FAQs Regarding the Medical Examination

20 Nov 2012

A medical examination is required for all immigrant visas and some non-immigrant visas as well as for refugees and adjustment of status applicants. The purpose of the medical exam is to determine if you have any health conditions that need attention prior to immigrating.

Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) regarding the medical examination that will be required.

Who is required to have a medical examination?

    • All immigrant visa applicants, regardless of age need to complete a medical examination

When do I need to take the medical examination?

    • Applicants are advised to have their medical examinations done at least one week before their interview appointment at the U.S. Embassy

Where do I take the medical examination?

    • Medical examinations must be performed by an approved panel physician and can ONLY be done at the doctor/clinic/hospital authorized by particular the U.S. Embassy/Consulate the applicant is going for consular processing.

Can the applicant have his/her physician perform the medical examination?

    • The medical examination must be performed by an approved panel physician.

What should I bring to my medical examination? 

    • Appointment letter sent by the National Visa Center or an e-mail confirmation from the Visa Information and Appointment Service.
    • Appropriate medical examination fee.
    • Passport (valid for at least 6 months)
    • Four color pictures (2 inches x 2 inches) with a white background(two are for the visa and two are for the medical report).

What should the applicant expect at the medical examination?

    • The applicant must show his/her passport (or other photo identification) and appointment letter to the doctor during the medical examination.
    • The medical examination will include a medical history review, physical examination, chest X-ray and blood tests for syphilis.
    • The physical examination will at least include examination of the eyes, ears, nose and throat, extremities, heart, lungs, abdomen, lymph nodes, skin and external genitalia.
    • In some countries, the panel physician will send the results to the U.S. Embassy/Consulate directly. In other countries, the panel physician will give the applicant his/her medical exam results in a sealed envelope and an x-ray which the applicant must bring to the interview.

Note: The medical examination is not a complete physical examination. Its purpose is to screen for certain medical conditions relevant to U.S. immigration law. The panel physician is not required to examine you for any conditions except those the U.S. Public Health Service specifies for U.S. immigration purposes nor is the physician required to provide you with diagnosis or treatment even though other matters related to your health might be discovered. This examination is not a substitute for a full physical examination consultation diagnosis or treatment by your primary health care provider. 

What conditions would make you inadmissible on medical grounds?

    • Individuals who are found to have a communicable disease of public health significance, including, chancroid; gonorrhea; granuloma inguinale; Hansen’s disease (infectious leprosy); lymphogranuloma venereum; infectious state syphilis; and infectious tuberculosis (Class A TB)
    • Immigrant visa and adjustment of applicants who have not received all of the required vaccinations
    • Individuals who have current physical or mental disorders, with harmful behavior associated with that disorder, or past physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior
    • Individuals who are found to be drug abusers or drug addicts

Will immunizations be required?

    • You will be required to provide proof of immunizations. If you have any records of immunizations (vaccinations), bring them to your appointment. The doctor will tell you if additional immunizations are needed and where you can get them (usually at your local public health department).

What if I have a chronic medical problem?

    • If you have a chronic medical problem which you feel may impact the exam, bring copies of your medical records to show that you are being treated and that your condition is controlled.

What does doctor look for in the medical examination?

    • The doctor will examine you for certain physical and mental health conditions.
    • Adult applicants will be tested for tuberculosis (TB). Applicants two years old or older will be required to have a chest x-ray. The doctor may require an applicant younger than two to have a skin test if the child has a history of contact with a known TB case, or if there is another reason to suspect TB disease.
    • You will have a blood test to determine if you have syphilis (if you are 15 years of age or older) as well as to see if you have the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) infection.
    • You will have a Gonorrhea test(if you are 15 years of age or older) .
    • Applicants 2-14 years of age are required to take Interferon Gamma Release Assay(IGRA) test.

Will I have to remove my clothes for the medical examination?

    • Yes. You will have to remove your clothes for the medical procedures.

