When applying for a green card, you’ll also have to pass a medical exam as part of the process.  The purpose of a green card medical exam is to ensure that you don’t have any medical conditions that would make you inadmissible.  Some of these conditions include serious communicable diseases, a history of suicide/self-harm, mental disorders, or serious drug problems.  In addition, you’ll need to satisfy the various requirements regarding vaccinations.

A medical exam may also be needed for other immigration-related applications, such as an adjustment of status, or to extend/change immigrant status.  You may be able to use your own physician for the medical exam, but only if they are on the government’s list of approved physicians (your doctor must be a “designated civil surgeon”, or a “panel physician”).

What Will Be Checked During the Green Card Medical Exam?

A green card medical exam typically involves:

  • A review of the applicant’s medical history
  • Chest x-rays
  • Blood tests, especially for syphilis
  • General physical examination of the heart, lungs, abdomen, eyes, ears, nose, throat, skin, extremities, lymph nodes, and external genitalia

At the examination, the applicant will be required to show their passport and appointment letter to the examining physician.

Which Vaccinations are Needed?

Several vaccinations are required in connection with immigration applications.  These may include:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza and Influenza type B
  • Measles
  • Meningococcal and Penumococcal
  • Mumps
  • Polio
  • Pertussis
  • Rubella
  • Rotavirus
  • Tetanus
  • Varicella

What Happens with the Results of the Medical Exam?

Depending on the country of origin, the panel physician may be allowed to send the results of the medical exam directly to a U.S. embassy or consular office.  In other countries, the panel physician will give the exam results to the applicant in a sealed envelope.  The applicant will then be required to bring the sealed exam results to the next immigration interview if the results are requested. 
Note that the physician is not required to examine an applicant for any conditions besides those specified for immigration purposes.  The green card medical exam is not a complete medical examination for diagnosis purposes.  Instead, it is considered a screening process for medical conditions that are of concern in the immigration process.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Green Card Medical Exam?

The assistance of an immigration lawyer is indispensable for any green card applicant.  It’s to your benefit to hire a lawyer for help with your green card application.  Your attorney can help you with your medical exam to ensure that you’re meeting all the requirements under immigration law.  Also, if any obstacles arise in the process, your lawyer can help sort out your options for you.  You can avoid costly errors by having an immigration attorney assist you throughout the application process.