government-authorized physician must conduct, is divided into various sections:

  • A comprehensive physical and mental examination
  • Test for drugs and alcohol
  • Diagnostic testing for a variety of illnesses and diseases
  • A thorough examination of your medical and vaccination records

The civil surgeon will go through your immunization records to know whether you need any vaccines to finish your immigration medical exam. You will not need more vaccinations if you have gotten all the required vaccines and have all relevant documents. If vaccinations are required to complete your medical checkup, they may be given on that day or rescheduled for a date shortly if needed.

If you have had vaccines in the past but do not have your vaccination records, you have the option of having blood titers taken to verify your immunity. Blood titers are blood tests that may screen for specific antibodies against various illnesses. If you have received a complete set of vaccines in the past, the blood titers will show that you are immune to the disease and do not need the immunizations. However, if a blood titer comes back as not resistant, the vaccine is then required.

Here’s a list of required vaccine in US:

  • Seasonal influenza
  • COVID-19
  • Mumps
  • Tetanus and diphtheria
  • Pertussis
  • Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib)
  • Rotavirus
  • Varicella
  • Measles
  • Rubella
  • Polio
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal disease
  • Pneumococcal disease

For COVID 19

Beginning October 1, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all candidates for permanent residency to complete the COVID-19 vaccine and submit proof to the civil surgeon before finishing their medical exam. This applies to applicants who file for adjustment of status in the United States and those who use consular visa processing.

Specific candidates, however, may qualify for a waiver, including the following individuals:

  • Applicants who are not suitable for their age, such as little toddlers;
  • This is true if an applicant has a contraindication or precaution about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Contraindications must be noted in this instance. If an applicant received the first dose and had a significant reaction, the two quantities are considered contraindicated.
  • Where the vaccination is not readily accessible regularly; or
  • Applicants may also seek a waiver based on religious or moral beliefs. The basis for requesting a waiver must be documented, and then a waiver request must be submitted to USCIS. It is then up to the officer’s discretion whether or not to issue the waiver.

If an applicant declines to get the vaccination even though it is medically required, the candidate will be generally considered ineligible to the U.s until they apply for a waiver.

COVID 19 vaccines accepted in the United States are Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.

What to bring with you to the physician’s examination?

To prepare for the medical examination, you should get the following items:

  • A valid passport or other government-issued picture identification and vaccination records; 
  • If you are changing status, a copy of Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record.
  • The necessary charge (which varies according to physician).
  • If applying from outside the United States, the necessary number of US passport pictures (which varies by country).
  • For members of your family who are immigrating with learning impairments, a report detailing their condition and any required special schooling or supervision.
  • Suppose you are being treated for a chronic medical condition or are regularly taking medicines, a list of the medications. In that case, you are taking (be prepared to describe your illnesses as well).
  • If you’ve previously had a positive skin test for tuberculosis (TB), a letter from your doctor detailing the circumstances behind the positive test result, including any treatment recommended and its duration. If you have ever been diagnosed with TB, you must provide a formal certification from your physician attesting to your appropriate treatment. The certificate must include information on the dates and kinds of medicines you took.
  • If you have had syphilis, a documented certificate signed by a physician or public health authority attesting to your proper treatment.
  • If you have a history of dangerous or aggressive conduct that damaged people or animals, information that will enable the doctor to establish if the behavior was caused by a mental or physical condition or by drug or alcohol use.
  • If you have been treated or hospitalized for a psychiatric or mental illness or alcohol or drug addiction, documented certification detailing the diagnosis, duration of treatment, and prognosis is required.

What is the best way to pass a medical examination?

Optimizing your diet: Salty and fatty foods increase blood pressure and triglycerides levels. It is suggested that you avoid junk food for two to three days before your test. Several hours before the exam, drink lots of water and avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks. This will help to keep your heart rate and blood pressure in check.

Get a healthy night’s rest: To manage your blood pressure as low as possible, you should sleep for at least eight hours the night before.

Medicines: Make a list of any medicines you’re presently taking, including over-the-counter meds, for the examiner to take note of it.

Try to relax: Practice relaxation methods such as deep breathing and mindfulness before the exam. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and confront them with confidence and conviction.

What occurs after the medical examination?

After applying to become a permanent resident, it takes around three months to process your physician’s findings. The doctor will prepare the examination’s results and conclusions once it is finished. Frequently, the doctor will direct the findings to the consulate where you applied. If your immigration medical examination occurs inside the United States, the doctor will provide you with Form I-693, Medical Examination, and Vaccination Record. Keep the packet sealed until you submit the medical examination together with Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. Your immigration medical examination’s findings are typically valid for two years. If you fail a medical exam, you may be eligible for a retest if a curable disease caused the failure. If your sickness is more severe, you may be denied a working visa.

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