Will additional tests be required?

    • If the doctor determines that you need more tests because of a condition found during your medical exam, you may be sent to an Inter-specialty consultations within the clinic or can be given referrals to sub-specialty clinics outside the accredited medical facility.

What happens after the medical examination?

    • At the completion of your exam, the doctor or clinic will provide you with documentation that you will need to complete your adjustment of status.

Who has the final decision on whether you will be approved?

    • If there are any irregularities regarding your medical exam, remember that the doctor is providing a medical opinion and can only make recommendations. The consulate or USCIS has the final decision on whether you will be approved.

Are children required to have chest x-rays or blood tests?

    • Chest X-ray and blood tests are not usually required for children under the age of fifteen (15).

What if the applicant is mentally retarded or has a learning disability?

    • Applicants with mental retardation or learning disabilities must present a report of their condition and any special educational or supervision requirements.

What is the legal basis for requesting medical information for visa applicants?

    • Medical eligibility is a requirement of INA Sections 212(a) and 221(d). Failure to provide required information may cause delay or denial of immigrant visas. If an immigrant visa is not issued, all medical eligibility forms will be treated as confidential under INA Section 222(f).

What if the applicant had a positive tuberculosis skin test?

    • Applicants with a previous positive skin test for tuberculosis should provide a certificate from the attending doctor (giving the circumstances of the positive test result, and indicating any treatment prescribed, and its duration) to the panel physician. If the applicant has ever been diagnosed with tuberculosis, the applicant must present a written certification, signed by the attending doctor, proving that the applicant was adequately treated. The certificate must include dates and types of medications taken. Applicants who ever had an abnormal chest X-ray should borrow the last X-ray films taken and bring them to the panel physician. The actual films, not the typed reports, may be required to compare with the X-rays that will be taken at the medical examination.

What if the applicant had syphilis?

    • Applicants who have had syphilis must present the panel doctor with a written certificate, signed by a doctor or public health official proving that the applicant was adequately treated. Applicants who ever had a positive VDRL or other blood test for syphilis and were not treated must give a written explanation signed by the applicant’s doctor to the panel physician.

If the applicant is pregnant must she have a chest x-ray?

    • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that women who are pregnant and required to have a medical examination in connection with the issuance of a visa and are examined in a country currently using the 2007 TB Technical Instructions must have a chest x-ray examination conducted. Pregnant women will have to provide the panel physician with consent to conduct the chest x-ray. For the health of the applicant and her unborn child, CDC instructs panel physicians and laboratories to provide abdominal and pelvic protection with double layer, wrap-around lead shields when they receive the chest radiographs. This requirement does not apply to countries using the 1991 TB Technical Instructions which allow for an exemption of the chest x-ray requirement for pregnant women. Pregnant applicants who do not wish to have the X-ray will be granted a temporary exemption when they provide written certification of pregnancy signed by their personal physician or obstetrician.

What if the applicant has a history of harmful or violent behavior?

    • Applicants with any history of harmful or violent behavior resulting in injury to people or animals, or harm to inanimate objects must provide information that will allow the panel physician to determine if the behavior was related to a psychiatric or medical problem, or to drug or alcohol use. Harmful behavior includes attempted suicide or self-harm, no matter how minor in nature.

What if the applicant has been treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness, or alcohol or drug abuse?

    • Applicants treated or hospitalized for psychiatric or mental illness or alcohol or drug abuse must present written certification including the diagnosis, duration of treatment rendered and prognosis.

What if the applicant is being treated for a chronic medical condition or is taking medication on a regular basis?

    • Applicants being treated for chronic medical conditions, or those taking medications on a regular basis, should be familiar with the medical conditions being treated and the names of the medications they are taking. Applicants unsure of their diagnoses must present a certificate describing the condition(s), the current treatment and prognosis with a list of prescribed medications.

