Q: I am filing for legal permanent resident status, based on my marriage to a US citizen. I understand that a medical examination is part of the application process. Why is that necessary? Can I just get the exam done by our family doctor?

A: US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires medical examinations in order to determine whether there are any public health-related issues that would affect a prospective immigrant’s admissibility to the United States. The exam can identify medical conditions that require follow-up care and the physician will ensure that required vaccinations have been administered. Note that an applicant for permanent residence who came to the US on a K fiancé or spouse visa will have had a medical examination as part of the visa application process at home and will not need to repeat the full procedure when applying for adjustment of status here in the US. Such persons must, however, meet the vaccination requirement.

All medical examinations include a physical examination, a mental health status evaluation, a skin test for tuberculosis, and a blood test. Generally speaking, the results of the examination are valid for twelve months for submission with an immigration application.

Additionally, applicants need to show that they are current with all vaccinations recommended by US public health officials. See the complete list of such vaccinations at www.uscis.gov. The physician can administer any vaccinations necessary and can certify if a particular vaccination is not “medically appropriate” in a particular case (due to allergic reactions, pregnancy, etc.).

The form used to record the results of the exam is the I-693, the current version of which can be downloaded from the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov.

Unfortunately, you cannot have the medical examination done by your family doctor. You need to choose a doctor from the USCIS list of government-approved physicians known as “Civil Surgeons” in your area, and you must pay the cost of the exam. You can find an approved physician in your area on the USCIS web site, www.uscis.gov. Click the link “Permanent residence (green card),” then “Immigration Medical Examinations,” and finally “Civil Surgeon Locator.” Enter your zip code or state and the screen will display a list of approved physicians in your area. The doctor you choose fills out the I-693 form, and the required vaccination supplement that will be submitted to USCIS as part of your application package. This form is placed in a sealed envelope by the doctor and you must not open it. You should be given a copy for your own records.

If you have any questions about the medical exam, especially if you have a physical or mental condition that you believe could affect your eligibility to become a legal permanent resident, visit one of IIIC’s legal clinics advertised in The Emigrant for a free, confidential consultation.

Disclaimer: These articles are published to inform generally, not to advise in specific cases. US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the US Department of State regularly amend regulations and alter processing and filing procedures. For legal advice seek the assistance of an IIIC immigration specialist or an immigration lawyer.