The Immigration Medical Exam

Immigrant Medical Exam

The medical exam for immigration is a bit outdated

Toward the end of a recent immigration interview, the officer told my client that his doctor had forgotten to fill out certain sections of the medical examination form. As a result, my client would have to go back to the doctor and have the form redone. I mentioned to the officer that the medical exam was rather pointless.


She asked me what I meant. So, I said “well, if he’s got cooties, we’ve all caught it by now because he’s already inside the United States.” The officer laughed and just told my client to bring back a new medical form.

Some background: the Immigration and Nationality Act decrees that individuals who have certain communicable diseases are not eligible to immigrate into the United States or to receive a “green card.” This includes diseases like tuberculosis, syphilis, and measles. (Most of these diseases are treatable.)

Once upon a time, intending immigrants to the United States had to go through either Angel Island or Ellis Island. So, if an individual was diagnosed with a certain disease, the government would quarantine the individual until he or she was clear to enter the United States.

Nowadays, if an individual has “cooties,” that individual would need to get it treated. If it’s treated and no longer contagious, that should be enough to satisfy USCIS.

The medical exam also checks for other things including drug use. So, it looks like we’re stuck with the medical exam for the time being.

Also note that Form I-693 (the Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record) will need to be filled out and that it is only valid one year from the date of submission to USCIS.

If you are interested in a green card and you have cooties, get that checked out first.  And then, feel free to contact me.

Photo credit: The National Guard
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