Can the applicant have a medical examination if she is having her menstrual period?

    • Yes, the applicant may have the examination even if she is having her menstrual period.

Can the medical examination take place in the United States if the applicant is pursuing a visa application abroad while physically present in the United States?

    • Visa medical examinations may not be conducted in the United States. An alien pursuing a visa application abroad while physically present in the United States must have the medical examination conducted by a panel physician approved by the visa issuing U.S. Embassy/Consulate.

What vaccinations are required?

    • The following vaccinations are required for immigration purposes:
      • Hepatitis A
      • Hepatitis B
      • Influenza
      • Influenza type b (Hib)
      • Measles
      • Meningococcal
      • Mumps
      • Penumococcal
      • Pertussis
      • Polio
      • Rotavirus
      • Rubella
      • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
      • Varicella

What if I do not have my vaccination record?

    • The panel physician will work with the applicant to determine which vaccinations the applicant may need to meet vaccination requirements.

What if there is a medical reason I did not receive a listed vaccination?

    • Certain waivers of the vaccination requirement are available upon the recommendation of the panel physician.

What is the validity of the medical examination?

    • The medical reports are valid for a period of one year from the date of your medical examination. The examination must be repeated if the reports have expired or will expire prior to your entry into the United States.

Remember when you are ready for your Fiancé or Spousal Visa petition, nobody does them faster or cheaper than RapidVisa

Reference: USCIS, Travel.State.Gov and St. Luke’s Medical Center Extension Clinic (SLMCEC)

Disclaimer: The contents of this post were accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of publishing. Immigration is constantly changing, and old information often becomes outdated, including procedures, timelines, prices, and more. Take note of the publish date. For archival purposes, these posts will remain published, even if new information renders them obsolete. Do not make important life decisions based on this content. No part of this post should be considered legal advice, as RapidVisa is not a law firm. This content is provided free of charge for informational purposes only. If anything herein conflicts with an official government website, the official government website shall prevail.

22 Thoughts on “FAQs Regarding the Medical Examination

  1. I had TB diagnosed in 1999. I did the treatment for 11 months and was cured. The problem is, my XRay shows scars from the disease. The doctor asked me for the sputum test (3 specimen) that turned out negative, and also the culture, a test for Micobacterias, plus sensitivity test, which I ‘m still waiting for the results. My doubt is, if all tests turn out negative, will I be granted the k1?!! I’m desperate. I know I’m not sick.

  2. Hi. Can I do the medical exam earlier? I know that I have a lung scar and my visa time line will be affected and will be extended for 2 months. So I just want to ask if can I do the medical exam 2 months before the medical schedule at St.Lukes? Will they accept the result of it knowing that I will have this test on the same facility(St.Lukes) ? or they will need to retest me again?

  3. I never knew that you’re required to complete a medical examination if you’re an immigrant visa applicants regardless of your age. My aunt and I are planning to apply for an immigration visa. We want to make sure that we’ll be approved, so we’re looking for the things that we should consider prior our immigration interview. We’ll make sure to find an immigration medical examination clinic soon.

  4. Please i need a reply! I’m traveling to the USA under the Us tourist visa, do I need a medical report or vaccinations for a tourist? I need to know so I can work on that. I’ve had different article say it’s not needed for tourist but for other immigrant visas. I’ll appreciate so much if my question is been answered.

  5. I just done my medical exam and got my passport back. What do i do with my passport if i got approve?do the immigration will inform me to bring the passport back?thank you

  6. My sister is going for her immigrant visa interview in November, 2018 Can my sister have her medical exam 3 weeks prior to interview date?

  7. My wife and son will appear for US immigration Visa interview in December 2018 at Islamabad. Presently they are processing their medical examination. Doctor has asked my son to have a skin biopsy of a trauma scar. His medical report will be delayed. My question is that can my son appear in interview without medical report which will be submitted later.

