What Medical Problems Will Keep You Out of the U.S.?

If the USCIS feels you have a medical condition which would put United States citizens at risk, they will declare you inadmissible. The technical term used for this by the USCIS is “Medical Grounds of Inadmissibility”.

The conditions that can get you banned from entry to the United States are:

    • A communicable disease of public health significance.
    • The lack of required vaccinations if you are an immigrant visa applicant.
    • If you have a physical or mental disorder, accompanied by behavior that would or could be harmful to others.
    • Past physical or mental disorders, with associated harmful behavior that is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.Harmful behavior is defined as behavior that may pose, or has posed, a threat to the property, safety, or welfare of the alien or others. Mental retardation no longer renders an applicant inadmissible on medical grounds, unless the civil surgeon or panel physician determines that the applicant is also exhibiting, or has exhibited, associated harmful behavior.
    • If you have a history of drug abuse and/or addiction. The Technical Instructions direct panel physicians to use their clinical judgment or seek a consultation when the applicant’s medical history indicates past non-medical use of a psychoactive substance and there is a clinical question as to whether the use was experimental or part of a pattern of abuse.

Note that as of January 4, 2010, being HIV positive is no longer grounds for inadmissibility and you do not need a Waiver to receive a visa.

You can apply for a waiver if you have a communicable disease. You would use form I-601, Application for Waiver of Ground of Inadmissibility. This is something you would probably want to get help with. Start by checking with support groups for your particular medical condition and look for somebody who has successfully received a waiver for the same condition you have.

As of January 4, 2010, HHS has designated the following conditions as communicable diseases of public health significance in accordance with 42 CFR 34.2(b) .

    • Chancroid.
    • Communicable diseases as listed in a Presidential Executive Order, as provided under Section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act. The current revised list of quarantinable communicable diseases is available at http://www.cdc.gov.
    • Communicable diseases that may pose a public health emergency of international concern if it meets one or more of the factors listed in 42 CFR 34.3(d) and for which the CDC Director has determined a threat exists for importation into the United States, and such disease may potentially affect the health of the American public.
    • Gonorrhea.
    • Granuloma inguinale.
    • Leprosy, infectious.
    • Lymphogranuloma venereum.
    • Syphilis, infectious stage.
    • Tuberculosis, active. Only a Class A tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis renders an applicant inadmissible to the U.S. Under current CDC guidelines, Class A TB means tuberculosis that is clinically active and communicable.

The required medical examination must be performed according to guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Panel physicians abroad must use Technical Instructions for Panel Physicians. The Technical Instructions can be found at www.cdc.gov/immigrantrefugeehealth/exams/ti/index.html .

The medical exam is recorded on Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record, and is valid for one year.

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Disclaimer: The information herein is not intended as legal advice and is provided for general information only.Questions involving interpretation of specific U.S. laws should be addressed to an attorney and/or government officials.

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