  8. My Filipino wife was right.. 20 years ago she found out she had TB.. she started her treatment that lasted over a year and received from the treating doctor a report giving her a written document that stated she was successfully treated.. well we just recently got our interview at the embassy December 17th 2018.. well back 6 months ago she went in and had a sputum done by a private clinic and they said in her report it turned out negitive but just today was her second trip back to St Luke’s 11/28/18 and they said she had an abnormality on chest x-ray.. well just as she suspected they would not receive the doctors report from the private clinic nor the x-ray that showed yes scar tissue but no TB.. so the the knuckleheads at St Luke’s called and cancelled her interview on December 17 th 2018 and tod her to come back start the stupid sputum test and said now it could be anywhere from 3-6 months.. we both have been waiting now almost a year and they now do this to us.. .. there is nothing wrong with my wife’s lungs other than scar tissue which will show up as an abnormality.. I think this crap goes on all the time there and even if you have a private doctors ok and signed affidavit St Luke’s still pushes back on the married couples who have been waiting for over a year and adds to it anywhere from 3-6 more months.. private doctors are just as bright as the knuckleheads at Saint Luke’s .. what ought to happen here is after the long delay they cause by not excepting a private doctors report is they (st Luke’s should reimburse the $335 dollars they stoked from my wife and I and put us on the next plane to America at their expense.. bunch of dummies!

  9. Can we extend the expiration date of the medical?

    My mother started/passed the visa interview first cause my sister and I were required to take sputum test and when we take the visa interview they were looking for supporting documents from my auntie(who is the petitioner)and they said we can send it later when we got it from them, and when we were done sending it we were waiting for the visa to come we waited it until the medical expiration date passed until now we didnt got the visa. How can we deal with this? Do we need to repeat the examination? Can we extend the expiration date of the medical?

    Sorry Im not that good at forming semtence in english.

  10. Can we extend the expiration date of the medical?

    My mother started/passed the visa interview first cause my sister and I were required to take sputum test and when we take the visa interview they were looking for supporting documents from my auntie(who is the petitioner)and they said we can send it later when we got it from them, and when we were done sending it we were waiting for the visa to come we waited it until the medical expiration date passed until now we didnt got the visa. How can we deal with this? Do we need to repeat the examination? Can we extend the expiration date of the medical?

    Sorry Im not that good at forming semtence in english.

  11. My future sist in law had a stop on her lung. They are testing for three consecutive day her sputum collections then culture it for 8 weeks if neg will her visa still be okay because it expires on July 6 and the results will not be available until the end of June 1st of July . Because of this will the visa be extended

  12. AU Immigration –
    I am the primary applicant and my spouse was asked for appear for SPUTUM AFB SMEAR AND MTB Culture test…
    SPUTUM AFB SMEAR results have come as NEGATIVE

    now the question I have is how much time does it take get VISA stamping once she is done with MTB culture test – Any views?

  13. I have applied for work visa of USA under the GMC(GERNAL MOTOR COMPANY AMERICA). All the process of visa taken by GMC’s contractors in the US embassy. Is it right they can take my medical tests in the embassy?..I need answer fast. Thanks.

  14. I am a nonimmigrant Visa applicant from Cameroon, precisely F1(student). Do I need medical examination to be granted a visa?

  15. hello,
    I have read numerous articles and I am unsure of the answer I was hoping someone would be able to help me!
    for a b1/2 visa for a non immigrant UK citizen is a medical examination required
    thank you in advance

  16. My wife is taking antibiotics for tb as a precaution for her work. She has scar tissue on lung her sputum test was negative though She will complete medication next month
    Yesdday she had her medecal exam for her US visa appointment. The doctor would not clear her until 1 year after medicine is completed.
    We have her dr recors showing sputum test negative but on medication as a precaution. She has taken for 5 months already and only 1 more to go.
    Is it normal for the Dr to make her wait 1 year? I can understand after medicine is completed but not a year after.

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